In the next two weeks, at least five U.S. Consulates and Embassies will introduce the Department of State’s new Global Support System (GSS) as a part of new visa application procedures.

The Department of State (DOS) reports that GSS will replace the current visa support services and “chang[e] the way a visa applicant experiences the visa process, streamlining the way he or she receives information, provides fingerprints, sets appointments, pays for visa fees, arranges for document delivery, and is welcomed into the consular section for his or her interview.” GSS was introduced on March 7, 2013 to the U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Today, it is being implemented in Nassau, The Bahamas. Georgetown, Guyana will implement the procedures Friday, March 15, and visa-issuing posts in China (including Hong Kong) will implement the new procedures on March 16. The Embassy in Jamaica will implement the new system on March 18.

The Department of State is hoping the introduction of GSS will mean better accountability, transparency and customer service for visa applicants around the world.

Visa applicants should check Embassy- or Consulate-specific websites for updates about local visa application procedures.