Most Indians must have heard and wished to live the American Dream. The urge to make a life in the United States of America is real for many Indians, while there are others who want to visit the country at least once. After all, the USA, with its 50 states, is a fascinating country. Spread around an area of more than 9 million square kilometers, the USA is a place where different geographical landscapes co-exist together. Moreover, the country has mind-blowing cities, culturally rich towns, amazing landmarks, and breathtaking countryside. The country offers the perfect mixture of natural and modern attractions. There is much to explore in the USA, and you need a US visa to do just that. Here is everything you need to know about applying for a US visa in India.
Determine the Type of US Visitor Visa
The first step is to understand the type of US visa you need. If you want to visit the USA for a short period of time, you need to apply for a visitor visa, which is a non-immigrant visa. There are two types of US visitor visas: B1 (business visa) and B2 (tourism visa). With the visitor visa, you can stay in the USA for a maximum of 6 months.
Fill in the Visa Application Form
Anyone who wants to apply for a US visa must fill out an application form. The non-immigrant application form is called Form DS-160 and is available online. As you start filling in the application form, you will get an Application ID number. It is important to save this number as you need it during your application process. A crucial thing to remember is to fill in the application form correctly. You should not make any errors, both factual and spelling.
The information provided should be the same as in your supporting documents. When you are sure about the information keyed into the application form, you can click on send. You will be taken to the confirmation page, where you will see a barcode number. Take the printout of both the confirmation page and your application form. You must make hard copies of both during your US visa interview at the US consulate.
Make the US Visa Application Fee Payment
To ensure that your US visa application process begins, you must pay the visa fee. The visa fee will depend on the type of visa you are applying for. The payment can be done in three ways:
- Online banking – through NEFT or National Electronic Funds Transfer
- Mobile payment – IMPS
- Cash payment – at selected banks like AXIS Bank, Citibank, and DRUK Bank
Save the visa fee receipt, as you must present it along with the other documents during your visa interview.
Book a US Visa Interview Appointment
All Indians must undergo a visa interview while applying for a US visa. The visa interview is conducted at the US embassy or consulate in India. You can choose to attend the interview in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, or Hyderabad. The booking for the interview appointment can be made online. You need to mention your passport number, the 10-digit barcode number from the visa application confirmation page, and the visa fee receipt number.
Get the Supporting Documents Ready
Your application form will have no value if you do not support it with the required documents. These are the US visa document requirements for Indians applying for a US visa from India.
- Your passport with six months validity. It should have at least one blank page. Any old passports if they have a US visa stamp on them.
- A recent passport-sized photograph (2 x 2 inches). It should be a color photograph with a white background. The backdrop should be plain. There should be no patterns on it.
- Your travel itinerary includes details of your travel to America. You need to mention the dates you are entering and leaving the USA. You also need to mention the things you are going to do and the places you will be visiting during your stay.
- You need to provide proof of accommodation with your application form. This could be a hotel reservation. You can also include a letter of invitation for a US visa from a friend or relative whose house you will stay in the USA.
- Details of your social media pages need to be included. It has become mandatory for US visa applicants to mention all their social media pages. This should include the names of each of your social media handles. Your social media history of the last five years needs to be presented for visa application acceptance.
- Your US fee payment printout must be part of the documents you submit.
You can upload a soft copy of all these documents along with your application form. But this is not enough. You must carry the originals of all the documents mentioned above. You may have to produce some additional documents to ensure your visa gets approved without any hitches.
Arrive for the Interview
It is important to reach the US embassy or consulate before your appointment date. You must arrive at least 15-30 minutes before the time of your interview so you do not miss your US visa appointment in India. Carry the originals of all the supporting documents and a printout of the DS-160 confirmation page and appointment confirmation letter. You also need to get your current and previous passports, if any.
At the embassy, you will have to go through security clearance before attending the interview. The visa officer will ask you a few questions about the reason for visiting the US, details about your life, work, family in India, etc. You must answer all the questions truthfully. You can check out the tips for a US visa interview to ensure that the interview goes smoothly.
The best part about a US visa application is that you will know whether your visa application has been approved or not at the end of the interview itself. But you will receive the passport with the US visa stamp later. You can collect it at the embassy or consulate later. Alternatively, you can get it mailed to the address of your choice. It is best to apply for your US visa 3-4 months before you plan to fly to the country. This way, you will have ample time if there are delays of any kind.
Nilkanth Patil is a passionate writer with an impressive background in travel and has experience in the fields of visa consulting and customer service. He combines his expertise in these fields with his love of writing viewing it as both a hobby and a way to share his perspectives on topics that fascinate him.