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Informative Guide on U.S. Visas for Indian Citizens

Informative Guide on U.S. Visas for Indian Citizens

Posted on Jan 6th, 2022 by Priyanka Jadhav, Last updated Mar 17th, 2022, Leave a Comment

There are a variety of reasons why one feels the necessity to travel to the United States, it can range from a pleasure trip to work-related, educational purposes, medical reasons, and so on. The first and major thing one needs to enter the USA is a visa. The article here explores everything one needs to know about while applying for a U.S. Visa. 

What is a U.S. Visa? 

Citizens of countries not eligible for entry into the United States as they are not included in the VWP (Visa Waiver Program) require a visa. The visa arrives with a stamp on the passport. However, it depends on the officer whether he will give the permit or not. Based on an individual’s profile, the passport can vary from six months to 10 years. Visas are divided into two categories: Immigration Visa and Non-Immigration Visa. 

Types of US Visas 

Visa TypePurpose
AForeign government officials and diplomats
A1, G-1, NATO1-6Visa Renewals
A-2, NATO1-6Military personnel of a foreign country stationed in the U.S
B-1Amateur and professional athletes, business visitors, nannies, or domestic employees
B-2Visitors for medical treatments, tourists, pleasure visitors
BCCMexican Border Crossing Card
CTransit in the U.S.
DCrew members serving on aircrafts
E-1Treaty traders
E-2Treaty investors
E-3Australian professionals and specialty workers
F-1Language and academic students
F-2Dependents of F-1 Visa holders (students)
G1 – G5, NATODesignated international organization’s employees and NATO
H-1B-1Chilean Free Trade Agreement (FTA) professionals, Singaporean FTA professionals
H1-B[H1B Stamping India]Physicians and highly specialized occupations requiring specific industry knowledge
H2-ATemporary workers for seasonal agriculture
H2-BTemporary workers for non-agricultural professions
H3Primarily non-employment training programs
H1-CNurses traveling to areas with a shortage of healthcare professionals
IInformation media representatives and journalists
JExchange visitors or International cultural exchange visitors
J-1Au-pairs exchange visitors, professors, scholars, and teachers as exchange visitors
J-2Children under the ages of 21/ Spouse of J-1 holder
K-1Fiance
LIntracompany transferees
M-1Vocational students
M-2Dependent of M-1 holder
O-1Foreign nationals possessing excellent knowledge and abilities in the field of art, science, education, athletics, or business
PEntertainers, artists, and athletes
QInternational cultural exchange visitors
RReligious works
TN/TD Mexican and Canadian NAFTA professional workers
T-1Human trafficking victims
U-1Victims of crime, criminal activity

Eligibility Criteria of the Visa Applicant

A foreign citizen needs to meet the following requirements, in order to be eligible. 

  • The visa applicant must have a passport validity of at least six months. 
  • Applicant must not have any criminal record. 
  • Dependent or spouse accompanying the applicant must obtain separate visas. 
  • It is essential that the candidate has the financial stability to maintain himself and his dependents. 
  • Applicant must be in good health and should submit a medical exam which is authorized by the physician. 
  • The applicant’s current country of residence should have strong ties. 
  • It is imperative that the applicant is traveling for a valid reason. 
  • The applicant must not have any communicable diseases such as tuberculosis. 
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Requirement of Documents for the U.S. Visa Application

  • The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of arrival in the U.S. 
  • Colored photographs
  • Certificate of marriage, if need be
  • Proof of financial assets
  • Divorce or Death Certificate of a spouse, if need be
  • The dependent visa applicant must provide all original documents proving their relationship
  • If it is a work visa, the employer must confirm the job offer
  • Certificate of Clearance from the police
  • Birth Certificate
  • Court records, if need be
  • Military records, if any

If the applicant applies for an Immigrant Visa, they must carry the following documents for their visa interview:

  • DS-260 confirmation page with a stamp from the VAC (Visa Application Center) [Visa Stamping India]
  • Current and old passport. 
  • Medical Examination report
  • Police Clearance Certificate
  • Documents supporting the visa type

If the applicant applies for a Non-Immigrant Visa, they must carry the following documents:

  • A copy of the Appointment Confirmation Letter
  • DS-160 confirmation page stamped at VAC [Visa Stamping India]
  • Current and old passport
  • Supporting documents of visa type

Photo Requirement for the U.S. Visa Application

Citizens of India are required to follow the following procedure to meet the photo requirements while applying for the U.S. Visa application.

  • Dimensions of the Picture: 50mm x 50mm
  • A colored picture with plain white background
  • Recently taken
  • The picture must cover 70 % of the face
  • Neutral face expression
  • Wide-open eyes facing the camera
  • Glasses are permitted for medical reasons
  • Uniforms are prohibited
  • Facial hair is permitted
  • Headgears are accepted for religious reasons

A Step-by-Step Guide for the U.S. Visa Application

The procedure of obtaining a U.S. visa from India is lengthy. As a result, the U.S. visa procedure is relatively simple. The type of visa one requires to travel to the United States must be determined before one begins their application. Following this, proceed as follows.

  1. Gather all the important documents required to complete the application. 
  2. Complete the NIV U.S. Visa Application Online i.e., the DS-160 form. 
  3. Then the applicant must proceed towards the payment of the U.S. visa fees online. 
  4. After completing these three steps, the applicant is ready to apply. An email with a fee receipt and DS-160 confirmation is sent. 
  5. Your U.S. visa appointment in India can now be scheduled by using the DS-160 application barcode and the receipt number for us visa neft. This process involves two appointments – the first one at the VAC for biometric submission and the second at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi or the U.S. Consulate General for the visa interview. 
  6. For the first step that involves the biometric submission, the applicant should carry their passport, appointment, and D-160 confirmation pages to the VAC.
  7. For the second step, the applicant must visit the U.S. Embassy/ Consulate along with their supporting documents, appointment confirmation letter, and VAC stamped on their D-160 confirmation pages [Visa Stamping India]. 

Visa interviews and biometric submissions are mandatory for people above the age of 14 and under the age of 80. If your U.S. Visa has been expired within the last 12 months and you are planning to visit a country under the same type of permit, then you need not attend the interview. 

The DS-160 confirmation page is required to be filled out accurately and completely. It cannot be changed, and if there is any false or fake information, then the form leading to your visa can be denied or delayed as per the U.S. Government which has the sole authority to reject visa applications. 

Payment of Visa Fees

One can pay the visa fees through NEFT, mobile payment, and cash. This fee is non-refundable. Irrespective of the purpose of travel and type of visas, individuals with diplomatic passports are exempted from paying visa fees. Official passport holders are also exempted from paying visa fees but need to appear for the visa interview at the U.S. Embassy on working days, between 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

The non-immigrant visa fees can be paid in cash at certain branches of AXIS and Citibank.

Time Duration for Processing Visa Application

It takes 7-10 business days after submission of the visa application to process it. However, this completely depends on the U.S. Embassy, the type of visa, the urgency, etc. In addition to this, as the American visa is in high demand, the interview for U.S. visa appointments in India are difficult to schedule and usually, have a high waiting time. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to apply well in advance. 

Where to Apply for the U.S. Visa Application? 

The United States Visa Applications made by Indian citizens can be submitted online. However, in order to schedule a U.S. visa appointment in India, the applicant must first visit VAC and then the U.S. Embassy/ Consulate. For the biometric submission, one can visit the VAC situated in their country. 

For the Visa interview, the applicant should make a U.S. Visa appointment in India and visit the U.S. Embassy, New Delhi, or a U.S. Consulate General in Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, or Kolkata. 

Appointment for Emergency Visa 

An applicant can acquire an emergency appointment for their U.S. visa interview. In the case of genuine medical or humanitarian emergencies, the applicant is granted emergency appointments. This is only acceptable if the purpose of the trip is medical care, attending funerals, urgent business travel, or taking admission to foreign universities. 

Applications for emergency visa interviews must carry supporting documents with them. The applicant, prior to the visa interview, must take an emergency appointment by filling out the DS-160 form and purchasing a valid fee receipt. In case, you fail to provide the immigration authority a legitimate reason for an emergency appointment, this will affect your visa application adversely and your visa can be denied. 

Emergency U.S Visa Interview Appointments are ineligible if any of the following conditions apply:

  • Wedding ceremony
  • Assisting pregnant family members
  • Participating in an annual business/ educational conventions. 
  • Participating in a pleasure trip. 

The U.S. Visa Refusal

Your visa to the United States can be denied for the following reasons:

  • Incomplete visa application
  • Supporting documentation is not provided completely
  • Failure to meet visa category requirements
  • Criminal records
  • Inadequate financial stability to support the U.S trip.
  • No indication of returning
  • Passport doesn’t have enough blank pages
  • The country of residence does not have good ties with the destination country
  • Never utilized a visa that was issued before
  • Absence of a compelling reason to visit the destination country
  • Failure in submitting adequate proof against eligibility

The United States of America is one of the greatest and the largest countries across the globe. As the country ranks first in many factors, the chances of being eligible for a permit are difficult. If the applicant has the right motive, a legitimate travel reason, enough financial stability, and has submitted appropriate documentation, then there certainly is a high chance of obtaining the U.S. Visa for Indians. Concluding, it is highly recommended to go through a certain set of rules and basic regulations (laws) of the country. 

So if you are planning a trip to the USA, make sure to not miss out on this guide by MyTicketsToIndia, a leading travel portal wishing only the best for their customers. With amazing flight deals and discounts, blogs from credible sources, and updated information on everything related to flight, MyTicketsToIndia warmly welcomes you aboard a memorable flight ahead. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:1 How can a visa applicant check the status of their American visa online?

Ans: Your DS-160 barcode number and interview location must be entered into the web portal to track your application’s status. Visa applicants must email ‘passportstatus@ustraveldocs.com’ with their passport number to inquire about passport status. In most cases, visa applicants receive email/ text messages to notify them about collecting their passports. As an option, one can either pick them up at the store or have them delivered at their location. 

Q:2 Is it possible to get an extension for the U.S. visa?

Ans: Yes, there is a provision that helps in extending the permit to stay in the U.S. However, this decision depends on the visa category of the applicant, and to receive an extension, the applicant is required to provide an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigrant Services (USCIS) before the current visa expires. It is in the hands of the USCIS to grant the permission. 

Q:3 What can be done if my visa was lost or stolen?

Ans: If the loss or theft took place in India, one must report it immediately to local police. If the occurrence happened overseas one can mail, ‘support-india@ustraveldocs.com‘ including: 

  • Name, Date, and Place of Birth, Nationality, Address, Phone Number
  • City where Visa was issued in India
  • Photocopy of lost visa
  • Photocopy of the bio-data page of lost passport. Or the nationality and number of lost passports and issuance, expiration dates as well.
  • Circumstances of the loss: When and How was the passport lost or stolen
  • Copy of the police report

Q:4 What is the latest H1B News?

Ans: As reported by the Times of India on December 24, 2021, the U.S. Consular offices have come to the decision to waive the interviews for H1B and other U.S. work visas. This decision will continue until December 31, 2022, where the U.S. Department of State will waive off in-person interviews of visa applicants at local consulates for various non-immigrant U.S. work visa categories and the dependents of such visa holders. 

The U.S. Visa Interviews will be waived off for the following categories: 

  • H1B Visas: Persons in specialty occupations
  • H-3 Visas: Trainee/ special education visitors
  • L Visas: Intracompany transferees
  • O Visas: Individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement
  • P Visas: Athletes, artists, and entertainers
  • Q Visas: Participants in international cultural exchange programs

MyTicketsToIndia has introduced an Indian-American portal, ‘Indian Vibes,’ for a home away from home experience to all Indians residing in America. This portal serves as a means for the Indians of America to know the latest Indian news and events happening around their area. 

About Priyanka | View Posts

Priyanka Jadhav is a travel writer, who is inclined to explore different cultures and countries. When she is not writing, she is either reading fiction novels or surfing the internet for the next best place to add to her bucket list. Her interests piqued at a young age when she traveled across India and witnessed a variety of cultures, languages, foods, and people. If you're craving for an adrenaline rush, or need an instant travel update - Priyanka has a way with words to help you in every aspect possible. Bring quirky articles and the latest travel updates your way through MyTicketsToIndia, she aims to provide travelers with the necessary information possible.

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