United States of America is a country which attracts a large number of people every year. Rightly so! Because it has several pictographic places, some of the best cities, best universities, cultural diversity and many other things which attract people from across the globe. Lucky are those who are exempted from acquiring a US Visa and can freely enter America anytime they want. For those who need to apply for the visa; appointment should be set, payment should be made, and documents should be completed. It sounds very tedious, but, it really isn’t.
Applying for a US visa has always been shrouded in mystery and fear, with all the myths, urban legends and half-truths going around about the US visa application process. Whether or no they will succeed? Will they get a visa? Will they get refused? After all, applying for a US visa can be nerve-wracking. And so, to make your journey with us more smooth and pleasant, we’ve provided a detailed process of the US visa application.
It is not as complicated as one would think. Just simply follow this step-by-step procedure and you are one step away from your dream US vacation:
Step 1: Figure out what kind of visa you need tourist, business etc
Before you begin your application process, you’ll need to know which visa category you’re applying for. There are different types of US Visas. However, the most common visa category for tourists and general visitors to the USA is B1/B2 or Business or Tourist visa as they’re popularly known.
The type of Visas you can apply under the USA Visa:
1. Immigrant Visa:
If you are planning to stay permanently in USA and want to be a temporary resident till you get permanent resident, then you must apply for an immigrant visa.
2. Non-immigrant Visa:
If your visit to the USA is temporary i.e. for tourism, business, education or medical treatment, then it is important to apply for non-immigrant type of visa. Non-immigrant visas are also referred to as B-1 or B-2 visas.
Step 2: Fill-out and Create the DS-160 (Non-Immigrant) Form
Next step is to complete the DS-160 form by filling up all the information required. Make sure all the information provided by you is true and accurate, since once submitted no changes can be made. You can apply 6 months prior to your travel date.
Step 3: Pay the non-refundable US visa application fee
Currently the price for a B-1/B-2 (tourist) visa is at $160. Over the years, the visa fees have varied many times, so make sure to check this page for the updated US Visa fee. The receipt of your payment will be valid for 1 year and you need it to schedule an interview appointment with the US Embassy within the validity.
Step 4: Schedule your US appointment
After paying the fees, you will now need to schedule two appointments for US visa which comprises of an appointment with the Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) and the US Embassy. Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) visa appointment is the one you need to take prior to main visa interview. At the OFC, you need to submit your digital photograph and give fingerprints at a location other than the US Embassy or Consulate. And the second Visa Interview appointment will be with the US Embassy or Consulate.
Step 5: Visit the Offsite Facilitation Centre (OFC) for biometrics
At the OFC, all applicants are required to surrender their biometric information such as digital photographs and fingerprints. Make sure you carry your Passport, DS-160 Confirmation page, OFC Appointment Confirmation page and fee receipt.
Step 6: Prepare your documents
During the main visa interview, you might be asked for more information about yourself and the purpose of your travel. Hence it would be wise to prepare the below supporting documents:
- Passport valid for another 6 months + all old passports
- DS-160 confirmation page
- Visa fee payment receipt
- Appointment confirmation
- 2×2 photograph (if you haven’t uploaded your digital photo)
- Proof of financial status such as bank statements, Income tax proofs, investments etc
- Employment proof such as leave letter, salary slips, business cards
- If visiting relatives or friends; Letter of invitation, address proof etc
- Any supporting documents you think will support the information you will share with the consular officer. There may be a chance that your consul will not ask for them, but it’s still better to be prepared.
Note: Unlike other country visa applications (China, Schengen etc), you don’t need an airline or hotel booking. You just need to have an idea on the date when you’re planning to go, the things that you will do and the places you will visit.
Also Read: Tips to prepare for your US Visa Interview
Step 7: On the day of Interview
The final step, and the most important one is the interview. Visit the US Embassy or Consulate on the scheduled date and time. The fate of your visa application rests at the hands of the consular officer, so it’s up to you to convince him/her that you are worthy of the US visa.
Once you are called to the window, hand over your passport. The questions that will be asked are based on your DS-160 form, so make sure that your answers are consistent with the details that you’ve provided.
Please take note of these important reminders:
- Arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time
- Bring original and photocopies of your documents. Original for the consular officer to validate and photocopies in case they want to keep one
- To proceed through the Embassy or Consulate’s security checks as quickly as possible, do not bring any large bags, cell phones, laptops, other electronic devices or any other prohibited items
- An average interview will last for approximately 3-5 minutes.
Note: Usually the interview questions will focus on the purpose of your travel (Why do you want to go to the US?), your job (what you do?) and your earning capacity (How much do you earn?). So, as long as you can answer these questions honestly, the interview should go fine.
Step 8: The final verdict
After the interview, it is time to wait for the decision. It can either be approved or denied. If your application is approved, the consul will keep your passport and the embassy will have it delivered to your mailing address, usually after five (5) working days. Meanwhile, if it gets denied, you will be handed back your passport along with a blue slip explaining why you got denied.
So, are you ready to apply for your US visa? If yes, then think no further! Our Visa Experts walk you through the complete visa application process; analyze your situation, strengthen your profile and develop a winning solution. We help you with the entire process of obtaining a US Visa, right from getting started with the process and gathering the required documents, to preparing you for the actual interview at the US Embassy or Consulate. Hope we are able to help you on your journey in procuring a US visa.
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