No country, in modern times, has captured our imagination as much as the United States of America has. The Times Square, the Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty, Disneyland… the list is endless. If you’re not looking at tourist sites, then chances are you’re either visiting family or friends, plan to study there or have a temporary work assignment to complete. Being one of the most dynamic economies the country also attracts thousands of businessmen from India to travel for business purposes. Regardless of the reason, to visit the United States of America, you need a US Visa.
The trouble comes when you realize there is a multitude of US visas, each with its own purpose and each with its own eligibility criteria. Also, visa applications these days undergo a lot of scrutinies compared to the process followed in the past. It is important to gather the appropriate visa information before starting the application process.
There are two categories of US visas: immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. Immigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals who intend to live permanently in the United States. Nonimmigrant visas are for foreign nationals wishing to enter the United States on a temporary basis – for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, study, or other similar reasons. Applicants are required to adhere to the visa rules and regulations while applying for a US visa.
Follow this step-by-step guide and you will very soon be a proud owner of a US visa:
Foreign Nationals wishing to enter the US generally must first obtain a US visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. There are different US visas types and the type of visa you must have is defined by immigration law, and relates to the purpose of your travel and duration of stay. The two most common US nonimmigrant visas are the B-2 Visitor Visa and B-1 Business Visa. A B1 visa will allow the holder to visit the US to work on some business-related project. A B2 visa is basically a tourist visa and allows the holder to travel to and within the US for a pretty broad range of tourist activities.
The US visa allows the holder to stay within the country for up to six months. The validity of the visa itself is usually between 1 to 10 years. It is recommended to apply for the US visa at least 4 to 6 months prior to the departure date, so that you have enough time to prepare your documents and secure an interview.
Once you know which visa type you must apply for, it’s time to prepare your documents. Given below are the mandatory documents, supporting documents, and extra beneficial documents required for the US visa. According to US visa laws and regulations, most nonimmigrant visa applicants must demonstrate to the consular officer that they have strong ties to their country of residence and must show that they intend to depart the United States after their temporary stay.
The following documents are required for US Visa application:
Mandatory documents required for US Visa:
- Original Passport with at least 6 months validity + old passports (if any)
- Printout of DS-160 confirmation page: All non-immigrant visa applicants applying for visas at a US Embassy or Consulate are required to complete the DS-160 online application form. Each applicant, regardless of age, must have his or her own DS-160 application form. The Form DS-160 must be completed and submitted online prior to your interview at the Embassy or Consulate. The DS-160 form is required to book your US Visa appointment online
- Appointment letter confirmation
- US Visa fee payment receipt: US Visa fee must be paid before scheduling the US visa interview. The fee can be paid either electronically as a bank transfer or in cash at designated CitiBank or Axis bank branches throughout India
- Personal covering letter from the applicant stating purpose of trip
- Recent color photographs measuring 2 inches by 2 inches (5 cm by 5 cm) with a white background
Supporting documents for US Visa:
- Bank statement with sufficient balance
- Income tax returns
- Occupation-related: If you are employed, get a leave letter and letter of employment verification. If you are self-employed, you must provide proof of business ownership and financial history. If student, get letter from the school or college
- Letter of invitation, address proof etc – if visiting a relative or friend
- Covering letter from host company & Invitation letter from Inviting company in US (For Business trip)
- Proof of attending event: Invitation card, brochure etc
Extra beneficial documents for US Visa:
- Financial documents such as fixed deposits, property investments, share certificates etc
- Salary slips
- Business card
Present only valid documents. Fraud or misrepresentation of documents can result in permanent ineligibility for a US visa.
You must translate any documents not written in either English or the official language of the country in which the interview will take place. Translations must be certified by a competent translator.
Your next step should be to select a reliable and experienced Visa Agent to process your US visa application. The visa process has become very stringent in recent years, resulting in number of US visas getting rejected. Akbar Travels has thousands of people successfully getting their US visas and can help you too. Our Visa Experts will complete your US visa application online, verify your documents and schedule appointments.
After you’ve completed the DS-160 application online, paid the visa fees and scheduled the visa appointment, it is time to attend the appointments. On the first appointment date, visit the Offsite Facilitation Centre (OFC)/ Visa Application Center to submit your biometrics and digital photographs. Make sure you carry your Passport, DS-160 Confirmation page, OFC Appointment Confirmation page and fee receipt.
On the next appointment date, visit the US Embassy or Consulate for the Visa interview with your passport and supporting documents.
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.
Note, that applicants below the age of 14 or older than 79 years are not required to go to the consulate for an interview, unless specifically requested to do so.
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. Meanwhile, if it gets denied, you will be handed back your passport along with a blue slip explaining why you got denied. Usually, the visa processing time takes seven to ten working days, but in some cases, the processing time may differ owing to individual circumstances and other special requirements.
You can even check your US visa status online here by entering your interview location and your DS-160 barcode number.
And with this step-by-step guide on how to obtain a US Visa, your dreams of exploring some of the most iconic landscapes in the world just got a whole lot easier. With the visa application process simplified, all you need to do is plan your trip and book your tickets!
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