Travelers who wish to travel to the USA for a variety of purposes, including tourism, vacation, visit or business will need to apply for a ‘non-immigrant visa’ (US visa) before their travel. ‘Non-immigrant’ applies to an individual who is visiting the United States temporarily and has no intention of staying there permanently.
The US visa is an non-immigrant visa (also called B-1/B-2 visa) issued to tourists, visitors, businessmen, performing artists, religious workers and persons with extraordinary abilities among others. The visa application process requires a personal interview with the Consular Officers.
All USA visas are classified using an alpha-numeric system. The B-1, B-2 visa is issued together and is called B-1/B-2 visa, symbolizing two different reasons for travel. The B1 visa (business visa) is issued to persons to engage in business related activities such as attend educational, professional or business conventions, conferences or seminars, consultation with business associates, negotiation of contracts, and other legitimate activities of a commercial or professional nature. The B2 visa (tourist visa) is issued for persons travelling to the United States temporarily for tourism, visiting friends or relatives in the US, attending cultural events, taking part in social events, receiving medical treatment and so forth.
Indians are required to apply for the US visitor visa or US tourist visa at any of the U.S. Consulates in the country. Applicants are advised to apply within the consular district. The Consulate has appointed Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) as the off-site interview scheduler.
US Visitor Visa Validity:
A US Visitor visa is issued for up to ten (10) years and its holder can stay in the US for up to six (6) months. You should apply for the US Visitor Visa at least three (3) months before your intended date of travel.
Activities allowed on a US Visitor Visa:
The US Visitor visa allows a person to:
- To take a holiday in the US.
- Visit family or friends.
- For business purpose.
- To take part in sports or creative events.
- Receive private medical treatment.
- Study for up to 30 days, provided it is not the main purpose for the trip.
- For persons under 18 years, who may take part in a short term exchange programme or educational visit.
Indians require different types of USA visa to enter the USA to engage in other activities such as:
- Study in the US
- Marry a US citizen
- Invest in the US
- Obtain permanent residence in the US.
Requirements for a US B1/B2 Visa:
It is essential for you to prove to the US Consular Officials that you have a well-established life in your home country. You must be able to demonstrate that:
- You will leave the US at the end of your visit;
- You are able to pay for all costs pertaining to your trip, including travel and living expenses;
- You are able to support yourself and any dependents for the duration of the trip;
- You have proof of any business activities you may intend to partake in during your stay (For business travel).
How long does it take to get a Visa to the US?
It normally takes around 3 to 5 weeks for the complete visa process. Post the personal interview, the average processing time for successful applicants is up to five (5) business days.
US Visa Fees:
The cost of US Visitor Visa is Rs 13,499/- per person (same fee for adult and child).
Documents required for US Visa:
- DS-160 online application form: Duly filled.
- Travel passport: Valid for at least three (3) months after returning from the US and 2 blank pages (for visa stamp and entry/exit stamps).
- Photographs: Two recently clicked coloured photos
- Financial proof: You must show proof that you are able to pay for all costs relating to the trip and have the financial means to fund your living expenses as well as any dependents while in the US. Include bank statements, Income tax returns, pay slips, property documents etc.
- Itinerary for your trip: Submit a detailed travel plan of the places you plan to visit and what you intend to do. Include travel dates, destinations, scheduled tours, tourist attractions, meeting agendas and so on.
- Employment proof: Leave letter from the company, pay slips.
- Business proof: Business license, partnership deed, company bank statements.
- Freelancer: Documents pertaining to profession. Include certificate/badge, business card.
- Retirement proof: Pension book.
- Education proof: School/college/institution ID card, bonafide certificate.
- Minor traveler: Birth certificate, NOC, ID proof of parents.
- Invitation letter: If visiting family or friends in the US, you must provide Invitation letter and passport copy of the inviter.
- Sponsorship letter: If being sponsored, along with passport ID and financial documents of the sponsor.
- US Business Visa: You have to show proof of the business activities you will be undertaking in the US. Include Invitation letter from the host company in US, meeting agendas etc.
US Visa Interview:
As part of the US visa application process, you must take part in a personal interview. Applicants aged between 14-79 are generally required to undergo the personal visa interview. It is very important to try your best to make a good impression on the interviewers and prove that you have family, social, and career connections to your home country. Make sure you speak about the reason for the US trip, the source of funds for the expenses of the trip, and provide clear background information about your business, employment, education or source of financial support. Most applicants prefer English language for their US visa interview. Moreover, the Mumbai Visa Application Center (VAC) provides interpreters for regional languages such as Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi.
US Visa Interview Tips
How to apply for US Visa from India?
- Determine Visa Type: The type of visa you request should match the purpose of your trip.
- Fill in the DS-160 Application Form: You must complete the DS-160 application form online. After completing the form, note the confirmation number for booking your appointment. Typically, the online US visa application form includes questions about personal information such as name, passport details, marital status, occupation, income, travel history and reason for visit to the United States.
- Pay the Visa Fee online: Log into the U.S Non-Immigrant Visa website, create a user account, enter the DS-160 confirmation number, pay the visa fee online. You have two options to pay the visa fee; either online or through AXIS bank.
- Schedule an Appointment: You must schedule two visa appointments, first appointment at the Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) to submit your biometric information and second appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate for the US visa interview.
- Prepare the required documentation: Gather all the required documents pertaining to your trip.
- Visit the OFC for first appointment: At the OFC, applicants must show up for their appointment and submit their biometrics. The centre will take your ‘biometric information’ like fingerprints and photograph. You should carry your original passport, printed copies of your online application form, confirmation of your appointment and payment receipt to avoid any delays in the application process.
- Visit the US Embassy or Consulate for personal interview: Finally, the day when the fate of your US visa will be sealed! If you answer correctly and state your genuine reasons to visit the US, the consular officer will issue the US tourist visa. Applicants whose visas are not issued will be given back their passports and a letter explaining the reason for the refusal at the end of the visa interview. You should carry your original passport along with old passports if any, printed copies of your online application form, confirmation of your appointment, payment receipt and all the supporting documents for a hassle-free experience.
Although the USA visa application may seem straightforward, the process is a bit long and complicated. Many applications get refused as the applicant may have wrongly filled the application form, submitted incomplete documents or failed to convince the Consul Officer that he/she is a genuine visitor. To avoid a visa rejection, apply for your visa with Akbar Travels.
How can we help?
What we offer? Decades of US Visa expertise!! We provide practical and friendly advice that will significantly boost your chances of getting the visa to the United States. Our Visa Experts will guide you through the entire process; from preparing and submitting DS-160 online applications to scheduling US visa appointments for the interview and receiving the visa.
Read more about US Visas:
- Types of US Visas – Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visas
- Step by Step guide to US Visa application
- How to apply for a US Visa
- Procedure to renew a US Visa
- List of countries you can visit on a valid US Visa
- Everything you need to know about US Visa
- Tips to pass the US Visa interview
- The US visa application process
- Reasons for US Visa rejection
- Know what to expect at the US Visa interview
- US transit visa application and requirements
- How to apply for US Student Visa
- US Visa interview questions and answers
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