US Visa Process – Simplified

Applying for a visa to a foreign country can be taxing. And when it comes to the American dream, well aren’t we all aware of the situation already? Out of all the countries, The United States of America (USA) has probably the most rigid visa application process at present. It is a lengthy 5 steps process if you ask us, quite tedious but definitely not IMPOSSIBLE! We have broken down entire process to apply for US visa here, hope it helps you in meeting uncle Sam!

What’s Your Type?

Your visa type plays an important role. You need to know which visa category you’re eligible to apply for. You can find the entire list of Immigrant and Non-Immigrant visa types on the US embassy website and select the most appropriate type of visa for your travel.  The most common visa category for tourists and general visitors to USA is B1/B2 (or Business or Tourist visa as they’re popularly known).

Document List

Before you begin with the process, make sure you have the following documents – passport, travel itinerary, details of previous international travels (including to the USA), your educational, and professional details, asset and relationship documents etc.

DS-160

Next step in the process is to fill up DS-160 form. You can follow the link https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/ to begin filling your USA visa application form. This is the first step in the application process from government side. You must fill in the DS-160 accurately and provide as much information as possible.

If you are unable to finish the form in one go, you can always save it and retrieve it within 30 days, complete it and submit it. Make sure you write down the Application ID on the top right-hand corner of the page for future retrieval.

After submitting the DS-160 form online, you will receive an application submission receipt via email with an Application ID and bar code. You will have to take a print of the DS-160 confirmation page with the barcode on it, as you will need it to submit your application at the time of your interview. It is not mandatory to take a print of your complete application form.

Scheduling Appointments

For your visa application you are required to schedule 2 appointments.

  • OFC (Biometric appointment)
  • Consular Interview Appointment

You can follow this link https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/ and create a new profile to start scheduling appointment. Complete the profile with all the personal, passport and travel related details and submit it.

Visa Fee

Once your profile is complete, you will be asked to make the payment of visa fees. This is a non-refundable fee that all applicants need to pay. This includes children, seniors and everyone, there is no exception.

The visa fee is given in US Dollars but the US government applies an exchange rate that you need to pay in INR (or other local currency). You can pay the visa fee via bank transfer or cash at designated Axis or Citibank branches across India.

Important Note – You can find the exchange rate here – http://cdn.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-visafeeinfo.asp.

Fingerprinting

Once you submit the application, on your date of OFC appointment, you need to appear for Biometric tests at visa application center. Your fingerprints and photo will be captured here.

Consular Interview Appointment

You have to appear in person at the US Embassy/Consulate for your visa interview. You will be asked questions on the basis of your purpose of visit. Please carry original copies of all the mandatory and supporting documents that you may need, including your passport (current and old), your photograph, the DS-160 barcode confirmation page, visa application fee receipt, visa appointment letter and any relevant supporting documents establishing your assets in India. Invitation letters from parties you plan to visit or meet in USA would be beneficial.   

Visa Approvals

The right to issue a USA visa lies with the US Embassy and its officials. If for some reason a counselor is not convinced with your application and your request for visa is denied, all your documents, including your passport will be returned to you. The visa fee however will not be refunded.

Important Note – If you plan to reapply for a USA visa after a rejection, you will have to follow the entire process again and pay the visa fee once more. For reapplying, please make sure that you have presented all the correct information and have a proof of the same. However, you are still not guaranteed a USA visa.

Did you see the process is not as difficult as people make it sound, you just have to follow the guidelines, if you do so properly then you are game, set and match.

All the best!

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