People travelling from countries that are not eligible for visa-free travel to the United States under the VWP ( Visa Waiver Program) require a permit to enter the USA. The visa comes in the form of a stamp in your passport. The validity, however, depends on the officer issuing the permit. Based on your profile, this can vary from 6 months to a maximum of 10 years. They are of two types – Immigration, and Non-Immigration Visa. Since the latter involves permanent residency visas and most US Visa application from India involve temporary stay, through this guide, the Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) will be discussed.
How to apply for US Visa from India?
Getting a US visa from India is a long process. However, the US visa process is pretty straightforward. Before starting your application, you will have to determine the type of visa you require. After this, proceed as per the following –
- Obtain the documents you require to complete the application.
- You will need to fill the NIV US Visa application online: DS-160 form
- You should then proceed to pay your US visa fees online.
- Once this is done, submit your application. You will receive a fee receipt, and DS-160 confirmation via your email.
- Using the DS-160 application barcode, and the visa fee receipt number, proceed to schedule your US Visa appointment. This involves two appointments. First one at a VAC (Visa Application Center) for the biometric submission, and the next at a US Embassy or Consulate-General for the visa interview.
- Visit the VAC for your biometric first, along wth the passport, appointment, and D-160 confirmation pages.
- After the submission at VAC, you will then have to visit a US Embassy or Consulate for your interview, along with your supporting documents, appointment confirmation letter, and VAC stamped D-160 confirmation page.
Please note that the visa interview and biometric is mandatory only if the person is older than 14 and less than 80. Also, if your US permit expired in the last 12 months, and if you are visiting the country under the same type of permit, you may not need to attend the interview.
It is extremely crucial to fill in the DS-160 form accurately, as you will not be able to change it later. Any incorrect, or fake information on the form will lead to your visa being denied or delayed. A visa rejection is taken strictly by the US Government.
US Visa types
Based on the purpose and eligibility of visit, there are a number of Non-Immigrant visas issued to enter the USA. The most common US Visa types applied from India are as follows –
- US Tourist Visa: – B2 – This type is issued when an individual is visiting the country for purposes such as on holidays, visiting friends or family, etc.
- US Business Visa: – B1 – The business permit is issued to travellers who visit the country for business meetings, conferences, and other business-related activities. Even though the US visa application for B1 and B2 have different documentation and eligibilty, the visa is issued as a B1/B2 visa.
- US Student Visa: F1 – This is issued only for students entering the country for the purpose of education.
- US Work Visa: H1-B, L1, J1,I,P – These categories are issued to individuals who enter the country to perform various kinds of work. Based on the type of work, and the individual case, one can apply for any one of these visas.
- US Dependent Visa: H4, F2, L2, etc – The dependents such as a spouse, children of individuals possessing other US Visa are issued the Dependent permit.
- Trainee Visa: H3 – This type is issued for people attending non-employment training programs in the USA.
- Media and Journalists Visa: I – Issued for information media personnel travelling for work purposes.
- Artists,/Entertainers/Athletes Visa: P – This is issued for the athletes, artists, or entertainers travelling as a part of work or project.
- Extraordinary Ability Visa: O1 – Issued for people possessing extraordinary abilities in the field of science, sports, arts, business, etc.
- Exchange visitor: J1 – This is for individuals visiting the US as a part of an exchange program.
- Intracompany transferees: L1 – This is for employees that are sent to the branch/subsidiary/parent company in the US as a part of the transfer.
- US Transit Visa: C1 – This is issued for individuals travelling through the US as a part of a transit journey.
- Crew: D – This is for members travelling as a crew of aircraft or ship. Similar to B1/B2, despite the different US visa application for C1 and D, the permit is issued in the form of C1/D Visa
Documents required for US Visa for Indians
As per the US visa rules for Indians, the documents for the application of the visa application submission vary based on the type. Each type has documents pertaining to it. However, the basic documents according to the US Visa document requirements for Indian citizens are as follows-
- A passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of intended travel
- 2 photos
- DS-160 application confirmation page
- Visa fees payment receipt
- Proof of purpose of visit
- Proof of employment/study
- Proof of financial means