Every year, thousands of Indians apply for a Tourist Visa to travel in the USA. The B-1/B-2 Tourist Visa is for travelers visiting the United States for a short period for business or for medical treatment or leisure. B-1 Visa is for people travelling to the United States for business-related affairs like negotiation of contracts, attending educational, scientific, professional conferences or conventions, and seminars. B-2 Visa is for travelers visiting the United States for recreational purposes, meeting friends or relatives, or for medical treatment. Mostly B-1 and B-2 Visas are issued together as one called the B-1/B-2 Visa.
How To Apply For A Tourist Visa To The USA?
- The traveler must select their location in India and start their visa application on the official website of the US Consular Electronic Application Centre.
- They must fill up the DS-160 Visa application form. It is mandatory to answer every query mentioned on the application form.
- They must sign the application form electronically and submit it after uploading a passport-size picture with it.
- The applicant is allowed to pay the visa processing fee within 48 hours post submission of the form. They can pay the fee via internet banking.
- Once the form is submitted, the applicant is advised to take a print of the DS-160 confirmation page that contains the barcode. This document should be kept safely till the traveler reaches the USA.
- Following the submission, the applicant has to attend two interviews. So, they must book appointments soon after submitting their visa application.
- The first interview is held to collect the applicant's fingerprints and photograph. This is a brief process that doesn't take more than 10 minutes. Applicants are always advised to reach a little earlier than their scheduled time slot.
- The second and more important interview is held to get more information about the applicant. During this interview, phones, electronic gadgets, and any kind of bags are not allowed inside the room of the interviewer. The applicant is allowed to step inside only with their forms and documents.
- During the second interview, the immigration officer enquires about how the applicant is going to fund their trip, about the duration of their trip, and their purpose of visit to the USA. The result of the interview is given out at the spot by the immigration officer.
What Are The Documents That An Indian Applicant Needs To Submit To Get A Tourist Visa To The USA?
An Indian traveler seeking a Tourist Visa to the USA has to carry the following documents during the second interview:
- Original valid passport. The applicant must carry all the old and expired passports also to the interview. Also, the current passport must have validation for at least 6 months beyond the applicant's expected date of arrival in the USA.
- Soft as well as hard copy of the passport-size photograph taken as per the specification.
- Visa application DS-160 with a stamp from the Visa Application Centre (VAC) on the confirmation page.
- Proof of payment of visa fee in the form of a valid receipt.
- The interviewer would want to confirm that the applicant is a legitimate person who meets all the requirements for the Tourist Visa. Hence, the applicant will have to carry a valid identity proof and must have a valid reason to visit the USA.
- The applicant will have to present documents proving that they have sufficient funds to pay for their trip to the USA.
- The applicant will have to prove that they have strong ties back in India that will show that they have a strong reason to come back to their country after the completion of the trip.
- Proof stating purpose of the trip and intent to leave the USA after the trip is over.
- Detailed and complete itinerary with plans and dates.
- Proof of sufficient funds (copy of passbook and bank statement).
- A copy of last year's tax payment, PAN card, Aadhaar card, and TAX ID.
- Business card (if the applicant has one).
- Invitation letters or cards from relatives inviting the applicant to the USA.
- If the applicant is employed, they have to get a letter of employment from their employer.
- If the applicant is a government employee, they will have to submit an NOC.
- If the applicant is a businessman, they will have to present a proof of the ownership of their business.
How Much Fee Will An Indian Applicant Have To Pay For A Tourist Visa To The USA?
The visa application fee for an Indian applicant is approximately Rs.10,880. The applicant can pay the visa application fee through bank electronic payment via NEFT, IMPS, or over the counter payment with cash at Axis or Citibank branches.
Note: The visa application fee changes according to the foreign exchange rate. It is non-refundable and non-transferable.
What Are The Eligibility Criteria For Indian Applicants?
- The applicant should be a citizen of India.
- The applicant should have a valid passport.
- They must possess valid and correct IDs like PAN card, Aadhaar card, and Voter ID card.
- Applicants with no criminal background are preferred to the ones with a history in crimes of any kind.
What Are the Specifications That the Applicant’s Photograph Is Meant To Fulfill?
Following are the specifications mentioned by the US government for photographs taken for visa purposes:
- The photograph should be not be more than 6-month-old and should reflect the applicant’s current appearance.
- It should be in color.
- It should be taken in front of either a white or an off-white background.
- The photograph should have a view of the entire face facing the camera.
- It should be framed in a way so that the applicant’s head stays between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches.
- The applicant should have a neutral expression on their face and keep their eyes open in the photograph.
- It should be taken in clothes that the applicant prefers to wear on regular basis.
- The applicant should not wear any kind of uniform in the photograph. However, religious attire that is worn every day is permissible.
- The applicant should not use headphones or similar hands-free devices while taking the picture.
- Hats or caps that hide the hairline (unless it’s a religious headgear) are not allowed in the image.
- Applicants should remove their eyeglasses while taking the picture. However, in a rare situation in which the applicant has undergone an ocular surgery recently, they might get permission to keep the eyeglasses on. But this should backed with a statement from an authorized doctor clearly stating why it is important to keep the glasses on.
If the applicant is allowed to continue wearing glasses in the photograph, they have to take note of the following points:
- The frame of the glasses should not cover the eyes.
- They should not hide the eyes of the applicant.
- There should not be any refraction or shadow covering the eyes.
- If the applicant normally wears a hearing aid, it can be worn in the photograph as well.
Submission of application for Tourist Visa for travel in the USA is a process that demands meticulous efforts. Before submitting them, applicant has to make sure that all their documents are correct.