US Visa

Why Do You Need A Visa To US?

There may a variety of reasons why you may feel the necessity to travel to the United States. The first thing you would require to visit USA is a Visa. A Visa is an official permit that helps you enter a foreign country and stay there permanently or for a specific period of time.

Based on the purposes and duration of your stay, the United States of America offers different classes and subclasses of Visas. The United States of America follows a strict process of Visa issuance. The majority of the Visa applications to the USA are non-immigrant Visa applications which allow Indians to visit the USA and stay there for a predetermined period of time. When it comes to apply for an Immigrant Visa that allows foreign citizens settle permanently in the USA, the country issues limited number of Visas.

Different Types of Visas Offered By the USA

There are different types of US Visa offered to Indian citizens. They are mainly categorized as Immigrant Visa and Non-Immigrant Visa

Immigrant Visa: It is issued to Indian citizens who wish to stay permanently in the USA. The country issues a limited number of immigrant Visas to foreign citizens. (Can be linked to difference between difference between immigrant and non-immigrant Visas)

Non-Immigrant Visa: It is issued to foreign citizens who wish to visit the USA for specific period of time. There are different types of Non-immigrant Visas that are issued based on the purpose and duration of your travel in the US. Listed below are the different types of non-immigrant Visas offered by the United States

  • Business Visa
  • Employment Visa
  • Tourism Visa
  • Medical treatment Visa
  • Education Visa

The United States of America offers nearly 20 subclasses of non-immigrant Visas to foreigners visiting the country for short term stays. They include - Religious worker Visa, Domestic employee Visa, Exchange visitor Visa, Student Visa, Ship crew or Transit Visa, Work Visa (including H1B, H2A, H2B, LI, H4 etc.) and Media and journalist Visa.

Documents Required For US Visa Application/ Interview

You need to keep the following documents handy when you apply for a US Visa:

  • Passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of entry into the United States.
  • Colored photographs.
  • Marriage Certificate, if applicable.
  • Evidence of financial properties.
  • Divorce/death certificate of spouse, if applicable
  • In case of family-based cases or dependent Visa, all original documents establishing the relationship between the petitioner and the applicant need to be submitted.
  • In case of a work Visa, a letter from the prospective employer confirming the essential elements of the job offer needs to be submitted.
  • Police Clearance Certificate.
  • Certificate of birth.
  • Court records, if applicable.
  • Military records, if any.

Eligibility Criteria for US Visa

A foreign citizen needs to meet the following eligibility conditions to get a Visa to USA:

  • The applicant must have a passport that is valid for a period of at least 6 months.
  • You should not have any past history of crimes or should not have any criminal case ongoing cases against them.
  • Dependents/ spouses travelling with the applicant should apply for separate Visas.
  • The applicant should have enough finance to support himself and dependents.
  • The applicant should have a sound health and needs to go thorough medical test by approved physician.
  • The applicant should have strong ties with his/her current country of residence.
  • You should have a valid reason for travelling to the United States.
  • You should not have any communicable disease like tuberculosis.

Steps to Follow Before You Apply For A US Visa:

An applicant needs to go through the following steps to obtain a Visa to the USA:

  1. Select the type of Visa you are applying for
  2. Check your eligibility.
  3. Fill the online application form by putting all required information
  4. Appear for the Visa interview with all required documents at a select embassy.

Applying for US Visa

There are two ways of applying for a Visa online application and offline application. When you use the online method of application, you can submit all your documents and the filled application form electronically. But, when you apply manually or use the offline method of Visa application, you need to collect/download the Visa application for, fill it and send it to any of the US Embassy office located in India.

Procedure for applying for immigrant Visa: A US Visa applicant needs to go through the following procedure while applying for an immigrant Visa

  1. You need to have a police clearance certificate issued by the Regional Passport Office. It remain valid for one year.
  2. You should have a sound health and complete the medical examination test conducted approved medical doctors.
  3. Then, proceed to complete the DS-260 Form with your Invoice ID number and Beneficiary ID number.
  4. Pay the Visa fees.
  5. Once you are done with the DS-260 form, you can book your appointment for Visa interview.

Procedure for Applying For Non-Immigrant Visa

The US Visa application procedure for non- immigrant Visa is listed below:

  1. First select your Visa type. Based on the purpose of your travel, you need to choose your Visa category.
  2. Next, complete the Visa application form DS-160 carefully. Make sure all your details are entered correctly. Because, once you submit the form, you cannot make any change.
  3. Pay the fees applicable on your Visa type. You can pay it through NEFT, Mobile Payment and Cash.
  4. Now, you can schedule your Visa interview with the US Embassy. You need to schedule two interviews- one for Visa Application Centre and the other one for interview at the US Embassy.

Documents to Be Carried For US Visa Interview

If you are applying for an Immigrant Visa, you need to carry the following documents to your Visa interview:

For Immigrant Visa application:

  • DS-260 confirmation page stamped at the Visa Application Centre
  • Current and all old passports,
  • Police Clearance Certificate issued by the Regional Passport Office.
  • Medical examination report
  • Supporting Documents as per your Visa type
  • For non-immigrant Visa application:
  • Copy of your appointment confirmation letter.
  • DS-160 confirmation page stamped at the Visa Application Centre.
  • Current and all old passports
  • Supporting documents required for your Visa type.

How to Schedule an Appointment for US Visa

You can schedule your US Visa appointment online. What you have to do is to log in to your profile with the same credentials that you used to pay your Visa fee. The, you would see the dashboard where you need to click on the Schedule Appointment" button and schedule your appointment.

You need to schedule two appointments- one at the Visa Application Centre and other at the Embassy. Usually, the majority of Visa application interviews to USA from India are scheduled by the National Visa Centre or Kentucky Consular Center. Before you go for your Visa interview, schedule a Category 1 appointment with the Visa Application Center to get your fingerprint and photograph captured.

It’s important you arrive at the interview venue 15 minutes before time. You can also cancel or reschedule your appointment as per your needs.

How to Pay US Visa Fees

You can pay your Visa fees online by using NEFT, Mobile Payment and Cash. It is non-refundable. Individuals having diplomatic passports are exempted from paying Visa fees, irrespective of the purpose of travel and Visa type. Besides, the official passport holders are also not charged for official Visas. However, they need to appear for Visa interview at the US Embassy on any working day between 11am to 12pm.

The non-immigrant Visa fees can be paid in cash at select branches of AXIS or Citibank

Information needed for scheduling US Visa Interview

A Visa applicant needs to keep the following information handy while scheduling a Visa interview appointment with the US Embassy:

  • Visa application fee receipt number.
  • Passport number.
  • The barcode number from the DS-160 confirmation page. It is a 10 digit number.

What if I need to take an emergency Visa interview appointment?

You can get an emergency appointment for your US Visa appointment. Emergency appointments are granted when a Visa applicant has genuine medical and humanitarian emergencies. It includes obtaining medical care, attending funeral, making some urgent business trips, and taking admission into foreign universities.

To avail emergency Visa interview appointments, the applicants needs to provide valid supporting documents. The applicant can take an emergency appointment by filling the DS-160 Form and purchasing a valid fee receipt before appearing for the interview.

In case, you fail to prove your reason for seeking an emergency appointment or it appears to the immigration authority that you have misrepresented the reasons for travel, it may adversely affect your Visa application and you may denied Visa.

The following conditions do not qualify for emergency Visa interview appointments to USA:

  • Attending marriage ceremony.
  • Helping pregnant relatives.
  • Participating in annual business/educational conferences.
  • Participating in pleasure trips.

US Visa Refusal

Your US Visa May be rejected under the following circumstances:

  • Incomplete Visa application
  • Supporting documents missing
  • You fail to fulfill the eligibility conditions required for the Visa category.
  • You have criminal records.
  • Lack of adequate finance to support your trip to the United States
  • Your intention of returning is not clear.
  • Your passport does not have enough blank pages.
  • If you country of residence does not have a good relationship with your destination country.
  • If you have not used a Visa issued to your previously.
  • If you don’t have a legitimate reason for visiting the country.
  • If you fail to submit adequate proof against your eligibility


  1. What if I missed my Visa interview appointment for US Visa?
  2. If you have missed your Visa interview appointment, you can reschedule a category 3 appointment.

  3. How do I pay my US Visa application fees?
  4. You can pay your Visa application fees by using your credit or debit card or send it via bank draft in favor of US Consulate General, Mumbai in case your appointment has been booked in the embassy located in Mumbai.

  5. How to renew my US Visa?
  6. You can renew your US Visa online by providing some key information like name, email-Id and phone number. The process of USA Visa renewal may take several weeks and it depends on how quickly you can get an appointment at the U.S. Embassy.

  7. What is a work Visa? How do I get a work Visa to USA?
  8. It is a kind of Visa that allows you to stay in the United States for a particular period of time and work there. Having a work Visa is a must to work in any foreign countries.

    Usually, it is your employer who applies for work permit on your behalf by contacting the immigration authority of the USA located in India. The United States of America offers different type of work Visas based on the duration of your stay and the severity of your work.

  9. If I apply for an immigrant Visa to US, does my child also need to attend the interview?
  10. Yes. Your child also needs to attend the Visa interview at the US Embassy located in your country.

  11. What if I don't have a police clearance certificate? Will I be allowed to attend my scheduled Visa immigrant Visa interview to USA?
  12. No. You will not be allowed entry into either US Embassy New Delhi or US Embassy Mumbai, if you don’t have a police clearance certificate. Having a PCC is a must to enter the United States.

  13. Under what circumstances my immigrant Visa application may remain pending?
  14. Your immigrant Visa application may be refused or it may be put on hold under Section 221(g), if your application lacks required information or it needs additional administrative processing.

  15. What is a K Visa?
  16. It is a type of US Visa issued to fiance or fiancee of a United States citizen to enter the United States. The fiance/fiancée needs to marry the US Citizen who requests for this Visa within 90 days from the date of entry into the United States.

  17. How do I apply for a US Visa?
  18. You can apply for a US Visa by online by submitting a complete application form supported by all required information.

  19. What is the meaning of FNU in US Visa?
  20. FNU stands for First Name Unknown. If you don't have first name or surname, your only name will be printed on the surname section of your Visa page and your first name will be printed as FNU.

  21. What if my passport is about to expire in 2 months and I need to apply for a US Visa?
  22. You need apply for a new passport, before you apply for a Visa to USA.

  23. What if I have a valid Visa to US, but my passport is expiring soon?
  24. In that case, you need to apply for a new passport and carry both the new and old passports with you when you travel to USA. You may be required to apply for a new Visa.

  25. What do I do, if my US Visa gets damaged?
  26. If your Visa to USA is damaged for some reason, you need to apply for a new Visa.

  27. What if My Visa to USA was printed incorrectly?
  28. If your Visa was printed incorrectly, please inform your concerned embassy office immediately and explain the error. It will take necessary steps to rectify the error.

  29. I have a valid H1-B Visa and I want to change my employer. Is it possible?
  30. Yes. It is possible to changer your employer. What you have to do is to inform U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

  31. What do I do, when my Visa is lost or stolen?
  32. You should immediately inform Indian Police and get a police report. Also, you need to inform the Fraud Prevention Unit stating all your details such as name, date of birth, nationality, a copy of your lost Visa, the reason of loss etc.

  33. Can I get a replacement for my lost US Visa?
  34. No, you will not get a replacement. The lost Visa cannot be replaced. You need to apply for a new Visa again.

  35. What is an H1B Visa?
  36. It is a multiple entry non-immigrant Visa issued to foreign workers to work in the United States.

  37. What is a L1 Visa?
  38. It is also a non-immigrant Visa that allows large multinational companies transfer especially skilled employees to the US on temporary basis.

  39. What is H4 Visa?
  40. It is type of Visa issued to the dependents of an H Visa holder. It is issued to spouse and children who can accompany you to US, but they are not allowed to work there.

  41. What is an SB1 Visa? Who needs it?
  42. It is a Returning Resident Visa. It is required by those who has stayed outside the United States for longer than one year or beyond the validity period or re-entry permit. They need new immigrant Visas to enter US and continue to be permanent residents of the USA.

  43. How to apply for a Returning Visa to USA?
  44. You can apply for a Returning Resident Visa by filling UP the Form 117 and booking a Category -2 appointment for your Visa interview.

  45. Can I reschedule my US Visa interview?
  46. Yes. You can reschedule your US Visa interview.

  47. Do I need to carry my original documents to my US Visa Interview?
  48. It depends on the Visa type you have applied for. However, it is better you carry all your original documents along with you.

  49. What is Section 214(b) for US Visa?
  50. Section 214 (b) is a part of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act, under which Visa applicants fail to qualify for a nonimmigrant status. This section states that every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for a Visa that he is entitled to nonimmigrant status. It means that the Consular Officers have to assume that all Visa applicants intend to leave their home country and want to immigrate to the US. During the Visa interview, the applicants have to prove that this assumption of the officers is wrong.

  51. Do I need a Visa to travel to USA from the UK?
  52. British Citizens who hold a UK passport do not need a Visa to travel to the US, provided that their stay period is a maximum of 90 days and they have a valid return or onward ticket. Visa-free travel does not apply to people who wish to visit the USA for work or study. If you are an Indian citizen, which means you hold an Indian passport and wish to visit the USA from UK, you will require a US Visa.


News About All about US Visa

  • All Indians who are travelling to the U.S. are exempt from visa bonds

    The Trump administration introduced through a ‘temporary final rule’ a visa-bond pilot program and now applications from a few countries of people travelling to the U.S. for business or as tourists should furnish a bond, and the denomination could be $15,000. The overstay rate for all Indians who are travelling on B1/B2 visas (business and tourist visas) is not as high, and Indians are excluded from furnishing this bond.

    1 December 2020

  • Withdrawal of work authorization on H-4 visa by Trump Government to get finalized soon

    To eliminate the option for use of the B-1 (business visitor) visa, the US department of State has proposed a revision to the visa regulations. It must be noted here that in recent years the State Department and the US Customs and Border Protection have increasingly scrutinized BILOH visa applications. As such, the proposed amendments will ensure such an option would no longer be available. The department of State believes that any perceived grey areas will be removed by amending the regulation. It will also protect the economic interests of American workers and strengthen the integrity of the visa program.

    21 October 2020

  • Withdrawal of work authorization on H-4 visa by Trump Government to get finalized soon

    Earlier this year, United States President Donald Trump and his government had decided to withdraw the work authorisation of H-4 visa holders. Among these visa holders, majority of them are spouses of skilled Indian IT professionals. This plan to withdraw the work status is yet to be finalised as the rule making process is still incomplete.  

    Many H-4 visa holders under the Obama administration could be employed and work in the United States of America. However, President Trump after coming to power wants to revoke this authorisation. The Government has not adequately notified this rule of revoking work status and has been delaying the same since the past 2 years. 

    A government official has mentioned that no regulation granting work to H-4 spouses granted by the Obama administration will be final until the rule-making process is completed.  

    The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Spokesperson, Jessica Collins mentioned that the administration has been following and pursuing the merit-based policy and regulatory immigration reforms of the government.  

    The USCIS has been conducting a thorough review of employment-based visa programs to benefit the people of the USA to fulfill the President’s ‘Buy American, Hire American Executive Order’.  

    18 June 2019

  • U.S. Visa Applicants Will Now Have to Provide Social Media Information

    On Friday 31 May 2019, the United States Government updated its visa application guidelines to include the social media history of applicants. 

    The State Government stated that applicants to the United States will be required to submit information regarding social media accounts that they have held for the last five years. While applicants will not have to provide consular officers with passwords to their accounts, they will have to provide their social media information for any of the 20 online social media platforms listed in the visa application form. 

    This information will effectively give the United States Government access to locations, photos, check-ins, dates of milestones, and other information that is regularly shared on social media. 

    This change in visa policy is the result of a 2017 Presidential memo where President Trump called for “enhanced vetting protocols of visas”. This move is a step up from a practice started during the Obama administrations where the State Department requested visa applicants to voluntarily provide their social media information. 

    31 May 2019

  • Recent policy change favouring advanced degree holders likely to hit IT companies’ profitability 

    The proposal made by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the month of December 2018 of favouring advanced degree holders for visas in the US is likely to hit the profitability of IT companies. This is because the number of H-1B visas getting approved would decrease. As per rating agency Icra if the move is approved there would be a reduction of 10 per cent in H-1B visa approvals for regular applicants. The report added that increased onshore hiring associated with higher wage bill and factors like pricing pressure on commoditised services, wage inflation and lower revenue growth will negatively impact the margins of IT companies. As per the agency, overall operating margins are still expected to decline to 20.8 per cent in FY21 from 22.1 per cent in FY18.  

    It needs to be mentioned here that under the proposed amendments USCIS would first select 65,000 visas from the cumulative pool of regular as well as advanced degree holder applicants while 20,000 highly skilled H-1B visas would then be provided to advance degree holder applicants from the unselected pool. The report, however, highlighted that the credit profiles of players will remain stable as companies would be able to sustain free cash flows despite pressure on revenue growth and margins. It is noteworthy to mention here that with visa issuance norms being tightened, Indian companies have been forced to ramp up onshore hiring.  

    15 January 2019

  • US senators urge Trump administration not to revoke authorisation to immigrants on H-4 visa

    Given that revoking work authorization to immigrants on H-4 visa would impact about 1,00,000 women, two US women senators have sought preservation of employment authorization for immigrant women. The two senators namely Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand have sent a letter to Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of Homeland Security and L Francis Cissna, the director of USCIS regarding the matter.

    It needs to be mentioned that H-4 visas are issued by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to the immediate family members of H-1B visa holders. The authority has stated in court as well as publicly that it intends to revoke work permits to H-4 visa holders after the Trump administration is done reviewing the H-1B visa policy. The H-1B policy is being reviewed as authorities believe that the policy was being misused by companies to replace American workers.

    The senators while asserting that independence and equal opportunity are fundamental American values stated that depriving spousal H-4 visa holders of pursuing professional careers was opposed to the principles on which the country was built. They added that revocation of the H-4 rule would invariably target south Asian women. It is noteworthy to mention here that as of 2017, 94% of the total H-4 visa holders having work authorization were women, out of which 93% were from India.

    4 October 2018

  • POTUS favours people coming to the US through the merit-based system

    Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America on Wednesday stated that he wants foreign workers to come into the country through the merit-based immigration system in a bid to meet the demands of companies. He stated this while talking to reporters during a luncheon with the members of the Congress while adding that he was not against people coming into the country. The US president said the current immigration system which is in place makes little sense as they were a confused mixture of laws that were put together over years. He added that the country needs to put in place a system that does not need a thousand judges to handle cases of illegal immigrants.

    It needs to be mentioned that given the revamp in the immigration picture of the US, Indian-Americans who went into the country on the back of H-1B work visa have been the worst sufferers. This is because the new system of immigration put in place by the Trump administration has imposed a 7% per country quota on allotments of permanent legal residency.

    5 July 2018

  • Trump administration issues draft policy to curb overstay by students

    The rules related to calculation of visa overstay by foreign students in the US were tightened by the Trump administration as it issued a draft policy late on Friday. Under the policy, which is scheduled to come into effect on August 9 unlawful presence days will be counted from the day the student fails to maintain immigration status. Currently, unlawful presence is started to be counted only after authorities discover the violation or an immigration judge passes an order. The proposed change in the rules will make sure that students who have completed more than 180 days of unlawful presence in the country during a single stay can be banned for a period of 3 to 10 years. Those who stay over a year can be banned for life.

    The USCIS which has issued the policy memorandum has stated that to assess whether a foreign student has overstayed, officers can look into the immigration history of the student or seek details from the students itself. It needs to be mentioned that Indians form the second largest group of foreign students in the US after Chinese students.

    16 May 2018

  • US lawmakers ask Trump administration to reconsider decision on H-4 visas

    With the Trump administration planning to revoke an Obama-era rule, a group of 15 influential lawmakers from California has asked the administration to reconsider the move. It needs to be mentioned that the rule which the Trump administration is planning to revoke is the one that allows the spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the country. The group of lawmakers believe that the H-4 rule which is in contention was a matter of maintaining family unity as well as having economic competitiveness.

    In a letter written to Kirstjen M Nielsen, the secretary of Homeland Secretary the lawmakers stated that by not allowing the spouses of H-1B visa holders to work will remove an important incentive for highly skilled immigrants to remain in the country. The lawmakers believe that the decision if implemented will have a negative impact on the economy as many highly skilled immigrants would be forced to leave the United States. It needs to be mentioned that US president Donald Trump had last year signed an executive order for tightening the rules of H-1B visa programme in a bid to stop ‘abuses’, when it came to using the visa programme.

    7 May 2018

  • US immigration laws to ease up for Indians

    Indian nationals are set to enjoy hassle free travel to the United States in the near future after India was included in the list of countries that would enjoy the benefits of a simpler immigration process. As per Bharat Kumar Kuthati, the Regional Passport Officer of Bengaluru, the decision to include India in the list of countries that would enjoy hassle free travel to the states was made during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington recently. The scheme, known as the Global Entry Program (GEP), has been in the works since July but has not seen rapid progress due to requirement of clearances from multiple agencies in the United States.

    The GEP allows any ordinary Indian passport holder to enrol in it by submitting the application to various agencies that are responsible for verification in the US. These agencies then examine the applications and provide clearance if everything is in order. If the application is approved then the immigration process in the US becomes completely hassle free. The RPO of Bengaluru is also trying to increase the number of passports issued by the passport offices in the city by opening multiple Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSKs). Since January 2017, 12 POPSKs have been opened. The POPSKs also provide SMS based appointment facility.

    4 May 2018

  • US Embassy Urges Indians To Apply Early For Visa

    The United States (US) Embassy has urged Indian travelers to apply early for a visa due to high demand and avoid any delays. Applicants are advised to be aware of the peak travel season during the summer and the delay could be up to 30 days or more to get a visa interview.

    The wait time is expected to continue over the next few months. The embassy added that Mission India’s non-immigration visas are one of the largest in the world, processing more than a million visas a year. The embassy also warned the applicants to be aware of scams and frauds and the only means of getting a US visa is through official channels. Currently, the US Embassy consulates in Delhi and across India can only expedite visa interviews for genuine emergency cases.

    24 April 2018

  • June 6 Is Declared As The Visa Day By The U.S. Consul General In India

    The U.S. Consular has stated that India will start hosting the Visa Day on 6th June, wherein authorities will adjudicate the student visas exclusively for Indian citizens, who seek to do their studies in America.

    On June 6, the United States Embassy in Delhi with its other consulates in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai will deal solely with student visas. On an average, the interview is anticipated to take about 30 minutes. Indian and Chinese students are the two of the most highly noticed international communities in the United States. But after strict policies set by the Trump’s administration, even this has seen a fall.

    5 April 2018

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