Generally, people have the impression that the US visa application process is difficult. In a way, it is! But that does not apply for the US visa types such as business and tourist visas. These are short-term nonimmigrant visas that allow either a leisure or business trip.
The US visa application procedure is the same for all the US visa types. You must provide your biometrics at VAC Center and a face to face interview at the Consulate.
This post contains all the information that you need to know about while applying for a US visa.
Blinkvisa is not only for your US tourist visa, you can get a whole custom travel plan done for you to make sure you have an amazing trip while also using the cashback that you just got, to provide you even more savings when you book your flight and hotel from them (via Expedia) and also gain huge discounts on your activities.
The steps of US visa application
There are 6 major steps for the US visa application process.
- Filing up of the US visa application form DS-160
- Payment of US visa fees
- US visa appointment scheduling
- Arrange the documents required for US visa
- Biometrics and photograph at VAC Centre
- Attend the US visa interview at the Consulate
Step 1- US visa application form- DS 160
- US visa application is not an online process. But one must create an account at the consulate’s portal to download the visa application form DS-160. Download the application form and fill up every box as needed.
- You cannot skip any questions. If your answer is ‘NO’ for a question and if it does not apply to you, just mention NA.
- As per the latest norms, you must provide the details of your social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Just provide the links to your profiles. Moreover, you may also need to fill in any previous email IDs which you have used in the past 5 years.
- Make sure that you note down the application ID which is visible at the top-right corner of the application. You must also save the changes that you make on the application. Unsaved data entry will be lost and you may have to start again.
- Please note that the US visa application filling process is time-consuming since there are more than 10 pages and a vast amount of data that you need to provide.
Step 2- Payment of US visa fees
- Once you have finished the application form filling and have submitted it, move on to the payment step. You must finish the visa payment to fix the visa interview appointment.
- US visa cost is Rs. 13,090 for Indians when applying through Blinkvisa. Do note that the US visa application fee is non-refundable.
- You can pay the visa fee via, Demand Draft, NEFT transfer, Credit cards or in cash at Axis bank. If you are doing cash payment, you need to carry the US visa fee collection slip to the bank. It is available online- download so take a printout of the same.
- Once the payment is done get the bank receipt. Keep this receipt safe since you will need to show this at the Consulate when you attend the visa interview.
The US visa fees at Blinkvisa.com would be,
Step 3- US visa appointment scheduling
- After the visa fee payment, you must fix an appointment for the US visa interview. The visa interview happens in 2 stages– First for biometrics and photograph taking, and second for the Consular personal interview.
- These 2 stages happen on separate days (but consecutive days). So, you need to have 2 entire days dedicated to the same.
- Once you have made the payment, you are eligible to schedule an appointment from the very next day. But, it may not happen easily since it is difficult to get an appointment at the US Consulate.
- The visa payment receipt which you will get is valid for up to a year. It means that you can schedule the appointment even at a later date within this period.
- You will also need the receipt number to fix this appointment.
- For the US visa application, every applicant needs separate appointments for the biometrics but the consular interview happens for the group together.
Step 4- US visa requirements
This step is one of the most important parts. You need to assemble and carry all the documents – mandatory and supportive when you attend the US visa interview.
For the US visa processing, you do not upload or submit any documents, along with the visa application. But, at the same time, you must have all the documents ready with you for the interview. Moreover, you will need it for reference when you are filling up the application form.
US visa requirements for B1/B2 visa application
- Original passport with at least 6 months’ validity and a minimum number of 3 blank pages along with all the older passports, if applicable.
- Printout of the application form DS 160
- The visa fee payment receipt (the fee must be paid before you can attend the interview)
- 2 recent passport-size color photographs taken against a white background with matte-finish
- Covering letter explaining the entire travel plan
- Bank statements for the last 6 months with sufficient bank balance
- Personal Income Tax Returns / Form 16 for last 3 years
All the above-mentioned documents are mandatory for every applicant. Apart from these documents, you will also need additional documents according to the applicant’s profile and visa type- B1 B2 visas.
US visa application additional documents
- Leave and salary certificates for the employed
- Registration and financial documents for the self-employed
- Pension proof and other financial stability proof for the retirees
- Students and minors need ID proof and age proof
- Details of the visiting family/invitee in case your purpose is visiting family or friends
- Sponsorship details for the sponsored applicants
Check out more details on the US tourist visa or US visa in general.
Arrange the documents
When you have gathered all the documents required, arrange them properly. Please note that only the mandatory documents are the ones you may need to show at the Consulate/VAC. The additional documents will be required only when the Consulate officer requests as proof. But keep them handy with you.
If needed, tag them together so that it is easy for you to pick them as needed. Blinkvisa can help you arrange them properly and make sure that you have everything that is needed.
Step 5- Biometrics at VAC Centre for US Visa
The fingerprinting and photograph taking of the applicant is a different affair from the actual US visa interview. This step happens at the VAC center which would be located closer to the US Consulate, but not inside the Consulate. Here are the important factors which you need to know about this process.
- Reach the VAC center at least 15 minutes before the actual appointment time.
- Expect the rush and if you are lucky, you can get through quicker.
- Present the passport number, visa application payment receipt,
- You will be asked to provide fingerprints of all the fingers. SO yes, it will be a longer process.
- Your photograph would also be taken at the VAC center but you also need to carry 2 photographs of US visa application specifications if needed.
- If you have any finger injury, you will be asked to make an appointment on a later date when the finger has healed.
- Children under the age of 14 and elders above the age of 79 need not attend the biometrics interview.
- Children under the age of 14 MUST have a hardcopy of their photographs. Digital photographing does not apply to them.
- The picture taken here or submitted here will be referred to when you attend the consular interview.
Things that are not allowed inside VAC
- Cellphones and smartphones
- Any type of bag, all electronic devices, zip folders will be restricted by the security.
- Food or drinks.
Step 6- Attend the US visa interview at the US Consulate
There are 5 US Consulates in India[icon name=”hand-o-right” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] New Delhi [icon name=”hand-o-right” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Chennai [icon name=”hand-o-right” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Hyderabad [icon name=”hand-o-right” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Mumbai [icon name=”hand-o-right” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Kolkata
An applicant can choose any of these Consulates for the interview when scheduling the appointment. Just make sure that the US visa interview and the biometrics center are in the same city.
- The same restrictions as at the VAC apply at the Consulate as well.
- Show the visa application confirmation printout and payment receipt at the entrance.
- Wait for your turn at the interview counter.
- Answer the questions at ease, calm and controlled.
- Answer all the US visa interview questions truthfully. They already have the information with them and just want to hear it from you.
- Memorize or note down the details you provided in the application form.
- When you are applying as a group or family, go to the interview counter as a group.
- Have proof to show the expenses while in the US and proof of your roots back in India. The Consulate must ensure that you have every plan to come back to India.
How to apply for US visa through Blinkvisa
The US visa application process is not online. You will need the assistance from a visa expert to have everything right and in order. Blinkvisa can help with the entire process and with each stage until you are ready to attend the biometrics and interview.
Blinkvisa helps with
- Filling up of US visa application form DS-160
- Listing all the required documents. Scrutinize the documents and arranging them properly
- Preparing cover letter
- US visa fee payment
- US visa interview appointment scheduling
Do not be intimidated by these many steps. They are not many but all are equally important. You just need to know what to have or need when needed. If it is too confusing, the visa expert Blinkvisa will help you. It is much easier when you have such assistance.