How to Apply for US Visa From India

US Visa is a necessary document that non-resident of USA needs in order to stay for fixed period of time in the USA. The Visa Waiver Program enables citizens of 39 countries including Canada and Bermuda to enter USA without visa. However, the program allows the person to stay for a maximum of 90 days in USA without visa and he/she is required to apply for a visa after expiry of the 90 day period. For citizens of countries such as India, a non-immigration visa is required to enter USA. Non-immigrant visa allows you stay for a temporary period in the USA and leave the country after the visa period expires.

Prior to applying for US visa, you should know about the various categories of immigration visa issued by US authorities.

Types of US Visa

B1 US Visa

B1 Visas are issued to foreign nationals visiting USA for business purposes such as attending business meetings, negotiating contracts, attending business conventions or settling an estate. Foreign nationals attending scientific and educational conventions are also issued B1 visas.

B2 US Visa

B2 US Visa enables a foreign national to enter USA for tourism, medical treatment, visiting friends and relatives, participating in social service activities or for short course of study which does not award a degree.

H1-B US Visa

H1-B Visa is required by foreign nationals to work for employers based in USA. The foreign national must have a Bachelors degree in a specialty. The USCIS decides whether the employment is specialty occupation and the foreign national is capable of performing the services.

H2-A US Visa

H2-A US Visa is for seasonal agricultural workers to stay temporarily in USA and perform agricultural tasks.

H2-B US Visa

H2-B visa is for skilled and unskilled workers to stay in USA for seasonal jobs for which there is a shortage of workers in USA.

H-3 US Visa

H3 visa is required by trainees who need to visit USA for training in any  field other than graduate medical and academic fields for a period not exceeding 2 years.

H-4 US Visa

H4 visa is issued to spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of a holder of H visa. The visa allows them to accompany the H visa holder but does not allow them to work.

L-1 US Visa

L-1 US Visa is required by an employee of an international company who has been transferred to USA to work in the company’s parent office, branch, subsidiary or affiliate. The employee must be at the managerial or executive level and must be employed for at least 1 year within the 3 years period from the date of application.

L-2 US Visa

L-2 visa enables the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of a L visa holder to stay in USA. Spouse can work in the country after submitting Form I-765 but children are not allowed to work.

F-1 US Visa

F-1 US Visa is for foreign students enrolled in US approved schools in programs with over 18 hours a week.

M-1 US Visa

M-1 visa is required by foreign students to undergo vocational training of non-academic nature in USA.

J US Visa

J US Visa or Exchange Visitor Visa enables foreign nationals to enter USA under exchange programs. Teachers, professors, trainees, students and research scholars visiting USA under exchange programs are issued this visa.

R US Visa

R visa or religious worker visa is issued to foreign nationals who want to engage in religious activities in USA for a temporary period.

O US Visa

O Visa is for foreign nationals with extraordinary achievements and abilities in the field of science, business, arts, education athletics, motion pictures and television production.

P US Visa

P Visa is issued to foreign athletes to participate in competitions in USA and to entertainment artists and support personnel to perform in events held in USA.

Q US Visa

Q Visa is for foreign nationals who visit USA to participate in cultural exchange programs.

How to apply for US Visa? 

In order to apply for US Visa through the online mode, visit  https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/ and select the location in India from where you want to apply. Apart from US embassy in New Delhi, there are consulates in Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. Select your nearest location. Click on “start an application” tab to commence the process.

On the right hand side corner of the new page, your application ID will appear. Note it down. Choose a security question at the bottom of the page and continue. The DS-160 electronic application form for non-immigrant US Visa appears on the screen. Fill the form correctly. All the information entered must be accurate. You need to upload your photograph in the next step. Thereafter, review the information you entered in the form and click on sign and submit button. A confirmation page appears which you need to print and bring it with you on the day of visa interview.

Now visit https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/SiteRegister?country=India&language=en_US and create your profile. On the payment confirmation page, read the payment information select a payment option to pay the application fee. Take a printout of the fee receipt.

Now you need to schedule your appointment. Login to your profile and click on “Schedule Appointment” option. You need to schedule your appointment for Visa Application Centre first where your photograph and fingerprints will be taken. Select the location from the menu. Thereafter, schedule your visa interview appointment at the US embassy or at one of the consulates. In order to schedule your appointment, you need to enter your US Visa application fee receipt number, barcode of your DS-160 confirmation page and your passport number.

Documents required for US Visa 

The following documents are required to be brought to the VAC

  • Passport which is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date till the intended stay in USA.
  • DS-160 application confirmation page.
  • Appointment confirmation page.
  • One photograph as per US Visa

For the US Visa interview at the embassy or consulate, you need to bring the following documents.

  • Current and old passports
  • Supporting documents as required for the visa type for which you have applied.
  • DS-160 confirmation page bearing the stamp of VAC.
  • The hardcopy of the appointment confirmation letter.

US Visa FAQs 

Q: What is the validity of a US Visa?

Ans: The time period for which a US Visa is valid depends upon its type. You can stay in USA for 3 months to as long as 3 years depending upon the type of visa you possess.

Q: How to renew the US visa? 

Ans: In order to renew the US Visa, you need to follow the same process as the initial application process. The visa can be renewed only after the expiry date of the visa.

Q:  Is a US Visa the ultimate guarantee of entry? 

Ans: The US Customs and Immigration authorities have the power to deny entry into USA to a visa holder due to security and other reasons. Thus, a US Visa will not guarantee your entry into USA because you need to be cleared by Customs and Immigration.