Visa Types for USA for Indians

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 09/02/2023

When planning an international journey, one of the most important aspects is readying the necessary documents. These include passports, visas, flight tickets, travel insurance, etc. If your documents don’t meet the required criteria, your trip may get cancelled. Considering the depth of its importance, travellers must get their travel documents sorted well in advance.

US Visa types seem the most complex among other countries for Indian travellers. Gaining a basic understanding of the different US Visa categories can avoid confusion and help you take care of the required documents.

It is important to note that for all Visa categories of the USA, it is highly advisable to get international travel insurance.

Let’s take a look at the different types of Visas in the USA.

Different US Visa categories

Regardless of which of the US Visa types you are applying for, the process needs to start in advance. Depending on which of the different American Visa types you are applying for, the urgency of your visit, and the place of your application, the waiting time for the appointment varies. It can range anywhere from 2 to 15 days.

There are essentially two broad categories of American Visa types:

  • Non-Immigrant Visa: Commonly known as the B Visa, travellers apply for this visa when they are planning to temporarily visit the US. The validity of the B Visa is a maximum of six months. However, the validity of this visa also ranges anywhere from one to ten years, depending on the country of your origin.

  • Immigrant Visa: If you are applying for permanent residency in the United States, you will be expected to apply for an immigrant visa. Now that you understand the primary buckets of the different types of visas in the USA, let's take a look at the process for applying for these in some detail.

Non-Immigrant Visa for the US

If you are planning a temporary trip to the US, here are the steps you will have to take to procure a non-immigrant visa:

  • Step 1: From all Visa categories of the USA that the U.S. embassy has enlisted, you will have to determine which one applies to you

  • Step 2: Duly fill out the Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application DS-160

  • Step 3: The next step is to pay the fee that corresponds to your visa type

  • Step 4: Once you pay the fees, you will then have to schedule your appointment with either the Consulate or the Visa Application Centre and the U.S Embassy

  • Step 5: Visit the appointment centre with all your relevant documents, including:

  • Valid passport

  • Confirmation page of the DS-160

  • Confirmation page of the appointment form

  • Document supporting your visa type

Amongst the different types of US Visa, here are the most common categories for non-immigrant visas:

  • Tourism and Visit Visa (B-2) or Business (B-1) or a combination of both these kinds of visa purposes (B-1/B-2)
  • Work Visa: H-1B, H-2A, H-3, H-4, L-1, L-2, O, P, Q
  • Student Visa: F-1/M-1

Immigrant Visa for the US

Here are the steps to get an immigrant visa for the US:

  • Step 1: Obtain USCIS approval for an immigration petition (U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services). A qualifying relative or prospective employer may file the petition at a USCIS office in the country. You must transmit a properly completed form I-130 to the USCIS Chicago lockbox if you are submitting a petition from India.
  • Step 2: Basis the instructions that you receive from the National Visa Centre (NVC) or the embassy, you will be expected to undergo a medical examination
  • Step 3: Once you receive your Immigrant Visa, you will have to clear the additional associated immigrant fee, after which you can travel to the United States

Amongst the different types of US Visa, the most common categories for immigrant visas are ones that immediate family or relative has sponsored:

  • Spouse of a citizen of the U.S.A.: IR1, CR1
  • Spouse of a Citizen of the U.S.A. awaiting an I-130 immigrant petition approval: K-3
  • Fiancé(é) who is to marry a citizen of the U.S.A. and live in the USA: K-1

So far, we have discussed how many types of Visa in the USA. We also talked about the details of the application for each type. Now, let us understand the general rules for all US visa types.

Things to Remember When Applying for a US Visa

Knowing the general rules that apply to the US visa application process can ensure a smooth application process. Here are some things you must remember before applying for a US visa:

  • Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months over the intended time of your stay in the US.
  • The answer to the reason for your stay must be clear and definite. In addition to this, applicants must also have direct and unambiguous answers to the duration of their stay in the US, evidence of the finances to cover the trip, proof of residence, and enough reason to return to their home country. Most cases of visa rejection happen because these answers have not been explained clearly.
  • You can become permanently ineligible for a US visa if you produce any false documentation before the respective officials.
  • You have to be particularly careful while filling out the Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application DS-160, as no changes are permitted once the form has been submitted.

Although the process of visa application takes about three working days, travellers are advised to apply for their visa at least three months in advance.

The Importance of International Travel Insurance When Travelling to the USA

Let’s get a pressing question out of the way: is a travel insurance plan mandatory to enter the USA? In a word, no. So, if a travel insurance plan is not mandatory, why should you get it? Here are a few reasons to convince you to secure your trip to the US with international travel insurance:

  • The United States is known to have one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the world, and your health insurance in your home country will not be covering you in the US. Essentially, this means that if something were to go wrong on your trip, you would have to pay an exorbitant amount to avail of treatment in any US hospital. Without a comprehensive travel insurance plan to take care of these unexpected expenses, you might significantly dent your savings and might even have to cut your trip short.

  • For many, travelling to the United States is the trip of a lifetime. While going on an expensive trip, even mild inconveniences can come at a hefty cost. Imagine that you miss your flight or it gets delayed. This would mean that you are considering possibly having to re-book your flight and change hotel reservations. In such a time, you can simply raise a travel insurance claim, and you will be compensated for your inconvenience.

  • The comprehensive travel insurance by Tata AIG is equipped to take care of a host of unpleasant scenarios, right from loss of passport and delayed flights to misplaced luggage and medical emergencies.


Information last updated Feb 23. While this information is sourced reliably, visa requirements can change. For the most current visa details, visit the official Consulate/Embassy website.

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