USA Visa - Complete Guide To American Visa Application
Each of us has a bucket list of places we wish to travel to and cultures we wish to experience in order to create lifelong memories and learn valuable lessons at the same time. Travel widens our horizons, and there is no better way to gain an understanding of different people and cultures than by visiting their lands.
The United States of America (USA) is one of the most visited places in the world. With no dearth of natural and man-made landmarks, the country has a diverse landscape and culture that attract tourists from across the globe.
If you wish to travel to the United States, you must have adequate advance planning and the right category of valid US Visa. Furthermore, it is advisable to opt for a suitable travel insurance policy so as to financially secure your journey.
At Tata AIG, we offer excellent travel insurance with medical insurance policies for the United States of America, starting at just ₹60.32 per day*. You can get a quote for the Tata AIG travel insurance USA Plan with our travel insurance premium calculator and choose a suitable travel policy for yourself.
Why Do You Need A Visa To The US?
A US Visa is a document that is evidence of your permission to travel to the United States of America for a specified duration. As is the case with a majority of international travel, you are required to have a pre-approved visa to travel to the United States. If you have plans to travel to the US, it is advisable to conduct thorough research on the type of US visa you need to apply for and the application process for said visa.
All Indian citizens travelling to the US need to have a pre-approved US Visa. The type of visa applicable for your visit to the United States would depend on the purpose of your visit, whether it is for studies, work, tourism, etc. Although there is a wide variety of US visas that are issued to different types of visitors based on the intended purpose of their visit, the main categories of US visas are an Immigrant Visa and a Non-Immigrant Visa.
A majority of the visas issued by the Government of the United States of America are Non-immigrant visas that are granted for limited periods of stay. The country has a strict and comprehensive visa application and screening process, of which you must be well informed before applying for a US visa.
Types Of US Visas
There are several different types of US visas that visitors to the country can apply for. The type of US visa you can apply for is primarily determined by the reason behind your visit to the country. Here are the major US visa types for Indians:
1. US Non-Immigrant Visa: A US Non-Immigrant Visa is a type of US visa that is issued to visitors with a specific and short period of intended stay in the US. Under this category of visas, there are several subcategories of US Visas, namely:
●The US B1 Visa or Business Visa: If the purpose of your visit to the US is business, you can apply for a B1 Visa. This visa is applicable to people travelling to the USA for business conferences or to discuss any business-related matters.
●The US F1/M1 Visa or Student Visa: If you have been accepted to study at an educational institution in the United States of America, you can apply for an F1/M1 Visa for the duration of the academic programme. The types of Student Visas in the USA are:
❖ The M1 Visa - for students accepted to vocational programmes ❖ The F1 Visa - for students accepted to academic programmes
●The US H-1 B Visa or Work Visa: If you have accepted an offer of employment in the USA, you can apply for a US H-1 B Work Visa. This visa is sponsored by your employer and is usually valid for an initial period of three years. You are also eligible to take your family to the US, provided you clear the strict visa application and screening process for the same.
●The US H-2 B Visa or Work Visa: This visa is granted to unskilled workers hired for employment in the United States of America. This is the second type of US work visas and is sponsored by the employer of the visa applicant.
●The US B2 Visa or Tourist Visa: The US tourist visa is granted to people visiting the USA for tourism, meeting family or friends, etc.
●The US J1 or Q1 Exchange Visitor Visa: If you have been accepted into an exchange programme in the United States of America, this is the US visa category you must apply for. This visa is granted to students, researchers, and governmental visitors.
2.US Immigrant Visa: A US Immigrant Visa is a type of visa that is issued to people wishing to move to the United States of America for permanent residence. This category of visa is required to be sponsored by a US citizen, who can be the employer or relative of the applicant.
Who Should Apply For A US Visa?
Indian citizens travelling to the USA are required to apply for a US Visa as per a specific process. If you are wondering who can apply for a US Visa, the simple answer is that if you have a legal reason to visit the United States, you are eligible to apply for a US Visa. This purpose may be work, studies, business, tourism, or a visit to friends or family.
Once you have applied for the appropriate category of US visa, you need to schedule and attend a US Visa Interview and submit all the necessary documents in order for the process to go ahead. This interview is organised at the US embassy or consulates in your country.
Although Indians visiting the United States need a pre-approved visa, the citizens of some nations are exempt from this requirement. If you are the national of a country that falls within the Visa Waiver Programme of the United States, you need not apply for a visa before visiting the US. Some of these countries include Australia, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
However, citizens of the countries that are a part of the United States of America's Visa Waiver Programme are required to have a prior authorisation to visit the US. This authorisation can be requested through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation.
How To Apply For a US Visa from India?
If you wish to apply for a US Visa from India, you must firstly determine whether you want to apply for an Immigrant Visa or a Non-immigrant Visa.
Here is the process of application for a US Non-Immigrant Visa, which is the most popular category of US visas amongst Indian visitors.
- Refer to the 'Common Non-Immigrant Visas' guidelines to decide which type of Non-Immigrant visa you must apply for, that is, for business, work, studies, tourism, etc.
- Fill the electronic application form called Form DS-160 in order to apply for a Non-Immigrant visa to the US.
- Pay your visa application fee online.
- Take a print-out of your Form DS-160 with the confirmation of the payment of the visa fee.
- Schedule an appointment with the US Embassy or consulate in India not later than 48 hours after submitting your DS-160 form online.
- Attend your scheduled visa interview appointment whilst carrying the required documents.
- After your visa interview, await the results of the application process.
Note: The US Embassy in India is located in New Delhi, and the consulates are in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai.
Eligibility Criteria for US Visa
If you wish to apply for a US Visa, you must fulfil the following criteria:
1.You must have a passport with at least six months of validity at the time of applying for a US Visa. 2.You must have a legal and valid reason for visiting the United States. 3.You must have enough funds to sustain yourself for the duration of your stay in the United States of America. 4.You must not have any major health-related issues and furnish the latest medical test report by a physician. 5.You must not have any criminal record - past or ongoing. 6.You must ensure that your dependents or members of your travelling party apply for separate visas for the US, as applicable. 7.Depending on the purpose of your visit, you may be eligible for one of the different types of US visas, including the following:
- B1 Visa for Business
- B2 Visa for Tourism
- H-1 B and H-2 B Visa for Work
- M1 and F1 Visa for Studies
- J1 and Q1 Visa for Exchange Programmes
Documents Required to Apply for a US Visa
In order to apply for a US Visa, you are required to have certain documents handy. Here is a list of the documents required for a US Visa application:
- A passport valid for at least six months
- Latest passport-sized photographs of the applicant
- Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate, if applicable
- Court Records
- The Job Offer Letter of the applicant in case of a work visa
- The proof of admission at an academic institution in case of a student visa, including an I-20 form
- The proof of familial relationship in case of visa requested to visit family members in the United States
- Financial statements, as required
- Flight ticket and other travel information
- Any other document specifically required for a particular category of US Visa.
Documents To be Carried To US Visa Interview
Once you have scheduled your visa appointment at a US embassy or consulate in India, you must reach the address on time and carry the following documents with you:
- A passport valid for at least six months
- Proofs of identification, address, and citizenship
- Latest passport-sized photographs
- A print-out of the confirmation page of your DS-160 form
- A print-out confirming your visa appointment
- The proof of your employment in an organisation in the United States
- The proof of your admission in a United States academic institution (for US F1 Visa interview)
- Any other documents particular to a specific type of US Visa
Key Facts About US Visa Application Process
There are certain significant elements of the US Visa Application Process for Indians that you should be aware of. Here are some important facts about the US Visa Application Process:
1.You must have a passport valid for a minimum period of six months in order to apply for a US Visa. 2.You must have a valid and legal reason for travelling to the United States. 3.You must have sufficient funds for the duration of your stay in the United States as well as proof thereof. 4.You must have all the documents required for the online visa application process handy before filling the form. 5.You must apply for the appropriate category of US Visa online by filling the requisite form and paying the applicable fee. 6.You must schedule an appointment with the US embassy or consulate in your country to proceed with your visa application. 7.You must ensure that you reach the US embassy or consulate at the scheduled time, along with all the necessary documents. 8.You must answer all the questions of the embassy/consulate officers as honestly as possible. 9.You must await the results of your visa application interview to ascertain whether the application got approved.
Simple Steps to Get a US Visa
The process of getting a US Visa is utterly clear and organised. All you need to do is follow the steps and comply with the requirements of the application process.
1.Determine your visa type: The first step in getting a US Visa is determining the type of US Visa you need to apply for. This depends on your purpose of visiting the country, which could be work, business education, tourism, visiting family or friends, etc. Only when you have ascertained the right category of US Visa for yourself can you proceed with the process of the application.
2. Fill the visa application form online: After deciding the US Visa category you must apply for, you need to fill the online application form for said visa type. Before setting out to fill the online application form, you must keep certain documents handy, for instance, your passport, your academic records, your job offer letter (if applicable), etc.
3. Pay the applicable visa fee: After filling your visa application form, you must pay the applicable visa fee online and take a printout of the form along with the confirmation of the fee payment.
4. Schedule a visa appointment: Once the online application is complete and the visa fee has been paid, you must schedule an appointment for your visa interview. This interview is critical to the approval/rejection of your visa application. It is advisable to attend the interview on time and with all the required documents.
5.Get your US Visa (if approved): After your visa interview, you must wait till your visa application is processed and approved or rejected.
How To Schedule An Appointment for US Visa?
If you wish to apply for a US Visa from India, you can schedule a visa appointment with the US Embassy or consulates in India. The US Embassy in India is located in the national capital of New Delhi, and the consulates are in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chennai.
Here is how you can schedule your visa interview appointment in India and move one step closer to getting a US Visa from India:
1.Login to your profile on the online US visa application portal where you had filled your visa form and paid the visa fee. 2.Click on 'Schedule Appointment'. 3.Schedule a visa interview at the relevant Visa Application Centre and another at the US Embassy in India. This appointment is subject to the availability of interview slots and your convenience. 4.Ensure that you have all the documents required to be carried to the visa interview. 5.Reach your visa interview appointment on time and cooperate with the officials handling the process.
After scheduling your visa interview, you can reschedule it if required.
Reasons for The Refusal of US Visa Applications
It is possible that your US Visa application may get rejected. Here are the major reasons for the refusal of US visa applications:
1.Submission of an incomplete visa application form 2.Application to the inappropriate visa category 3.Failure of the applicant to fulfil the eligibility criteria for the selected visa category 4.The absence of any necessary supporting document/s 5.Any criminal record of the applicant or an ongoing criminal trial against them 6.The absence of proof of adequate funds to sustain the applicant's stay in the United States 7.The lack of the requisite number of blank pages in the applicant's passport 8.No clarity on the applicant's intended duration of stay in the United States and their return plans 9.The absence of a valid and legal reason to visit the United States 10.The lack of adequate diplomatic relationship between the applicant's country and the United States
How To Check The Status of Your US Visa Application?
If you are wondering how to check your US visa status online, the process is simple. You can check your US visa status in the following manner:
1.For Immigrant Visas: To check the status of your application for a US Immigrant visa, you must visit the website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and enter the receipt number received on the submission of your visa application form. Thus, you can easily check the latest status of the application.
2.For Non-Immigrant Visas: In order to check your US visa status for a Non-Immigrant visa, you must visit the website of the Consular Electronic Application Centre of the United States Department of State and enter the location of your visa interview as well as your visa case number.
Travel Insurance For US Visa
As important as it is to apply for the right category of US Visa and adhere to the requirements of the visa application and screening process, it is equally important to purchase a suitable travel insurance policy for the USA. During your trip to and from the country and your stay there, you could be faced with a myriad of adverse events, such as flight delays, loss of baggage, loss of passport, accidents, or illnesses.
Therefore, it is pivotal to opt for a suitable medical travel insurance policy and financially secure your trip to the US. At Tata AIG, we have excellent USA Travel Insurance plans, offering extensive coverage at affordable rates. You can get travel insurance for your US Visa at as low as ₹60.32 per day*. This plan includes the following covers.
- Travel assistance
- Hijack cover
- Cover against personal liability
- Cover for accident and sickness
- Assistance for loss or delay pertaining to baggage
- Automatic extension of your travel insurance USA plan for 60 days if you get hospitalised in the United States
Visit our official website now and choose your Tata AIG travel insurance plan for the United States.
US Visa Information
Here are some important links that can help you in your US visa application process.
- Visas - US Embassy and Consulates In India
- United States Department of State - Consular Electronic Application Centre
Popular Travel Destinations in the USA
The United States has no dearth of places and landmarks that are frequented by tourists from across the globe. From the icy peaks of Alaska to the aquamarine waters of Florida and Hawaii, the USA is home to a varied natural landscape that holds something of interest for everyone. Here are some of the best places to visit in the US.
- New York City
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Washington DC
Frequently Asked Question
What Are The Main Types of US Visas I Can Apply for?
You can apply for two main types of US visas, namely an Immigrant Visa and a Non-Immigrant Visa. The latter category of visa has several subcategories of visas depending on the purpose of your visit to the United States.
Can I Apply for a US Visa Online?
Yes, you can apply for a US Visa online on the official website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Centre and the United States Department of State - Consular Electronic Application Centre.
How Can I Pay My US Visa Application Fee?
You can pay your US Visa application fee online whilst submitting your visa application form. This payment can be made using Internet Banking, Debit Cards, or Credit Cards. You can also opt for the offline payment of your Visa Fee and send a Demand Draft drawn in favour of the US Consulate General in Mumbai.
How Can I Schedule A US Visa Interview Appointment Online?
You can schedule a US Visa Interview Appointment online by logging in to your profile on the online US visa application portal and selecting 'Schedule Appointment'.
What Happens If I Miss My Scheduled US Visa Interview Appointment?
If you miss your appointment for your US Visa Interview, you can reschedule the same.
Can I Travel To The USA From India On A Tourist Visa?
Yes, you can apply for a tourist visa to the United States of America and visit the country as a tourist.
What Are The Two Main Types of Student Visas Issued By the US?
The United States of America issues two main categories of Student Visas, namely the M1 visa (for vocational courses) and the F1 visa (for academic courses).
My Passport is Going To Expire In Three Months. Can I Apply for a US Visa?
In order to apply for a US Visa, you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months. Therefore, you must firstly apply for a new passport and then apply for a US Visa.
Is It Important to Have Travel Insurance for the USA?
Yes, it is extremely important to have a suitable travel insurance policy for your trip to the USA. Such a policy can enable you to have financial protection against flight delays and cancellations, loss of baggage, sickness, accidents, etc., during your journey.
What Does Tata AIG's Travel Insurance To The USA Cover?
Tata AIG's Travel Insurance Plan for the USA offers you extensive coverage at as low as ₹60.32 per day*. With this plan, you get a Hijack Cover, Cover Against Accidents, Cover Against Loss of Baggage, and a COVID-19 Cover, to name a few.
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*Subject to change based on the nature, extent and duration of the travel insurance policy.