Applying for a US visa at the US embassy can be scary and overwhelming. You may be wondering, what are the requirements for the US visa application and visa appointment? What documents do I need to bring to the visa interview? How long will the processing time take? What is the fee payment, so I know how much will it cost me?

In order to visit or move the United States, a person needs to go through the visa application process. This article provides an overview of the visa application process for individuals in India who want to visit the United States.

Any person who wants to travel temporarily to the United States as a visitor for a particular time period must apply for a nonimmigrant visa. The only exception is for people from countries that fall under the Visa Waiver Program, which does not apply to India. Individuals who want to immigrate to and live in the United States must apply for an immigrant visa, such as through the family petition process.

This article focuses on the process of applying for a US visa appointment from India to get a nonimmigrant visa.

What are the General Requirements to Apply for A Visa From India?

First, a person who wants to apply for a US visa should determine what type of nonimmigrant visa application they may qualify for and want to apply for. Nonimmigrant visas include visas such as B-2 visitor visas for tourism and vacation; B-2 visas for business visitors, athletes, nannies, and medical treatment; F student visas; H-1B specialty worker visas for people with specialized knowledge; and J visas for physicians, exchange visitors, professors and teachers, and au pairs.

Second, it is important for individuals to demonstrate that a person has strong ties to India and intend to leave the United States before their visa expires. This is because with a nonimmigrant visa, US immigration law requires people who are granted a visa to only visit for a temporary period during their stay, not move to the United States. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that a nonimmigrant visa is not the same thing as an immigrant visa.  

One way visa applicants can help show that they intend to return to India after their visit to the United States is evidence of their financial connections to India. For example, documents showing that a person owns property in India, has good employment there, and has savings in a bank account can demonstrate someone's ties to India and their intent to return.

In order to apply for a US visa, a person needs to fill out Form DS-160, submit an application fee, and go to a visa interview.

What is the DS-160 Form?

Next, a person who wants to submit a visa application should fill out Form DS-160application form. Form DS-160 is the U.S. Department of State Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application.

It is critical to make sure that everything submitted on the application form is true and correct. Anything that is incorrect can have immigration consequences. If possible, consult with an immigration attorney before submitting the form. Follow the instructions for completing the form.

A person will need their Indian passport number, information about previous U.S. visas and trips to the United States they have had, itinerary for their trip, and documents that are relevant to the intended travel to the United States.

Once a person has submitted the application form, they will see the DS-160 confirmation page with a barcode. It is recommended to print a copy of the confirmation page to bring to the visa interview.

For more information on Form DS-160, read the U.S. State Department's Frequently Asked Questions.

How do I Schedule a US Visa Appointment in India?

After an individual has completed and submitted Form DS-160 online, they must contact the U.S. consulate or embassy to see if they need to schedule a visa interview appointment. The U.S. embassies and consulates in India can be found here.

A person should not wait for the embassy to schedule an appointment with them. Instead the person needs to call and schedule an appointment.

What are the Appointment Wait Times?

The wait time for the visa interview appointment depends on which U.S. embassy or consulate in India the person schedules an interview at. For visa appointment date wait times, check the U.S. Department of State's website here. The visa processing time period and availability of an appointment date can change each week based on staffing and workload at the embassy or consulate.

What are the Application Fees?

The visa application fee varies depending on the type of visa. For some nonimmigrant visa categories such as B-1, B-2, F and J visas, the visa fee is $160 in U.S. dollars.

For more visa information, check out the Department of State's website.

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