How to apply for a US visa 2011

This article gives a detailed step by step procedure for a US visa application and final stamping from the US embassy. It also includes the types of US visas, US visa documents required and precautions to take while applying for a US visa.

Unites States of America is a favourite destination for Indian students to study abroad. Every year thousands of students apply for a US visa in pursuit of higher education from USA. Also due to large number of Indians staying in the US, US visitor visa applications in the form of their relatives and family members is also on the rise. You can find all the details of US visa application in this article.

Types of US visas

There are several types of US visas. Here is a list of the US visas along with who are eligible
1. Business Visa (B1): Temporary business purpose
2. Visitor or Tourism Visa (B2): Tourists or visitors to family member residing in US
3. Work Visa (H1B): Issued by your company if you are being sent to US for temporary work
4. Company Visa (L1): Issued by your company if you are being transferred to US branch of the company
5. Student Visa (F1): For studying in USA
6. Spouse/Children Visa (F2A): For spouse and children of a US permanent resident
7. Sports/Artist Visa (P1, P2, P3): For artists, athletes for performing or competitions in US.

General procedure for getting a US visa

Except for the H1B and L1 visas, the procedure for US Visa application is more or less similar for all other visas. Only a few minor changes specific to the visa types are present. The general procedure for getting a US visa is as below

1. Get a digital photograph: A high quality JPEG digital photograph of maximum dimensions 1200x1200 pixels is required for US visa application. It must be a coloured photograph and size of the photograph must not exceed 250kb.

2. Complete the online US visa application form: The online application form must be completed along with attaching your digital photograph. Be very careful while entering the details in your application. The name in the application must match exactly with the name in on your passport. Any mismatch in name, address or any other details, will lead to the visa denial and you will have to apply again and US visa application fees are non-refundable.

3. Get confirmation page with barcode: After successfully completing the online application, you will get a confirmation page having a 10-digit barcode on it. You will have to take a print out of this page. This page is required at the time of the US visa interview.

4. Pay US visa application fee: You can pay the US visa application fee only at an HDFC bank branch. The US visa fees can be paid in cash or in the form of a DD. Depending on the type of visa applied, the US visa fees vary. These fees are non-refundable.

5. Get US visa fee receipt with barcode: After paying the US visa application fee, you will receive a visa fee receipt with a 10-digit barcode. This receipt has to be carried along with you for your US visa interview process. So, keep it safe till the interview is over.

6. Take US visa interview appointment: There are two ways to get an appointment for US visa interview in India. One is through the official VFS website. Other way is to walk into a VFS service centre and get an appointment. You will receive a date and time of your interview.

7. US Visa interview: You will have an interview with a US embassy representative. You have to carry all your documents along with your passport to the US visa interview. You will be asked questions about your application and details.

8. US visa approval: If your application and interview are satisfactory, immediately after the interview, you are given the approval. Within 4 days, the US visa stamped passport is delivered to your mailing address provided in your application. Be careful while entering the mailing address in your US visa application.

Documents required for getting a US visa

The following basic documents are required if you are applying for a US visa. Additional documents required for each different types of US visa are also mentioned below

Mandatory documents for all US visa applicants
1. Passport
2. Digital and printed photograph
3. HDFC US visa fee receipt
4. US visa interview appointment letter (VFS)
5. US visa application form
6. US visa application confirmation print out.

Additional documents for student visa (F1)
1. I-20 document from the US University
2. Proof of financial resources (bank statement)
3. Affidavit of support from sponsor (if funded by some relative)
4. Original college transcripts
5. Original degree certificate
6. Test scores (GRE, GMAT or TOEFL)

Additional documents for visitor visa (B2)
1. Sponsor documents if the visit is funded by the US relative
2. Proof of funds document, if not a sponsored visit
3. Letter of invitation from US relative
4. Travel plan with dates (if tourist)

Precautions to be taken during the US visa application

1. Make sure the names on the US visa application form and your passport are identical. If the names do not match, the visa will be denied irrespective of all the other valid documents.
2. Make sure the mailing address is entered correctly in the US visa application form. The passport after the US visa stamping is sent by courier to you mailing address provided in the application form. US embassy does not take any responsibility of the failure of delivery to the address. So, we must be very careful while entering the address in the US visa application form.
3. Complete all your documents and do not miss out any relevant document. Improper documentation leads to immediate denial of the visa. So, be careful while completing all your US visa documentation.
4. During the US visa interview process, answer only in English. The answers should be given with confidence and intent to come back after the duration of the visa must be clearly evident from your answers.
5. Any hint of possible immigration in the US will lead to the US visa denial. Maximum number of visa denials is because of potential immigrant status of the applicant. Thus, answer carefully during your US visa interview.
6. The digital photograph and the printed photograph must be recent and clear. The failure of identifying the person in real life from the printed photograph also reduces the chances of US visa stamping considerably.

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