1. 1 How soon should I apply for my appointment?

Apply early! The wait times for appointments by post are available at the Department of State Travel site.

Although the majority of applications are processed and ready to pick up within a few business days, some applications will require administrative processing. We cannot predict in advance which applications will require administrative processing, nor do we know how long it will take. Please apply at least 6-8 weeks before you plan to travel, and do not book plane tickets or hotels until you have a visa.

 

 

  1. 2 How long does my passport have to be valid in order to apply for a U. S. visa?

You must possess a passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).

 

 

  1. 3 My passport is damaged or expiring soon, but I want to apply for a U.S. visa. What should I do?

Please obtain a new passport before your interview if:

  • Your passport is going to expire in less than 6 months after the time you enter the United States.
  • The film on the biographic data pages of your passport (i.e., page with your photo and back page with your parents' information) is peeling, or
  • Your passport is otherwise torn, damaged, mutilated or has been washed or laundered.

 

 

  1. 4 Do I qualify for the Visa Waiver Program(VWP)?

You qualify for the Visa Waiver Program if you are a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country, possess a machine-readable passport, are traveling for temporary business or a visit of less than 90 days, meet other program requirements, and have obtained an authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

You must be a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program-eligible country in order to use this program. Permanent residents of VWP-eligible countries do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program unless they are also citizens of VWP-eligible countries.

 

  1. 5 What is the fee for ESTA(Electronic System for Travel Authorization) and who has to pay it?

ESTA registration is required for all travelers to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. There is a US$14 fee for ESTA registration. The fee can be paid online using a debit card or any of the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. Third parties (travel agents, family members, etc.) can pay your ESTA fee for you if you do not have the correct type of credit card. If the ESTA registration is denied, the fee is only US$4.

 

  1. 6 If I travel to the United States without ESTA, what happens?

Visa Waiver Program travelers who have not obtained approval through ESTA should expect to be denied boarding on any air carrier bound for the United States. If you are allowed to board, you can expect to encounter significant delays and possible denial of admission at the U.S. port of entry (i.e., arrival airport). ESTA registration usually only takes a few minutes to complete, authorization often arrives in seconds, and it is valid for two years, unless the traveler’s passport expires within that two-year period. In those cases, ESTA validity is limited to the passport’s validity.

 

  1. 7 If I am a third-country national living in the India, can I apply for a nonimmigrant visa in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad or Kolkata?

Applicants are generally advised to apply in their country of nationality or residence. Any person who is legally present in India may apply for a visa in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad or Kolkata. However, applicants should decide where to apply based on more than just convenience or delay in getting an appointment in their home district. One thing to consider, for example, is in which consular district the applicant can demonstrate the strongest ties.

There is no guarantee that a visa will be issued, nor is there a guarantee of processing time. If refused, there is no refund of the application fee.

 

 

  1. 8 Do all nonimmigrant visa applicants have to come to the Embassy for an interview?

Yes, for most applicants. There are only a few exceptions to the interview requirement. The following applicants generally do not have to appear in person:

  • Applicants who are renewing their visa may be eligible for the Interview Waiver Program.
  • Applicants for A1, A2 (official travelers on central government business), C2, C3 (central government officials in transit on central government business) or G1, G2, G3, G4 (central government officials traveling in connection with an international organization, or employees of an international organization)
  • Children under the age of 14 years of age at the date of the initial visa interview in the Embassy or Consulate if either of the parents have a valid nonimmigrant visa.
  • Applicants over 80.

 

  1. 9 I have a nonimmigrant visa that will expire soon and I would like to renew it. Do I need to go through the whole visa application process again?

Yes, unless you are eligible to apply using the Interview Waiver Program.

 

  1. 10 My passport has expired, but the U.S. visa in it is still valid. Do I need to apply for a new visa?

No. If your visa is valid and unmarked or undamaged, you can travel with your two passports together (old and new), if the purpose of your travel matches your current nonimmigrant visa. Also, the name and other personal data must be the same in both passports (unless the name change was due to marriage), and both passports must be from the same country and of the same type (i.e., both tourist passports and both diplomatic passports).

If your name changed due to marriage, you can travel to the United States with both passports as well as your marriage certificate.

 

  1. 11 I have accidentally damaged my U.S. visa. Do I need to reapply?

If your visa has been damaged, you will need to reapply for a new visa. If your visa was issued recently, you may not need to have a new interview.

 

  1. 12 I have dual citizenship. Which passport should I use to travel to the United States?

If one of your nationalities is not U.S., you can apply using whichever nationality you prefer, but you must disclose all nationalities to the Embassy on your application form. U.S. citizens, even dual citizens/nationals, must enter and depart the United States using a U.S. passport.

 

  1. 13 How can I extend my visa?

The validity of a visa cannot be extended regardless of its type. You will need to apply for a new visa.

 

  1. 14 Must I submit my visa application form electronically?

Yes, you must complete the DS-160 and bring a printed copy of the the DS-160 confirmation page with you when you go for your interview at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate and at Visa Application Centre for Biometric.

 

  1. 15 What is "administrative processing?"

Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after your interview with a consular officer. You are advised of this possibility when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview..

 

  1. 16 How do I read and understand my visa?

As soon as you receive your visa, check to make sure all your personal information printed on the visa is correct. If any of the information on your visa does not match the information in your passport or is otherwise incorrect, please contact the issuing authority (i.e. the U.S. Embassy) immediately.

The expiration date of your visa is the last day you may use the visa to enter the United States. It does not indicate how long you may stay in the United States. Your stay is determined by the Department of Homeland Security at your port of entry. As long as you comply with the Department of Homeland Security decision on the conditions of your stay, you should have no problem.

Further information about interpreting your visa can be found at the Department of State's Consular Affairs website.

 

  1. 17 My visa was printed incorrectly. What do I do?

If you think your visa was printed incorrectly, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and explain why you think there is an error.

 

  1. 18 Why does my visa say "FNU"?

If you have only one name or if your name appears in only one line in your passport, then on the visa your full name will only be printed in the surname field and "First Name Unknown", or "FNU," will be printed in the given name field.

 

  1. 19 My visa will expire while I am in the United States. Is there a problem with that?

No. You may stay in the U.S. for the period of time and conditions authorized by the Department of Homeland Security officer when you arrived in the U.S., which will be noted on the I-94, even if your visa expires during your stay.

 

  1. 20 What will happen when I enter the U.S.

A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States, but allows a foreign citizen coming from abroad to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission to enter the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States, and determine how long a traveler may stay. At the port of entry, upon granting entry to the United States, the Customs and Border Protection officer will stamp the travel document of each arriving non-immigrant traveller.The admission stamp will show the date of admission,class of admission, and the date the traveller is admitted until.Travelers will also receive on arrival a flier alerting them to go to www.cbp.gov/I94 for their admission record information.This online record replaces the paper I-94 form. Visa Waiver Program travelers receive Form 1-94W. On this form , the officer records either a date or "D/S" (duration of status). If your I-94 record a specific date, then that is the date by which you must leave the united states. You can review information about admission on the CBP Website.

 

  1. 21 I did not turn in my I-94 when I left the United States. What should I do?

On April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped issuing paper I-94 forms in lieu of a digital record. If you received a paper I-94 form and did not surrender it upon leaving the United States, please follow the directions at https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/752/kw/i94.

If you entered the U.S. after April 30, 2013, you do not need to take any action, as your departure from the U.S. is automatically recorded.

 

FAQ - Visa Refusals

  1. What is Section 214(b)?
  2. How can an applicant prove "strong ties?"
  3. Is a denial under Section 214(b) permanent?
  4. Who can influence the consular officer to reverse a decision?

The United States is an open society. Unlike many other countries, the United States does not impose internal controls on most visitors, such as registration with local authorities. USA immigration law requires consular officers to view every visa applicant as an intending immigrant until the applicant proves otherwise. In order to enjoy the privilege of unencumbered travel in the United States, you have a responsibility to prove you are going to return abroad before a visitor or student visa is issued.

 

  1. 1 What Is Section 214(b)?

Section 214(b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It states:

Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status.

Consular officers have a difficult job. They must decide in a very short time if someone is qualified to receive a temporary visa. Most cases are decided after a brief interview and review of whatever evidence of ties an applicant presents. To qualify for a visitor or student visa, an applicant must meet the requirements of sections 101(a)(15)(B) or (F) of the INA respectively. Failure to do so will result in a refusal of a visa under INA 214(b). The most frequent basis for such a refusal concerns the requirement that the prospective visitor or student possess a residence abroad he/she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants prove the existence of such residence by demonstrating that they have ties abroad that would compel them to leave the United States at the end of the temporary stay. The law places this burden of proof on the applicant.

 

  1. 2 How can an applicant prove "strong ties?"

Strong ties differ from country to country, city to city, and individual to individual. Some examples of ties can be a job, a house, a family, a bank account. "Ties" are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your country of residence: your possessions, employment, social and family relationships.

Imagine your own ties in the country where you live. Would a consular office of another country consider that you have a residence there that you do not intend to abandon? It is likely that the answer would be "yes" if you have a job, a family, if you own or rent a house or apartment, or if you have other commitments that would require you to return to your country at the conclusion of a visit abroad. Each person's situation is different.

U.S. consular officers are aware of this diversity. During the visa interview they look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors. In cases of younger applicants who may not have had an opportunity to form many ties, consular officers may look at the applicants specific intentions, family situations, and long-range plans and prospects within his or her country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.

 

  1. 3 Is a denial under Section 214(b) permanent?

No. The consular officer will reconsider a case if an applicant can show further convincing evidence of ties outside the United States. Unfortunately, some applicants will not qualify for a nonimmigrant visa, regardless of how many times they reapply, until their personal, professional, and financial circumstances change considerably.

An applicant refused under Section 214(b) should review carefully their situation and realistically evaluate their ties. They may write down on paper what qualifying ties they think they have which may not have been evaluated at the time of their interview with the consular officer. Also, if they have been refused, they should review what documents were submitted for the consul to consider. Applicants refused visas under section 214(b) may reapply for a visa. When they do, they will have to show further evidence of their ties or how their circumstances have changed since the time of the original application. It may help to answer the following questions before reapplying: (1) Did I explain my situation accurately? (2) Did the consular officer overlook something? (3) Is there any additional information I can present to establish my residence and strong ties abroad?

Applicants should also bear in mind that they will be charged a nonrefundable application fee each time they reapply for a visa, regardless of whether a visa is issued and each time they reply, will have to complete new DS160 visa form.

 

  1. 4 Who can influence the consular officer to reverse a decision?

Immigration law delegates the responsibility for issuance or refusal of visas to consular officers overseas. They have the final say on all visa cases. By regulation, the U.S. Department of State has authority to review consular decisions, but this authority is limited to the interpretation of law, as contrasted to determinations of facts. The question at issue in such denials, whether an applicant possesses the required residence abroad, is a factual one. Therefore, it falls exclusively within the authority of consular officers at our Foreign Service Embassies/Consulates to resolve. An applicant can influence the Embassy/Consulate to change a prior visa denial only through the presentation of new convincing evidence of strong ties.

 

FAQ - Business/Tourist Visa

  1. How long can I stay in the United States on a tourist or business visa?
  2. My visitor visa (B-1/B-2) expires after my intended date of arrival in the United States. Do I need to get a new visa before departure?
  3. My U.S. visa will expire in the next 6 months. Do I need to apply for a new visa after my current visa expires or can I apply in advance?
  4. I currently hold a valid B-1/B-2 visa, which is in my maiden name, in my old passport. I wish to transfer this visa to my new passport, which is in my married name. What is the procedure?
  5. My current U.S. visa was issued to me when I was working in my previous job. Now I have changed to a new job at a new company and my new employer wants me to attend a conference in the United States, scheduled for next month. Can I use the same visa or do I have to apply for a new visa?
  6. My child is studying in the United States. Can I go live with him/her?
  7. I have a previous B1 visa that is going to expire next month. Can I apply for a B1/B2 visa under Interview Waiver Program?
  1. 1 How long can I stay in the United States on a tourist or business visa?

A U.S. nonimmigrant visa grants you permission to travel to a Port of Entry (airport/seaport) in the United States. When you arrive at your destination Port of Entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who processes your entry will determine the length of time that you may remain in the country. You may travel to the Port of Entry during the validity of your nonimmigrant visa up to and including the last day the visa is valid. The visa duration does not determine the length of time that you may legally remain in the United States; only the Customs and Border Protection officer can decide this upon your arrival in the United States.

 

  1. 2 My visitor visa (B-1/B-2) expires after my intended date of arrival in the United States. Do I need to get a new visa before departure?

You can arrive in the United States right up to the last date of validity indicated on the visa. The Customs and Border Protection officer on arrival determines the duration of your stay in the United States. Your visa can expire while you are still in the United States – just be sure that you do not overstay the period of time the officer grants.

 

  1. 3 My U.S. visa will expire in the next 6 months. Do I need to apply for a new visa after my current visa expires or can I apply in advance?

You do not have to wait until your current visa expires. You can apply for a new visa even if your current visa is valid.

 

  1. 4 I currently hold a valid B-1/B-2 visa, which is in my maiden name, in my old passport. I wish to transfer this visa to my new passport, which is in my married name. What is the procedure?

U.S. visas cannot be transferred from one passport to another. You can travel to the United States with both passports as well as your marriage certificate, or you can apply for a new visa.

 

  1. 5 My current U.S. visa was issued to me when I was working in my previous job. Now I have changed to a new job at a new company and my new employer wants me to attend a conference in the United States, scheduled for next month. Can I use the same visa or do I have to apply for a new visa?

You can travel to the United States on the same visa as long as your visa is valid for business or pleasure.If your Visa is annoted with your previous company name then you cannot travel on the same visa and need to apply fresh.

 

  1. 6 My child is studying in the United States. Can I go live with him/her?

While you can use your own B-1/B-2 visa (or travel under the Visa Waiver Program, if eligible) to visit your child, you may not live with your child unless you have your own immigrant, work, or student visa.

 

 

FAQ - Work Visa

  1. What is a petition?
  2. Can I get a visa to do casual work?
  3. Is there an age limit for applying for a temporary work visa?
  4. Can my U.S.-based relative sponsor me for a work visa?
  5. When can I enter the United States?
  6. Who pays the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee and when do they pay it?
  7. I am applying to renew my L1 Blanket visa. Do I need to pay the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee?
  8. I would like to renew my H1B/L1 visa. Do I qualify for the Interview Waiver Program?
  9. When I was last in the US, I changed my status from one classification [e.g. Student (F1) or Temporary Worker (H1B)] to another. Do I need a new non-immigrant visa?
  10. My H1B Employment Petition (USCIS Form I-797) shows an employment start date. How early can I apply for an H1B visa at the Consulate?
  11. I am applying for an H1B/L1 visa and would like my spouse to travel with me. Can he or she apply for a dependant visa (H4/L2) at the same time as me or should they wait until my visa has been issued?
  12. Can a person on a dependent visa work in the US?
  13. I have a valid H1B visa which contains my previous petitioner’s details. I have changed my employer with valid I-797 and am back in India for a short trip. Can I travel back to US on the same visa or do I need to apply for a new visa?Can a person on a dependent visa work in the US?
  14. I currently have a valid B1/B2 visa. If my H1B visa is stamped, will my B1/B2 visa be cancelled?
  15. The Consular Officer did not return my petition or other documents back at the end of the interview. What should I do?
  16. I have a valid H1B or L1 petition, but the visa in my passport is expired. I am currently in India and need to urgently travel back to US to continue my work. What should I do?
  17. What form is required for an L-1 Blanket visa?
  1. 1 What is a petition?

Before applying for a temporary worker visa at the U.S. Embassy, you must have an approved Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, from USCIS. This petition must be submitted by your prospective employer no earlier than 6 months prior to your proposed employment start date. Your employer should file the petition as soon as possible within the 6-month period to allow adequate time for processing. Once approved, your employer will be sent Form I-797, Notice of Action..

Note: To verify your petition's approval the Embassy or Consulate needs your I-129 petition receipt number, along with a copy of your approved Form I-797. Please take both of these to your interview.

 

  1. 2 Can I get a visa to do casual work?

No. There is no visa that covers casual work. All applicants who plan to work in the United States must have an approved petition prior to their visa appointment.

 

  1. 3 Is there an age limit for applying for a temporary work visa?

No. There is no age limit to apply for a temporary work visa.

 

  1. 4 Can my U.S.-based relative sponsor me for a work visa?

No. Only your employer can sponsor you.

 

  1. 5 When can I enter the United States?

You may not enter the United States until 10 days prior to your employment start date, as noted on your Form I-797 or on your offer of employment letter.

 

  1. 6 Who pays the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee and when do they pay it?

An applicant for an L-1 visa traveling on a blanket petition must pay the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee. On individual L, H-1B and H-2B petitions, the U.S. petitioner pays the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee to USCIS when the petition is filed. These fees are to be paid at the Embassy/Consulates with a demand draft/cashier’s cheque.

 

  1. 7 I am applying to renew my L1 Blanket visa. Do I need to pay the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee?

Yes. You need to pay the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee again.

 

  1. 8 I would like to renew my H1B/L1 visa. Do I qualify for the Interview Waiver Program?

. If you do not qualify for the Interview Waiver Program, you will need to make a regular application.

 

  1. 9 When I was last in the US, I changed my status from one classification [e.g. Student (F1) or Temporary Worker (H1B)] to another. Do I need a new non-immigrant visa?

Yes. If you have changed your status, you must also present evidence that you did so lawfully by providing USCIS Form I-797 (Notice of Action) for Change/Adjustment of Status to the Consular Officer at the time of your visa interview.

 

 

  1. 10 My H1B Employment Petition (USCIS Form I-797) shows an employment start date. How early can I apply for an H1B visa at the Consulate?

You can apply for an H1B visa up to 90 days before the petition start date listed on the form I-797, Notice of Action. However, you cannot enter the US earlier than 10 days prior to the start date listed on the I-797 unless you are already working on an H1B visa for the same petitioner.

 

  1. 11 I am applying for an H1B/L1 visa and would like my spouse to travel with me. Can he or she apply for a dependant visa (H4/L2) at the same time as me or should they wait until my visa has been issued?

The spouse and dependent children go for their visa interview at the same time as the principal applicant.

 

 

  1. 12 Can a person on a dependent visa work in the US?

Whether someone on a dependent visa can work in the U.S. depends on the visa category. For instance, H4 dependents cannot work while many L2 dependents can.

 

 

  1. 13 I have a valid H1B visa which contains my previous petitioner’s details. I have changed my employer with valid I-797 and am back in India for a short trip. Can I travel back to US on the same visa or do I need to apply for a new visa?Can a person on a dependent visa work in the US?

In general, if you have a new petition with a different employer, you need to apply for a new visa. In certain situations (such as corporate restructuring), it may be possible to travel back with your current I-797 and visa.

 

 

  1. 14 I currently have a valid B1/B2 visa. If my H1B visa is stamped, will my B1/B2 visa be cancelled?

Generally, no. It is usually permitted to hold multiple visas as long as they are different visa classifications. However, the final decision rests with the the Consular Officer.

 

  1. 15 The Consular Officer did not return my petition or other documents back at the end of the interview. What should I do?

The Consular Officer generally returns all the documents back to the applicant at the end of the interview. You may remind the Officer about the documents submitted him or her at the end of the interview. If the Officer needs to keep any official documents after they interview, they will be returned with the passport However, be sure to you keep a photocopy of your petition or other important document at home, in case anything is misplaced.

 

  1. 16 I have a valid H1B or L1 petition, but the visa in my passport is expired. I am currently in India and need to urgently travel back to US to continue my work. What should I do?

You will need to apply for a new visa in order to re-enter US.

 

 

  1. 17 What form is required for an L-1 Blanket visa?

The I-129S form is required to apply for an L-1 Blanket visa. USCIS has recently created a new version of form I-129S.

From September 9, 2013, Consular Posts are no longer accepting older versions of the form

 

FAQ - Student Visa

  1. What is an I-20 and how do I get it?
  2. How early should I apply for my student visa?
  3. I received my visa, when should I travel?
  4. Can a person on a visitor visa change his/her status to student while in the United States if he/she gains admission to a school and gets a Form I-20?
  5. What if I receive an I-20 to a different school?
  6. I was working as an H-1B and have now been admitted to a university as an F-1. Do I need to return to my country to apply for a student visa?
  7. Can an F-1 student work in the United States?
  8. What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?
  9. Can my dependents apply for a tourist visa instead of dependent visa if they only want to visit me and stay in U.S. for a short period of time?
  1. 1 What is an I-20 and how do I get it?

The Form I-20 is an official U.S. Government form, issued by a certified school, which a prospective nonimmigrant student must have in order to get an F-1 or M-1 visa. Form I-20 acts as proof-of-acceptance and contains the information necessary to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, apply for a visa or change visa status, and be admitted into the United States. The Form I-20 has the student's SEVIS identification number, which starts with the letter N and is followed by nine digits, on the upper righthand side directly above the barcode.

 

  1. 2 How early should I apply for my student visa?

You are encouraged to apply for your nonimmigrant student visa as soon as you have your I-20. To ensure you get an early and timely date you may apply at anytime. However, a student visa may be issued no more than 120 days prior to the start date mentioned on your I-20.

 

 

  1. 3 I received my visa, when should I travel?

You may only enter the United States within 30 days of the beginning of the course of study stated on your I-20, regardless of when your visa was issued.

 

  1. 4 Can a person on a visitor visa change his/her status to student while in the United States if he/she gains admission to a school and gets a Form I-20?

Yes. In general, you may apply to change your nonimmigrant visa status if you were lawfully admitted to the United States with a nonimmigrant visa, if your nonimmigrant status remains valid, if you have not violated the conditions of your status, and you have not committed any actions that would make you ineligible.

 

  1. 5 What if I receive an I-20 to a different school?

If you received an I-20 after scheduling your appointment, then you can inform the U.S. consular officer of the new I-20 at the time of the interview.

 

 

  1. 6 I was working as an H-1B and have now been admitted to a university as an F-1. Do I need to return to my country to apply for a student visa?

No. Once you are in the United States, you do not need to apply for a new visa because the visa is only for entry into the United States. If you leave the country, however, you'll need to apply for the student visa in order to re-enter the United States.

 

  1. 7 Can an F-1 student work in the United States?

Full-time students on F visas may seek on-campus employment not to exceed 20 hours per week. After the first year in student status, an applicant may apply for employment off campus with authorization from USCIS. Please contact your student advisor for further information.

 

 

  1. 8 What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program requires schools and exchange programs to verify the enrollment status of all new and continuing foreign students and exchange visitors. Student visa applicants are required to pay a SEVIS fee before a visa can be issued. Applicants are then required to provide the SEVIS I-901 fee receipt as proof of payment.

 

  1. 9 Can my dependents apply for a tourist visa instead of dependent visa if they only want to visit me and stay in U.S. for a short period of time?

Yes, they can apply for a Tourist visa.

 

FAQ - Exchange Visitor Visa

  1. I received my visa, when should I travel?
  2. What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?
  3. What is the "two-year rule?"
  4. Can the two-year rule be waived?
  1. 1 I received my visa, when should I travel?

Exchange visitors may only enter the United States within 30 days of the beginning of the program, as stated on your Form DS-2019, regardless of when your visa was issued.

 

  1. 2 What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program requires schools and exchange programs to verify the enrollment status of all new and continuing foreign students and exchange visitors. Exchange visitor visa applicants are required to pay a SEVIS fee before a visa can be issued. Applicants are required to provide the SEVIS I-901 fee receipt as proof of payment.

 

  1. 3 What is the "two-year rule?"

The "two-year rule" is the common term used for a section of U.S. immigration law which requires many exchange visitors to return to their home countries and be physically present there for at least two years after the conclusion of their exchange visit before they can return to the United States under certain types of visas, specifically H-1, L-1, K-1 and immigrant visas. It is important to note that only a preliminary finding of whether the two-year rule applies to you is made on your DS-2019 when your J-1 visa is issued. The final decision will be made only if you later choose to apply for an H-1, L-1, K-1, or immigrant visa.

J-1 visa holders subject to the two-year rule are not permitted to remain in the United States and apply for an adjustment/change of status to a prohibited nonimmigrant status (for example, from a J-1 visa to an H-1 visa) or to apply for legal permanent resident status (Green Card) without first returning home for two years or obtaining an approved waiver. Whether you are subject to the two-year rule is determined by a number of factors, including your source of funding and your country's "Skills List."" It is not determined by the amount of time you spend in the United States.

 

  1. 4 Can the two-year rule be waived?

Possibly. Only the Department of State's Visa Office can grant waivers of the two-year rule. The Visa Office is also the final authority on whether you are subject to the rule, regardless of what is annotated in your passport. If you are subject to the two-year rule, you may be able to obtain a waiver. Even if you are subject to the two-year rule, you may still qualify for a tourist visa or any other nonimmigrant visa except those noted above.

 

FAQ - Transit/Ship Crew Visa

  1. I plan to stop in the United States for a day and take a flight to another country on the next day. Do I need to apply for C-1 visa or a B-1/B-2 visa?
  2. I wish to apply for a two visas (C1D & B1/B2). What should I do?
  3. I have a valid C1D visa. During my stay at port, can I enter US for tourism or to visit friends or family without holding a valid B1/B2 visa?
  1. 1 I plan to stop in the United States for a day and take a flight to another country on the next day. Do I need to apply for C-1 visa or a B-1/B-2 visa?

If you seek layover privileges for purposes other than transiting through the United States, such as to visit friends or for sightseeing, then you must qualify for and obtain the type of visa required for that purpose, such as a B-2 visa.

 

  1. 2 I wish to apply for a two visas (C1D & B1/B2). What should I do?

You should fill out one DS-160 visa application form and pay one visa fee in order to schedule an appointment for your C1D visa. At the time of the interview, you can request that the Officer also consider your application for a B1/B2 visa. If approved, you will not need to pay an additional fee. Please note that this dual visa arrangement only exists for C1D and B1/B2 visas, not for other visa combinations.

 

  1. 3 I have a valid C1D visa. During my stay at port, can I enter US for tourism or to visit friends or family without holding a valid B1/B2 visa?

You may be allowed to enter the US during your stay; however it is at the sole discretion of the Customs and Border Patrol officials at the Port of Entry.

 

FAQ - Religious Worker Visa

  1. I am applying for a religious worker visa, but do not have an approved petition. I have been to the United States previously with an R-1 visa and was not required to have the petition. Can I apply for an R-1 visa without the petition since I had an R-1 visa in the past?
  1. 1 I am applying for a religious worker visa, but do not have an approved petition. I have been to the United States previously with an R-1 visa and was not required to have the petition. Can I apply for an R-1 visa without the petition since I had an R-1 visa in the past?

The requirement for an approved petition went into effect November 28, 2008. All applicants applying for an R-1 nonimmigrant visa are required to have an approved petition from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

 

FAQ - Lost/Stolen - Passports/Visas

  1. What should I do if my visa is lost or stolen?
  1. 1 What should I do if my visa is lost or stolen?

If the loss/theft took place in India, you must report the loss of your passport and visa to the local Indian Police and obtain a police report. If this happened overseas, please obtain a police report from that locale. Then report the loss of the visa to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., including the following information:

  1. Your name, date and place of birth, and nationality.
  2. The city where your visa was issued (Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, or Kolkata).
  3. Your address and phone number.
  4. A photocopy of the lost visa, if available, or the date and place of issuance, if known.
  5. A photocopy of the bio-data page of your lost passport, if available. If not, the nationality and number of your lost passport as well as the issuance and expiration dates, if available.
  6. Circumstances of the loss: When and how your passport was lost or stolen.
  7. Copy of the police report for the stolen passport

 

FAQ - Retrieve My Passport/Visa

  1. When will I receive my passport after visa is processed?
  2. Why only one passport per envelope? Why no family discounts?
  3. How will I get my passport back after the interview?
  4. What do I need to show to pick up the passport at the Document Delivery location?
  5. What happens to my passport if I'm unable to collect it from the Document Delivery location?
  1. 1 When will I receive my passport after visa is processed?

Although visa processing time is typically three working days, processing time for specific cases may vary due to individual circumstances and other special requirements. You may pick up the passport from the location you chose at the time of appointment scheduling.

 

  1. 2 Why only one passport per envelope? Why no family discounts?

There is no additional charge for the courier to return your passport to the applicants. All costs are included in your visa application fee. The courier's security and safety rules require separate tracking of every passport.

 

  1. 3 How will I get my passport back after the interview?

You must pick up your passport from the document delivery location you selected at the time you scheduled your interview. If you want to change this location you may do so until midnight of the day before your appointment. If you are planning urgent travel, the courier location closest to the location of your interview may result in a faster pick-up time. The cost of the passport pick up from the document delivery location you selected is included in the visa application fee.

 

  1. 4 What do I need to show to pick up the passport at the Document Delivery location?

In order to ensure that your passport and visa are not given to an unauthorized person,please carry all listed documents as per link to collect your passport from selected document delivery location.

 

  1. 5 What happens to my passport if I'm unable to collect it from the Document Delivery location ?

Passports not collected within 14 calendar days from 11 service centers or within 7 working days from 22 Blue Dart locations will be RETURNED to the respective U.S. Embassy/Consulate and applicants will need to pick up their passports/documents directly from U.S. Embassy/Consulate. As the Consulates and Embassy have limited hours to return passports, this will be at great delay to you.

 

FAQ - Visa Application Center

  1. Why must applicants go to the Visa Application Center?
  2. May I schedule my Visa Application Center appointment on the same day as my visa interview appointment?
  3. Do I need to pay an additional fee for the Visa Application Center service?
  4. Who must go to the Visa Application Center?
  1. 1 Why must applicants go to the Visa Application Center?

Applicants for U.S. visas are required to appear in person for an appointment at the Visa Application Centre. Biometric information including fingerprints and digital photographs will be collected. Child below 14years of age is not required to attend the interview at Visa Application Center . Accompany/Guardians/Parents can carry the child documents with one hard copy photograph as per US Visa Specification.

 

  1. 2 May I schedule my Visa Application Center appointment on the same day as my visa interview appointment?

You must schedule your Visa Application Centre appointment at least one day before the visa interview appointment date at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. For L1 Blanket visa applicant may schedule Visa Application Centre and Consulate appointment on the same day.

 

  1. 3 Do I need to pay an additional fee for the Visa Application Center service?

 The visa fee includes the Visa Application Centre service.

 

  1. 4 Who must go to the Visa Application Center?

All applicants are required to schedule an appointment at the Visa Application Centre unless they qualify for the Interview Waiver Program.

Note: Children below 14yrs are not required to be present at Visa Application Center on the day of appointment. Parents/Guardians can carry child application with them along with one hardcopy photograph as per US visa specification. For photo specification follow link.

 

FAQ - Group Appointments

  1. My group request is denied can I submit a new request?
  2. How do you pay a bulk payment for a group appointment?
  3. My group appointment request for 50 applicants is approved by the Embassy/Consulate, can I add more applicants on the same request?
  4. Why am I able to see the VAC appointments dates but not the Embassy/Consulate requested date?
  5. I have cancelled my current group appointment date. Can I schedule a new appointment date?
  6. Why do I receive an error when I add new applicant details to the approved group applicant count?

 

  1. 2 My group request is denied can I submit a new request?

There are no restrictions on how many requests you can submit, however it is suggested that new requests are only submitted if there is a change in circumstances.

 

 

  1. 3 How do you pay a bulk payment for a group appointment?

It is possible to make a bulk payment using the National Electronics Fund Transfer (NEFT) platform on the group appointment page. Please choose the appropriate visa type and quantity; your browser will automatically be redirected to the page containing payment instructions. You can also make a payment at a Citibank/Axis bank location.

 

  1. 4 My group appointment request for 50 applicants is approved by the Embassy/Consulate, can I add more applicants on the same request?

You cannot exceed the allocated applicant count that is approved. You need to submit a new group request to the Embassy/Consulate for the additional count.

 

  1. 5 Why am I able to see the VAC appointments dates but not the Embassy/Consulate requested date?

Interview slots may not be available on the requested date. It is recommend you immediately schedule the group appointment once you receive the approval from the Embassy/Consulate else the slots will be utilized and the desired appointment slots will not available.

 

  1. 6 I have cancelled my current group appointment date. Can I schedule a new appointment date?

You need to submit a new group request to schedule an appointment date at the Embassy or Consulate.

 

  1. 7 Why do I receive an error when I add new applicant details to the approved group applicant count?

Please make sure if the below points are checked

  1. Make sure the profile of the same applicant is not entered twice.
  2. Check the total number of applicants added to the approved count.
  3. Check if any applicant receipt is untagged to the profile.

 

 

 

 

FAQ – Immigrant Visa General Questions

  1. What is the difference between an immigrant and nonimmigrant visa?
  2. What may delay a decision on my application?
  3. What else could delay a decision on my application?
  4. Will the same consular officer talk to me if I have to return to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate?
  5. Can I request an earlier interview appointment? Or if I did not come for my scheduled interview, can I request a new interview appointment?
  6. Can the children of an immigrant visa applicant be included in a single petition?
  7. Can my child, who is nearing 21 years old, be issued a visa before he turns 21?
  8. What happens if a petition is filed by a Lawful Permanent Resident (F2A or F2B) and the petitioner becomes a U.S. citizen before the applicant is called for an interview?
  9. I immigrated to the United States as the adopted child of a petitioner. Now that I am a U. S. citizen, can I petition for my natural parent(s)?
  10. We have raised a child who is neither our biological nor legally adopted child. Can he/she be included as a derivative on our immigrant visa application?
  11. I was petitioned by a relative several years ago, but my petitioner has moved back to India. Can I still immigrate to the United States?
  12. Can a child born outside the United States to a Lawful Permanent Resident enter the United States?
  13. If Lawful Permanent Resident parents leave their newborn child abroad with family members, return to the United States and later want the child to join them, what must they do?
  14. I was a Lawful Permanent Resident ("Green Card" holder) who left the United States for several years. Can I still return to the United States using my Green Card?
  15. How can I enter the Diversity Visa or green card lottery?
  16. Can a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident file a petition at any Embassy or Consulate for a relative?
  17. Can I still qualify for a tourist visa if I have a pending immigrant petition?
  18. Where can I find additional information on Immigrant Visas?
  1. 1 What is the difference between an immigrant and nonimmigrant visa?

An immigrant visa is issued to a qualified person who has an approved petition based on a family or work relationship and who wishes to live in the United States permanently. A nonimmigrant visa is issued to a person who is traveling to the United States for a specific purpose (vacation, studies, medical treatment, business, temporary work) and who will depart the U.S. after completion of that purpose.

 

 

  1. 2 What may delay a decision on my application?

A decision on  applicant will be delayed if you fail to follow instructions and come to  interview without required documentation. It could also be delayed if you do not come with recommended secondary documents to help establish your qualifications. When you cannot present required or secondary supporting documents, your application will be refused under Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. You will be provided a pending letter indicating the additional documentation you must present for your application to be completed.

 

 

  1. 3 What else could delay a decision on my application?

The U.S. Embassy or Mumbai Consulate may ask the Indian government agency in charge of civil records or other official agencies to confirm or verify information about an applicant. An applicant with a spouse or a fiancé(e) petition, for example, must provide documentation to show termination of any prior marriages. Consular officers may also conduct investigations to determine whether applicants are legally eligible to receive visas.

These extra steps can delay visa issuance. Applicants are advised not to finalize their travel arrangements until they have received their visas.

 

 

  1. 4 Will the same consular officer talk to me if I have to return to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate?

You might see a different consular officer upon return. All officers have access to the information about your case and will review your application based on the same requirements.

 

 

  1. 5 Can I request an earlier interview appointment? Or if I did not come for my scheduled interview, can I request a new interview appointment?

Requests for earlier appointments are granted only if there are available slots.

 

  1. 6 Can the children of an immigrant visa applicant be included in a single petition?

Children of U.S. citizens are considered Immediate Relatives (IR) and must have individual petitions filed for them. Petitions for immediate relatives may be filed simultaneously at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Children of applicants with family-based petitions (F category) may derive immigration benefits from the same petition provided that they are single and under 21. Such children are called derivatives for purposes of immigration. Only biological or legally-adopted children are entitled to derivative status. A non-orphan adopted child must have been legally adopted before the age of 16 and must have been in the physical and legal custody of the adoptive parent for at least two years. A child born after a petition was filed and approved may be registered or added on to the petition as a derivative. The principal applicant should submit photocopies of the child's birth certificate and child’s passport to the NVC or the U.S. Embassy or Mumbai Consulate and pay the corresponding visa processing fee.

 

 

  1. 7 Can my child, who is nearing 21 years old, be issued a visa before he turns 21?

If visa numbers are available for you (or your visa case becomes current for processing) and your child is aging out (or turning 21), we are prepared to expedite the processing of the application. However, it is still the applicant's responsibility to complete the application requirements in a timely manner. U.S. immigration law requires that visa applications be strictly processed according to priority date because of the limited number of visas available worldwide. This means the U.S. Embassy or Mumbai Consulate will not process visa applications until priority dates are current.

If you plan to immigrate to the United States with your children, or to have your children join you in the United States later, you must prove that your children are:

  • Unmarried
  • Eligible to be listed under your visa classification, and
  • Under the age of 21 at the time they enter the United States

If your child will soon turn 21, your child could become ineligible to immigrate with you. If your child cannot immigrate with you because of his or her age, then a separate petition must be filed for your child and there may be a significant delay before your child becomes eligible for the visa.

If visas are available in your visa category before your child's birthday, the NVC may be able to expedite your case so that you and your child can immigrate together. Unfortunately, if visas are not available before the child's birthday, the NVC cannot expedite the case.

There is also a law called the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), which applies to a narrow range of cases and may allow the principal applicant's son or daughter to remain eligible beyond age 21 under this petition. At the time of the parent's visa interview, the consular officer will determine whether or not CSPA is applicable in your particular situation.

 

 

  1. 8 What happens if a petition is filed by a Lawful Permanent Resident (F2A or F2B) and the petitioner becomes a U.S. citizen before the applicant is called for an interview?

If you filed a petition for your spouse and/or minor children when you were a lawful permanent resident (LPR), and you are now a U.S. citizen, you must upgrade the petition from family second preference (F2) to immediate relative (IR). You can do this by sending proof of your U.S. citizenship to the National Visa Center (NVC). You should send:

  • A copy of the bio data page of your U.S. passport; or
  • A copy of your certificate of naturalization

Important Notice: If you upgrade a family second preference (F2) petition for your spouse and you did not file separate petitions for your minor children when you were an LPR, you must do so now. A child is not included in an immediate relative (IR) petition. (This is different from the family second preference (F2) petition, which includes minor children in their parents’ F2 petitions.)

Children born abroad after you became a U.S. citizen may qualify for U.S. citizenship. They should apply for U.S. passports. A consular officer in the American Citizens Services Unit will determine whether your child is a U.S. citizen and can have a passport. If the consular officer determines your child is not a U.S. citizen, the child must apply for an immigrant visa if he/she wants to live in the United States.

 

 

 

  1. 9 I immigrated to the United States as the adopted child of a petitioner. Now that I am a U. S. citizen, can I petition for my natural parent(s)?

No. Once you receive an immigrant visa as an adopted child, your biological parents can no longer benefit from a petition that you file.

 

 

  1. 10 We have raised a child who is neither our biological nor legally adopted child. Can he/she be included as a derivative on our immigrant visa application?

No. A child may only become your derivative if that child is born to you or meets the definition of an adopted child under the Immigration and Nationality Act. If you attempt to bring in a child who does not meet any of these definitions, you risk being denied an immigrant visa and being barred permanently from entering the United States. See Adopted Children for more information on adopting in India.

 

 

  1. 11 I was petitioned by a relative several years ago, but my petitioner has moved back to India. Can I still immigrate to the United States?

U.S. immigration law requires that petitioners be domiciled or reside in the United States. The purpose of family-sponsored immigrant visas is to reunite family members.

  1. 12 Can a child born outside the United States to a Lawful Permanent Resident enter the United States?

A child born abroad to parents who are U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents may enter the United States without a visa, provided the child is accompanied by a parent, upon that parent's first return to the United States within two years of the child's birth. The parent must provide reliable documentation showing the parent-child relationship.

 

 

  1. 13 If Lawful Permanent Resident parents leave their newborn child abroad with family members, return to the United States and later want the child to join them, what must they do?

The child must have an immigrant visa to enter the United States. The Lawful Permanent Resident parent(s) must file an F2A (minor child) or F2B (unmarried child over 21 years old) preference petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This can involve a wait of several years in India.

 

 

  1. 14 I was a Lawful Permanent Resident ("Green Card" holder) who left the United States for several years. Can I still return to the United States using my Green Card?

As a Lawful Permanent Resident you may not remain outside the United States for more than one (1) year unless you receive a re-entry permit from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before your departure from the United States. Otherwise, you are considered to have forfeited your status and must either be re-petitioned or apply for a Returning Resident Visa. The returning resident visa is granted only when circumstances beyond your control prevented you from returning to your U.S. domicile within the required period of time.

 

 

  1. 15 How can I enter the Diversity Visa or green card lottery?

Indian citizens are not included in the diversity immigrant program. Persons of other nationalities resident in India may be included.

 

  1. 16 Can a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident file a petition at any Embassy or Consulate for a relative?

Authority to accept a petition rests solely with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Petitions must be filed in the petitioner's place of residence. If the petitioner resides in the United States, the petitioner must file at the USCIS office that has jurisdiction over his or her place of residence. If a petitioner resides in India, he or she should contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.

 

 

  1. 17 Can I still qualify for a tourist visa if I have a pending immigrant petition?

Yes. Having an immigrant petition on file is not grounds for an automatic refusal for a nonimmigrant visa. However, the consular officer reviewing your nonimmigrant visa application will require strong evidence that you are not intending to immigrate at this time and that you will return to India after your temporary visit to the United States.

 

 

  1. 18 Where can I find additional information on Immigrant Visas?

http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate.html

 

 

FAQ - Immigrant Visa Fees

  1. Why are fees constantly changing?
  1. 1 Why are fees constantly changing?

Consulate/Embassy periodically updates fees to ensure that the Department of State recovers the true costs of providing consular services, as required by law. The changes to fee schedule reflects more accurately the true expenditure of doing business. This way, services of direct benefit to individuals, organizations, or groups are paid for by the users rather than by taxpayers in general. Fees paid in the local currency at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate are also periodically adjusted for fluctuations in the exchange rate.

 

 

FAQ - K Fiance Visas

  1. How do I schedule a K visa interview?
  2. Where do I submit the documents requested by the consular officer?
  3. I wish to withdraw my K visa petition / application?
  1. 1 How do I schedule a K visa interview?

After the consulate has received the approved visa petition according your status as a fiancé (e), you will receive a letter from the consulate instructing you about the required documents and how to schedule your visa interview.

Step 1:

Obtain your Police Clearance Certificate from the Regional Passport Office.

Step 2:

Complete your medical examination with an approved panel physician from the list available at http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov/medical_examination2.html.

Step 3:

Complete Form DS-160 online at ImmigrantVisas.state.gov and print the confirmation letter. Please do this for the fiancé and any derivative children who will be applying for a visa.

Step 4:

 Create a user account, select your passport/visa pick-up location and pay your nonimmigrant K visa fee.

Step 5:

Only after completing Steps 1-4, log in to here to schedule two appointments: One appointment for biometric fingerprint and photo collection at the Visa Application Center (VAC) and one appointment at the Consulate.

 

 

 

  1. 2 Where do I submit the documents requested by the consular officer?

If your case is pending please follow instructions for document submission:

Submit the requested documents at either one of the five Visa Application Centers (VAC) or 6 VFS (Visa Facilitation Service) offices.

Please print the 221(g) courier submission letter and submit it along with the required documents and the 221(g) letter.

 

 

  1. 3 I wish to withdraw my K visa petition / application?

If you would like to withdraw the K petition you filed on behalf of a beneficiary send a signed, notarized, and dated letter of your intent to withdraw by post to our mailing address below

Mailing address is:
Immigrant Visa Unit
American Consulate General
C-48, G- Block
Bandra Kurla Complex
Bandra (East), Mumbai 400051

 

 

 

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