A US visa interview is a must for Indian citizens to get their visa approved. You will have to schedule and go for a visa interview for a nonimmigrant visa, such as a US tourist visa.
The first thing you should know about US visa interviews is that the US government interviews every applicant as a potential immigrant during the nonimmigrant visa application process. The applicant must convince the consular officer otherwise and prove that they will return to their home country. In addition, you must conduct the consular officer that you do not wish to stay longer than the validity of their visitor visa.
Let us talk in-depth about the US visa appointment, how to get one, and all the nitty-gritty:
Do Indians Need A US Tourist Visa?
For most international travel from India, Indian citizens need to get a visa which stands true for the US as well. Any Indian citizens wishing to enter the US will need to apply for the US Tourist Visa For Indians.
There are several other types of US visas available in India, depending on the purpose of travel. Indian citizens can apply for a B1 or B2 category visa for tourism and business, a student visa, a work visa, etc. Additionally, when applying for the visa you must have the required documents and meet the eligibility criteria.
Let us look at some of the aspects of the US tourist visa for Indians:
What Are The Required Documents For US Visa For Indians?
The list of required documents is extensive and you might require additional documents for the US visa appointment and visa application. Some of the required documents for a US tourist visa for Indians are:
- The confirmation page with the barcode for the US visa application form DS-160
- A valid passport for at least 6 months after you have left the US and carry your old passport
- Digital copies of your passport-size photographs that meet the photo requirements
- One 2 x 2-inch photograph (taken within the last six months)
- Printout of PAN card or Aadhar card if applicable
- Proof of sufficient funds such as bank statements with at least USD 266 for each day of your planned stay
- Proof of confirmation of your interview appointment
- Proof of visa application fees
Remember that you will need additional documents depending on the type of US visa you are applying for.
What Are The Steps To Getting A US Visa For Indians?
We will primarily focus on the steps to getting a US nonimmigrant visa for Indians for the purpose of this blog. The first thing for Indian citizens is to complete the US visa application online. You might need your supporting documents to fill out the form on the website. For example, you need a digital photograph to upload online and US visa application fees for Indians.
You must take the following steps to get your US visitor visa for Indians:
- First and foremost, you must gather all your required documents such as your valid passport, passport photograph, visa application fee, and other supporting documents such as your travel itinerary.
- You must complete the DS-160 form or the nonimmigrant visa application online.
- You must choose the correct visa category for your US visa application.
After completing your US visa application form, you must pay the relevant US visa application fees online.
- The next step would be to schedule your US visa appointment date and choose the US embassy/consulate general near you for your interview.
- You might also need to schedule a biometrics appointment.
- Once you have scheduled your appointment date, you must attend the in-person interview.
- After you have passed your interview, you must collect your passport with the visa.
Additionally, suppose you are applying for a nonimmigrant visa. In that case, you will be required to schedule a biometric appointment and a medical examination.
For more information on US visa applications, you can read our detailed blog on the US Tourist Visa For Indians.
What Is The Purpose Of The US Visa Appointment?
Knowing more about the US visa appointment in India will help you answer your questions for the interview better. The main goal of the interview is for the US embassy to understand the purpose of your visit and that you will return back to India after your visit to the USA.
You must establish strong ties with India in the sense that you have reasons to return to India and will not seek permanent residency while in the USA. Hence you should provide specific documents such as proof of employment, study, rental agreement, etc to prove that you will not settle in the USA.
If the interviewer suspects that you will make the US your permanent residence and will not return your visa application will be denied. This means you will have to apply for a new US visa.
Can Indians Get US Visa Without An Interview?
Indians that wish to apply for an immigrant visa must go for an interview. Indian citizens must make two separate US visa appointments in India; the first is the US biometrics appointment and the second is the US visa interview appointment.
However, there are certain cases when you can get a US visa without attending an in-person interview at the US Consulate in India. You can waive your US visa appointment by calling the US Embassy Visa Application Center (VAC), the National Visa Center (NVC), or choosing an option on the online portal. Moreover, Indian citizens renewing their US visa within 48 months of expiration are eligible for a US visa interview waiver.
Who Can Get A US Visa Interview Waiver?
The US Visa Interview Waiver usually does not apply to all US visa applicants in India. Moreover, applicants must first meet the eligibility to have their visa interview waived in addition to applying for a specific visa. Other factors that play a role are the age and even the country you are applying from. Let us have a look at the conditions for a US visa interview waiver:
- You are a citizen or national of a Visa Waiver Program country applying for a visitor visa
- You must be applying for an A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa
- You are a child under 14 years or a senior citizen over 79 years
- You are applying for a visa renewal with the same classification for a Border Crossing Card, B-1/B-2, C-1/D, F, J, M, or O visa
- Citizens of most countries cannot be exempted from a US visa interview for a nonimmigrant visa.
- A citizen or national of a Visa Waiver Program country cannot get a US visa interview waiver for all visa types. They cannot get an interview waived when applying for a student/exchange visa or other nonimmigrant visas.
- Applicants for E-3, T, U, H-1, or blanket L-1 visas can not get a US visa appointment waiver and must make a visa interview appointment
To get your visa interview appointment waived, you will have to contact the NVC or the US Embassy VAC.
How Do I Schedule US Visa Appointment In India?
To schedule US visa appointment, Indian citizens must fill out the [Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application or DS-160)(https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/). Next, you must complete your online form and complete the necessary steps, including uploading the required information about your travel and paying the visa application fees.
After you have completed, reviewed, and submitted your application, you can pay your US tourist visa application fee online CGI Federal portal by creating an account. Then you must visit the CGI Federal portal once again to schedule your visa interview. Here you can choose the nearest state or city where you would like to go for an interview.
At the end of scheduling your US visa appointment - India, you will have the option to email yourself the US visa appointment confirmation or you can even print it out, You MUST save this document in a safe place as you will need the proof when going for your US visa appointment - India.
In the case that you can have the biometrics done on the US visa appointment date, then you do not need to make two different appointments. However, generally, the US biometrics is done before the actual US visa interview appointment. You can make both appointments online by visiting theOfficial US Department of State CGI Federal Visa Appointment Service.
The US visa application process can be lengthier for immigrant visas and requires different steps. The scheduling of the interview visa will depend on the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will organize the scheduling of your fingerprint and biometrics for a US visa appointment - India. However, it is crucial that you check this requirement in the country you are applying from, as it differs in some countries.
What Is OFC Appointment US Visa?
The full form of the OFC appointment is Offsite Facilitation Center and you must make your appointment at an OFC to provide your biometric information such as your photo and fingerprints. Your OFC appointment must be made before your actual US visa interview appointment. This also ensures that the visa appointment time is shortened and the process is simplified.
Do You Apply For A Visa At The OFC
You do not apply for a visa at the OFC. You can only apply for an OFC appointment for your biometric and photo interview. You would have to apply for the visa through the Visa Application Centers or the US embassy/consulate.
What Are The Required Documents For OFC Appointment?
For your OFC appointment, you would need to carry the Passport, DS-160, and US Visa Appointment confirmation letter.
What Is An OFC Appointment Fee In India?
There are no visa fees involved in the OFC appointment as you would have to make the appointment as a part of the US visa interview. Addiotnnaly, the US visa fees will include all the necessary costs for all appointments and visa processing.
What Happens At The OFC Appointment?
At your OFC appointment, you must arrive at the center early as you will be allowed to enter the center 30 minutes before your OFC appointment. Once you are allowed inside you will be handed a token to stand in a line and then inside the office, they will verify your documents and stamp your DS-16 confirmation form.
Then you will be ushered to one of the empty counters once it is your turn. Here you will provide your documents and your biometrics will be taken. And that is all, once you are done with your OFC appointment you will next go for your US visa appointment - India.
Where Are The OFC Locations In India?
The OFC appointment centers are available in cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Kolkata. You will be able to choose the location when making your OFC appointment online.
Does The US Visa Interview Take Place At The OFC Appointment?
The US visa interview does not take place at the OFC appointments. You will make two different appointments for the biometric interview and the actual visa interview. At the OFC appointment only your biometrics i.e., fingerprints and your photo will be taken. This photograph will be visible on your approved US visa.
How To Schedule US Visa Biometrics Appointment In India?
In India, US visa applicants require to schedule US visa appointment - in India for their biometrics. Therefore, if the visa category you applied for requires biometrics and you failed to book an appointment, your visa can be rejected.
A biometric is an individual’s physical characteristics captured to verify the person’s identity and check against other entries in the database. It is necessary in many cases because it assists the US government in enforcing legitimate travel by international visitors while maintaining the integrity and security at the borders. A biometric may include fingerprints, an iris scan, and a digital photograph of the applicant.
In India, applicants need to schedule US visa appointment - India for biometrics with the receipt number after making the online visa payment. For most nonimmigrant visas in India, the applicant’s biometrics might be taken before the US visa appointment date. Additionally, applicants that are younger than the age of 14 and over 79 years do not need to provide their fingerprints. As mentioned earlier, not all visa types need a biometric appointment.
After you have made the payment, you will be contacted regarding whether you qualify for a biometric appointment. If you are not contacted or do not qualify for a biometric appointment, you must schedule US visa appointment - India. After you have completed all the fields and created a password on the online portal, you will be able to see on the dashboard if you have qualified for the biometric. Once the “Schedule a Biometrics Appointment” tab is visible, you must click on it and make your appointment.
You must bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one photograph taken within the last six months, and your current passport for your biometric appointment. In addition, if you are renewing your visa, you must bring your previous passport that contains your US Visa. In case you do not carry these items, you might not get the visa approved or accepted for biometrics.
Note that visa categories A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, C-3, and NATO applicants are exempted from the fingerprint scan requirement.
Do Indians Need A Medical Exam For A US Visa Appointment?
Applicants do not need a medical exam for some nonimmigrant visas, visitor visas, or short-term stays. For example, citizens of countries with Visa Waiver Programs with the US do not require a medical examination. However, suppose you are applying for an immigrant visa or a long-term visa. In that case, you will be required to get a medical examination from an authorized physician in the county you are applying from.
You must always check the requirements for your visa application. If a medical examination is required for the visa category you are applying for. Remember to do the medical examination at least 7 days before your interview date and by a physician accredited by the US Embassy. In your country, you can look for an authorized physician on the US Embassy website.
What Documents Are Needed For US Medical Examination In India?
For your medical examination, you will have to carry a few documents to your appointment. These documents could be current or past medical records, illnesses, or vaccinations. Here is a list of documents that would be helpful to bring with you for your medical examination:
- A valid passport
- Your US visa appointment letter from the National Visa Center (NVC)
- If you have changed your legal name, a document demonstrating the name change
- 2 to 4 color passport photographs (depends on the country)
- If you wear glasses, you must bring the prescription
- Vaccination cards or immunization certificates
- If possible, women can bring proof of pelvic exam and pap- smear in the last 12 months
- Medical prescription of medicines you are taking with the name, dosage, and frequency
- Medical records of any current or past illnesses
What Medical Tests Are Needed For US Visa Appointment In India?
Several tests will be required for the medical examination. You must go through all of these medical exams, and the physician will hand the report to you in a sealed envelope. The medical tests that you will undergo are:
- A physical examination for all applicants includes an analysis of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, extremities, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, and skin.
- A medical examination includes a medical history review, physical examination, chest X-ray, and blood tests for syphilis.
- For applicants aged 2-14 years, the interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) test
- A chest x-ray for all adult applicants aged 15 and above. Additionally, if a child was exposed to TB cases or had a history of TB disease
- For applicants 18 to 44 years, a syphilis test is required.
- For applicants 18 to 44 years, a gonorrhea test is required.
What Must I Do With The US Medical Examination?
After your medical examination has concluded, you must make an appointment with the physician to collect your medical records. You must collect your medical report on the appointed date. The medical report will be in a sealed envelope, which you MUST NOT open. Remember to check whether you need to collect the results as physicians in some countries send the medical report straight to the US Embassy or Consulate.
You must bring the sealed medical report to your US visa appointment and hand it to the US consular officer conducting your interview. You do not need to bring your chest X-rays for the interview; however, you must carry them on your flight to the US. This is because the US Homeland Security and the US Customs and Border Protection officers might ask you for them at the port of entry.
The medical examination is valid for 6 months from the date conducted. However, if you have specific medical conditions, your medical examination report can expire in as little as 3 months. Additionally, you must also carry the medical report when you first travel to the US.
What Supporting Documents Are Needed For A US Visa Appointment For Indians?
After making the US visa appointment and completing your biometric and medical examination, you need to prepare for your actual visa interview. It is vital that you are well prepared and have all the required documents for the visa interview.
Remember that the documents mentioned below are the basic documents. Depending on the type of visa you applied for, the supporting documents might change. Different supporting documents might be required for each visa case, and you must check for them with the US embassy in your country. It would be beneficial for the visa interview to take all the documents you think will help your visa application process. The documents that you must carry with you on your US visa appointment date are:
- A valid passport (same as used for the application).
- The visa application fee payment receipt number.
- The DS-160 confirmation page.
- Confirmation page from the Form DS-260 Application for an Immigrant Visa email address.
- Your original birth certificate and a photocopy.
- Other supporting documents, based on the visa category you applied for.
- US letter of invitation if applicable.
- Proof of the event you're visiting, such as tickets paid in full
- If you wish to visit graduation, a letter from the school or university
- If you have visited the US before, you can provide documentation on your prior travel or the visa copies
- You can provide proof that you have a strong connection to your home country and intention of returning, such as a job contract, lease, or property deed
- A letter that states your purpose of visit can be helpful
- Proof that you have never been convicted of any crime in the form of a criminal record
- Proof of employment such as your pay slips
- Proof of education for students such as report cards or proof of registration
- Your email address.
You might need to provide additional documents depending on the type of US visa you are applying for.
What Is The US Visa Appointment Wait Time In India?
The US Embassies or Consulates get hundreds of thousands of visa applications each year from India. However, the US Embassy or Consulate provide the estimated wait times on their official websites. The estimated times do not guarantee the availability of an appointment in the time frame.
Additionally, the visa processing in India also depends on the number of applications received and the staffing available to handle the applications. However, it is advised that Indians book an appointment for their US visa appointment as soon as possible. Early booking will ensure that you get the date and time for the US visa appointment you want at a VAC in India.
Another thing to note is that the visa processing time in India could be three days on the website. However, it depends on the types of visa, the specific visa case, and the circumstances surrounding the visa application. For nonimmigrant visa applicants in India, it is advised that they make a booking three months in advance of their intended travel date.
You also remember that the processing time for the visa application does not include receiving the passports and the documents or returning them via courier services. Generally, applicants are advised to wait at least 180 days from the interview date or submission of supplemental documents except in case of an emergency.
What Can I Expect At A US Visa Interview?
The wait time is over; after your visa application is processed and approved for the next step, you will be asked to schedule US visa interview appointment. You will be required to be present for the interview and pass it to get your visa approved.
Understandably, many things would be running through your mind before the interview. However, the following questions will help you understand the interview process better and ease your mind.
When Should I Reach The Visa Application Center For My Interview?
For the interview, it is advised that you reach the premises 15 minutes before your interview and not longer than that. You do not have to come to the VAC an hour early. You should stay hydrated and eat a meal before your interview. It is also normal to be nervous for your interview, and the interviewer would know about the nervousness.
What Should I Wear For The US Visa Appointment?
You do not have to be overly formal for the US visa appointment. You can wear something comfortable and semi-formal that would make an excellent first impression. However, wearing a formal dress, shirt, tie, and jacket is always appropriate.
What Happens At The US Visa Interview?
Upon entering the premise, you will be first subjected to a full-body scan and then guided to have your fingerprints scanned. Next, you will be directed to the interview room by the consular officer. Here you can expect to be asked a few questions about the purpose of the visit. Remember that all consular officers expect you to be a potential immigrant. Therefore, it would be best to answer the question to convince the consular officer that you have strong ties to your home country and will be returning.
What Happens After The US Visa Interview?
After completing the interview with the consular officer, you will learn about the outcome. If you have passed the US visa appointment, you will be granted a visa to the US. However, in case the visa is denied, you will not receive a visa and could be subjected to further administrative processing.
Once your visa is approved, you will receive your visa in your passport or a sealed packet containing documents. You must present the visa or the sealed package to the US Customs and Border Protection at a port of entry.
Can I Reschedule My US Visa Interview?
In India, it can be quite difficult to reschedule US visa appointments because of the wait times and availability. However, rescheduling the US visa appointment is not unheard of. Indian citizens must reschedule their US visa appointment date at least three working days prior to their appointment date.
You can reschedule a nonimmigrant visa appointment by calling the VAC or changing the date and time online. To reschedule, you must provide a valid reason for the US Embassy to take it into account.
You can reschedule an immigrant US visa appointment by providing the NVC with your case number or application number. You will also need to explain why you wish to reschedule and provide them with an alternate time and date for the interview. You must remember that rescheduling will move your appointment further. Meaning the visa process will take much longer to get approved.
However, Indian citizens can only reschedule US visa appointments twice in India, excluding the original interview appointment to accommodate other applicants’ requests. After the initial appointment, the applicant can change the interview dates twice. Additionally, the applicant can only reschedule a new date after waiting 90 days following the second rescheduling attempt.
If you have any other questions or want to read more articles on the US, check out our US country page on Atlys. OR you can read our blog on US tourist Visa for Indians on how you can get your visa in India.
Hopefully, this blog prepared you for your US visa appointment and gave you a snippet of what to expect. You are now ready for your US visa appointment. Good luck!