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Visitors Visa

The Visitor or Tourist Visa is a nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business- (B-1) and for /pleasure/ tourism/medical treatment- (B-2). If the purpose of your planned travel is recreational in nature, including tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, and activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature, then a visitor visa (B-2) would be the appropriate type of visa for your travel. If the purpose for your planned travel is to consult with business associates, travel for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or conference on specific dates, settle an estate, or negotiate a contract, then a business (B-1) visitor visa would be the appropriate type of visa for your travel. These visas are generally issued for a period of  3 months to 10years. While the visitor is in USA, an additional extension of 6 months can be obtained based on the approval by the INS.

Note: The new visitor VISA regulations restricts the change of status from B2 to other status.

  • Changes introduced shortly after September 11, 2001 involve extensive and ongoing review of visa issuing practices as they relate to our national security. Visa applications are now subject to a greater degree of scrutiny than in the past. So it is important to apply for your visa well in advance of your travel departure date.  
  • Foreign travelers who are citizens from certain eligible countries, may also be able to visit the U.S. without a visa on the Visa Waiver Program. Review the information below about Visa Waiver.
  • Persons planning to travel to the U.S. for a different purpose such as students, temporary workers, crewmen, journalists, etc., must apply for a different visa in the appropriate category.
Where Do I Apply for a Visitor Visa?

Applicants for visitor visas should generally apply at the American Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.
Based on the new process, applicable from Oct 3rd 2005, following is a list of documents, applicants needs to carry at the time of visa interview.

Documents needed for interview:

  • Completed Non-immigration Visa application form DS-156. Separate form for each applicant.
    Note: Visa applicant in India need not to fill this form separately; if they have taken appointment through VFS, after Oct 3rd 2005. Since this information will be taken online by VFS while setting an appointment.
  • Completed form DS-157.
    Applicants (between age 15-and 55yrs) in India taking appointment through VFS need to fill and provide DS157.
  • Copy of interview appointment letter which you get at the time of setting appointment with VFS.
  • Application visa fee - original receipt.
  • Each applicant (including children of any age) must have an individual passport valid for travel to the US with a validity date of at least six months beyond the intended period of stay.
  • Two photographs 2 X 2 in. (50 mm square) for each applicant, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background. Make sure Photographs are according to specification. See the Guidelines for Photos required for the US visa.
  • Demand draft or cash for visa issuance fee.
  • If the applicant is below 14 yrs of age, Original Birth Certificate of this applicant (child) is required.
  • For parents visiting a child resident in the US:  
    • If child is an Indian citizen.
      a. Childs's original birth certificate.
      b. Photocopy of all pages of child’s passport.
      c. Where the US visa of child has expired, photocopy of the renewed petition required.
      d. Where child is a legal permanent resident in USA, photocopy of the green card (front and back) is required.
    • If child is a U.S. citizen.
      a. Photocopy of bio-data page of US passport or photocopy of Naturalization/Citizenship Certificate.

Other supporting documents

Since the basic criteria for Tourist/Visitor (B1/B2) visa is to demonstrate strong ties back in your home country and to convince the consular officer that applicant has some bindings back in India/home country and that he/she will come back after his visit.
The applicant must provide sufficient and convincing proofs and documents which supports his claim to return back and have no intention to stay in USA after the visa expires. To support this, one can provide the following documents, which can be helpful to convince the consular officer that he/she has strong ties to his/her country and is likely to return back.

  • Original property papers like house, shop or business ownership documents etc. which a person owns in India/home country. If no papers available make a Notarized Affidavit for the same.
  • Family bindings like unmarried children, old aged parents and other family responsibilities.
  • Original Bank statements/Passbook.
  • Fixed Deposit/ Share/mutual funds statement.
  • Tax returns statements if any.
  • If person is an employee, then show proof of employment and proof of leave grant from the office.
  • And any such document like an Affidavit of Assurance, that the
    visitor's intention is truly for visit and will be coming back, and have no intention to stay in US for a longer time.
  • Applicants who are not being sponsored by any one and want to visit USA on their own must present credible evidence to show that they have sufficient funds. Must carry necessary financial evidence like bank statement etc which shows their financial position and can convince the consular officer.
  • If its a business trip (B1 visa), a letter from employer requesting the Visa for the applicant addressed to consulate, indicating the purpose and length of the trip as well as the company's/ firm's intent to bear the costs of the entire trip, including lodging , food, medical and other expenses. Also provide the company's market and financial position with financial records, sources of funds, Tax papers and any News paper/press coverage or Advertisement brochures about the company.

    (Note: Carry all Originals for interview. Except the visa fee most of the other documents will be given back after the interview.)
  • Applicants should use the same passport to purchase their receipt ( Or pay fee) as they will use at the time of interview.
    If your passport expires within the next 6 - 12 months It is advised to obtain a new passport prior to purchasing a receipt for a visa interview.

    Documents Required for Visitors Visa:

    To invite your parents, friends, or any other relative to USA, you (the sponsor) need to provide them with a few documents, which are required in order to get the visitor visa approval by the USA consulate.

    Sponsor in USA needs to send:

    1. Completed and notarized Affidavit of Support form I-134.
    2. A letter from Bank/banks (on their business letter head), stating your account summary.
    3. Verification Letter which is usually on the bank's office stationary and should have the Date of Account Opened and Current Balance)
    4. Copy of your Bank Statement, showing a good balance in order to justify your financial position.
    5. Certificate Letter from your employer (on company's business letter head), stating that you are a permanent employee of the company, and also stating your salary.
    6. 1 or 2 recent pay stub copies.
    7. Copy of a few recent income tax returns or last few W2 forms.
    8. If you are a Visa holder Copies of your - Visa (H1/L1), H1 Approval Form (I-797), and I-94. (If visa has expired but has a renewed petition, a photocopy of the renewed petition.)
      If Green Card Holder: Copy of Green Card front and back.
      If USA citizen: Copy of certificate of citizenship.
    9. A neat photocopy of your complete Passport, including even the blank pages.
      Note: If you are sponsoring your in-laws, photocopies of all pages including blank pages of your spouse's passport and your marriage certificate is also required.
    10. If sponsoring your parents, original birth certificate of the sponsor child (son or daughter) is required.
      Note: If you are inviting your in-laws, then spouse's birth certificate is required not yours.
    11. An Application Letter from you to the US consulate in India (address it to the particular consulate e.g. Delhi), requesting for issuing a visitor visa to the concerned person, stating that you will be taking care of every requirement for these people, including tickets, boarding and other expenses in USA.
    12. A formal Invitation Letter addressed to the person's) you are inviting to US. Also stating that you will be taking care of all their needs while in US, including tickets, boarding and other expenses in here.

    If you are calling your parents for arrival of baby then you should also include following documents along with the above

    a) Document of Pregnancy;
    b) Your financial capacity;
    c) Your parents ties with India - financial and personal;
    d) And everything else (within reason) that the consulate requests.