Next »

USA Visitor Visa: Step-by-Step Guide

USA Visitor Visa is a tourist visa to US. It is also known as B2 Visa. Visitor visa is a non-immigrant visa issued to people entering US temporarily for pleasure, tourism, or medical treatment. Any foreign citizen including parents who wants to visit USA for tourism, visiting children, family, friends, relatives, attending special events, family functions, ceremonies, or for medical treatment may qualify and can apply for Visitor Visa.

Note: Citizens of certain countries may not require visa if the trip is less than 90 days. This is known US Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

Quick Facts about USA Visitor Visa

  • Visitor visa or tourist visa is also known as B1-B2 or B2 visa for USA.
  • Visitor visa is subject to approval. You must apply and get the visitor visa stamped in your passport.
  • Tourist visa is granted for a specific purpose only, like tourism, medical treatment, etc. Person entering the United States on visitor visa should not be involved in study, business, or work. If the purpose of your trip is business, you must apply for US Business Visa (B1 Visa).
  • Maximum length of stay in US on visitor visa can be 6 months or less, which is subject to grant at the port of entry at US airport on arrival. An extension to maximum 6 months may be possible which is subject to approval. To request an extension, you will need to submit a visitor visa extension application to USCIS with fee.

How to get Visitor Visa for USA?

Getting a visitor visa to USA is subject to approval. Each applicant must have a valid passport, submit the application form, pay the fee, and appear for the visitor visa interview at the nearest applicable US consulate in their country.

Following is the visitor visa application and stamping process for USA from India.

Photograph requirement for visitor visa Fill US visa application form Visa Interview Appointment Visa Interview Visa Interview
Step 1.
Photograph for Visitor Visa
Step 2.
Visitor Visa Application
Step 3.
Visitor Visa Application Fee
Step 4.
Visitor Visa Interview Appointment
Step 5.
Visitor Visa Fingerprinting
Step 6.
Visitor Visa Interview Process


Step 1. Get a digital photograph of each applicant

A digital photograph is required for while applying for a US visitor visa. The photograph must meet certain criteria. A good photographer or studio can get this picture if you mention photograph needed for US visa purpose.

The digital photograph must meet the following requirements:
  • The digital photograph must be a square.
  • Minimum dimensions must be 600 pixels by 600 pixels.
  • Maximum dimensions must be 1200 pixels by 1200 pixels.
  • Image must be in color (24 bits per pixel).
  • Image must be in the JPEG format (.jpg or .jpeg file extension).
  • File size of the image must be less than or equal to 240 kilobytes.
See the complete photograph requirements for visitor visa.

Step 2. Complete visitor visa application form DS160

Visitor visa application (form DS160) must be completed online, over the internet. You can complete the application here.

After successfully completing the application, you will receive a confirmation with a 10-digit barcode. Take a printout of this page. This will be needed for setting up your visa interview appointment.

See complete details on how to fill US visitor visa application form DS160.

Step 3. Pay the visitor visa application fee

The fee can be paid either electronically as a bank transfer or in cash at designated CitiBank or Axis bank branches throughout the India. In order to ensure the proper amount is paid and activated in a timely manner, first create a profile at US visa Service website and choose the Schedule Appointment option. On the payment confirmation screen you will be presented with payment options and further details of how to initiate payment. The fee is good for a year from the date of payment. You must take an appointment within a year for your visa interview.

Read the complete details about visitor visa application fee.

Step 4. Take appointment for visa interview

After you pay the fees, you will have to schedule 2 appointments as part of the visitor visa process. The two-part appointment process consists of an appointment with one of the five Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) to give Biometrics information that includes fingerprinting and photograph , and second an appointment with the Consulate or Embassy for a personal visa interview.

Take online visa appointment at offical website for US visa appointment.(www.ustraveldocs.com/in).

See complete details of taking a visitor visa interview appointment.

Step 5. Visitor Visa Fingerprinting at Visa Application Center (VAC)

After taking appointment with the consulate or embassy for personal interview, schedule the fingerprinting appointment at least a day or two before the interview at the consulate. Earlier, the fingerprints were taken during the personal interview. But under the new rules you are required to give the Biometrics information at the VAC appointment. This measure has been introduced to reduce congestion at the US consular facilities and to speed up the applicant processing. Schedule the visa interview appointment at the Consulate or Embassy prior to the VAC appointment.

See complete details for Visitor Visa Fingerprinting Process.

Step 6. Go for visa interview at designated US consulate

On the day and time of your appointment for interview, go to the consulate where your interview is scheduled. Carry all mandatory and supporting documents and originals.

Carry the following to your interview:
  • Your passport (and your old passports if any)
  • Your photograph
  • The DS160 Confirmation page stamped at the VAC.
  • Visa application fee receipts (if applying at a US consulate in India)
  • Interview Appointment letter
  • Supporting documents.
See complete details of the visitor visa interview process.
           Next page: Visitor Visa Photo Requirements

Share this article with a friend!