A USA Visitor Visa is a tourist visa for the United States of America. It is also known as a B2 Visa. It is a non-immigrant visa issued to people entering the US temporarily for pleasure, tourism, or medical treatment. Any foreign citizen who wants to visit the USA for tourism, visit family and friends, attend special events like family functions and weddings, or for medical treatment may qualify for and apply for the a visitor visa.
NoteCitizens of certain countries may not require a visa if the trip is less than 90 days. This is known as US Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
Quick Facts About USA Visitor Visa
- Visitor visa or tourist visa is also known as a B1-B2 or B2 visa.
- Visitor visa is subject to approval. You have to apply for and get the visitor visa stamped in your passport.
- Tourist visa is granted for specific purposes only, like tourism, medical treatment, etc. Persons entering the United States on a visitor visa should not be involved in study, business, or work. If the purpose of your trip is business, you must apply for a US Business Visa (B1 Visa) instead.
- The maximum length of stay in the US on a visitor visa is subject to approval at a US port of entry upon arrival. An extension of a maximum 6 months may be possible, which is again subject to approval. To request an extension, you will need to submit a visitor visa extension application to USCIS and pay a fee.
How to Get a Visitor Visa for the USA
Getting a visitor visa for the USA is subject to approval. Each applicant must have a valid passport, submit the application form, pay the required fees, and appear in person for a visitor visa interview at their nearest applicable US consulate in their country.
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Get a Digital Photograph of Each Applicant
A digital photograph is required when applying for a US visitor visa. The photograph must meet certain criteria. A good photographer or studio can take your picture for this exact purpose according to necessary criteria if you mention you need a photograph for a US visa application.
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 a visitor visa.
Please NoteSome embassies or consulates no longer require you to upload a digital photograph while filling out the DS-160 form. In such cases, the photograph will taken at the OFC (offsite facilitation center) or ASC (Application Service Center) along with the fingerprint at Visa Application Center.
Complete Visitor Visa Application Form DS160
A visitor visa application (Form DS160) must be completed online. You can complete the application here.
After successfully completing the application, you will receive a confirmation with a 10-digit barcode. Print your confirmation page and keep record of your confirmation number. This will be needed when setting up your visa interview appointment.
See complete details on how to fill US Visitor Visa Application Form DS160.
Pay the Visitor Visa Application Fee
The application fee can be paid either electronically as a bank transfer or using cash at a designated CitiBank or Axis bank branch throughout the India. In order to ensure the proper amount is paid and activated in a timely manner, first create a profile on the 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 make an appointment within a year for your visa interview.
Read the complete details about the visitor visa application fee here.
Make Appointment for Visa Interview
After you pay the fees, you will have to schedule two separate 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 the second appointment is with the Consulate or Embassy near you for a personal visa interview.
Make your online visa appointment at the official website for appointments, www.ustraveldocs.com/in.
Visit this link for complete details of taking a visitor visa interview appointment.
Visitor Visa Fingerprinting at Visa Application Center (VAC)
After making an appointment at the Consulate or Embassy near you for a personal interview, schedule your fingerprinting appointment at least a day or two before the interview at the consulate. Previously, fingerprints were taken during the personal interview. However, under new rules, you are required to provide your 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 your visa interview appointment at the Consulate or Embassy prior to the VAC appointment.
See complete details for the visitor visa fingerprinting process here.
Attend Visa Interview at Designated US Consulate
On the day and time of your interview appointment, go to the consulate where your interview is scheduled. Carry all mandatory and supporting documents.
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 here.