US Visa 101: A Guide To Everything You Need To Know For US Visa Application

Planning to head to the States soon? Here’s a thorough guide to help you with all your US visa requirements.

by Tashika Tyagi
US Visa 101: A Guide To Everything You Need To Know For US Visa Application

Be it for studies, work, or simply travel, the United States has been the go-to destination for Indians for decades now. It all makes sense because the country is home to some of the most prestigious colleges, workforces, and holiday spots. However, the challenges to acquiring a US visa are another story. Understanding these difficulties, we have put together the complete process on everything you need to know about the US visa application process.

The Types Of Visas Depends On The Purpose Of Visit

USA visa
Image Courtesy: Unsplash

From lack of knowledge and guidance to long wait times in the application process, there are many challenges you face while applying for a US visa. So, let’s help you through it. For one, you need to understand the kind of visa you need. The purpose of your travel influences the type of visa you require under US immigration law. This follows by ticking out all the requirements in the category for the visa applied for. Broadly, visas to the US can be classified under nonimmigrant and immigrant visa types.

As the name suggests, if you’re shifting bases to the States, you will be applying for an immigrant one. Otherwise, for all your business, work, study, exchange-programme, or travel-related visits, a nonimmigrant visa suffices. We’ll focus on the nonimmigrant type here. In a bid to obtain US visas, all Indian citizens need to schedule an appointment with the United States Embassy or Consulate in India.

US embassy Delhi
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia

One needs to fill out the DS-160 application form and pay the required fees to book an appointment. Here are the most applied for nonimmigrant visas in India –

  • For business and tourism – B1, B2 visas
  • For students – F, J, and M visas
  • For work – H and L visas (H1b, L-1)

Also Read: 8 Indian Restaurants To Try In NYC (USA)

How To Apply – Depending On The Kind Of Visa

visa for USA
Image Courtesy: Pixabay


If you’re applying for a US visa, you should have a valid Indian passport, no criminal history or ongoing cases, and sufficient financial resources, amongst other things. After you’re deemed eligible, you can fill out the DS-160 application form with the required documents mentioned with it. You can take up this form both online and offline.

After that, you have to choose the type of visa (depending on the purpose of travel), pay the required fee as per the type, and finally, schedule an interview. An individual has to undergo interviews with the Visa Application Centre and the US Embassy, respectively.

For the interviews, you need to carry along a copy of the letter of appointment confirmation, DS-160 form, current and old passports (if any), and supporting documents mentioned in the form (as per the application).

How Can One Get Faster Appointments?

Indian passport
Image Courtesy: Unsplash

There are some circumstances where few Indian applicants are allowed interview waivers. This means they can get their visas without the tedious interview process. Thus, getting a faster appointment. Another way to hasten the process is by choosing Kolkata for your US visa appointment. This is because the waiting time in New Delhi and Mumbai is 225 and 211 days, respectively. In comparison to Kolkata’s 206-day waiting time.

In case of extreme emergencies, you can apply for an expedited appointment. This applies under conditions of death, urgent business, and medical issues. You will have to schedule a normal appointment before applying for an expedited appointment. Make sure to provide the necessary documents as evidence of the urgency.

How Much Does The US Visa Cost?

visa form filling
Image Courtesy: Unsplash


The fee for a US visa varies according to the type one has chosen. Usually starting from ₹13,000, the fee can be paid easily via NEFT, mobile payment apps, and even cash (for some banks). It is to be noted that the fee is non-refundable and subject to change.

There are a few applicants that are eligible for US visa fee exceptions. These people usually hold diplomatic or official passports. Diplomatic passport holders are exempted regardless of the purpose of travel. Official passport holders are free from any fee while applying for an official visa.

Hope this guide helped you understand the whole process better and made your life a bit easier!

Cover Image Courtesy: Pexels

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