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US Tourist Visa

US Tourist visa is a legal permit that allows a foreign national to travel to the United States of America for tourism purposes. This is a type of non-immigrant US visa that grants a temporary stay in America to the holder of this visa. Foreigners travelling to visit their families and friends living in the United States also need a valid tourist visa to travel to the country. This visa falls under the B2 category of the US visa.

A tourist visa for the USA or the B2 category visa is granted to people who wish to travel to the United States of America for the following reasons:

  • Vacations
  • Tourism
  • Visiting friends, families or relatives
  • Receiving medical treatment
  • Participating in sports/ musical or any similar events/ contests as amateurs, for which they are not getting paid
  • Studying a short recreational course, that is not counted as credit for any degree
  • Participating in social events organized by service/ social/ fraternal organizations

Tourist visa for the USA is granted by the Consular Department of the US Embassy and Consulates. Mostly, a US Tourist visa for Indians is granted for a period of six months. However, the actual visa validity may depend on the immigration officer who grants entry to the foreign traveller on arrival at the American airport. Besides, the visa may be granted for single or for multiple entries.

Moreover, people with a US tourist visa for Indians are not required to study or work in the United States of America. If someone wants to study or work in the US, he/ she will have to obtain a student visa USA or a work visa USA respectively.

All citizens of India who wish to travel to the United States for tourism or visiting friends & families require a valid US Tourist visa for Indians to get an entry into the country. Moreover, such travellers are also recommended to carry travel insurance for USA to stay protected from any unpredictable emergencies faced during their trip to the US.

How to Apply for US Tourist Visa for Indians?

The US Government offers a very simple method to apply for a US Tourist visa for Indians. In fact, people who want to visit the USA can easily apply for the visa online. Take a look at the steps given below to apply for a tourist visa for the USA online:

Apply for US Tourist Visa for Indians Online:

  • Visit the official website of the CEAC or the US Department’s Consular Electronic Application Centre
  • Go to the ‘Non-immigrant’ visa category
  • Click on the ‘DS-160, Online Non-immigrant visa application’ option
  • Select the country and the city from where you’ll be applying and enter the code given
  • Go to ‘Start an Application’ option
  • Note your application id and create a security question for logging in to your visa application later
  • Fill up the visa application form carefully and submit it
  • Upload your picture as per the guidelines (for applicants below 14 years of age)
  • Pay the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) application fees for your visa application
  • Take a print out of the confirmation page of DS-160 form submission
  • Create a profile at the website of ‘US Visa Information Service of India’
  • Book appointments with the Visa Application Centre (VAC) for the US as well as the nearest US Embassy/ Consulate. You will need your passport, MRV application fee payment receipt and the confirmation page of your DS-160 form submission to schedule the appointments
  • Select a pickup location to receive your passport back after the visa has been granted
  • Visit the VAC and allow the officials to register your biometric details that consists of your fingerprints and photograph
  • Go to the US Embassy or Consulate for your visa interview and carry all the required documents
  • US Tourist visa will be granted to those applicants who clear the interview successfully
  • Collect your visa stamped passport from the designated pickup location

Please note that applicants of age 13 years or less and 80 years or more are mostly not required to appear for a visa interview to obtain their US Tourist visa for Indians. Besides, the applicants can also schedule an appointment at the VAC by calling at their call centres. The applicant should ensure that the appointment for the VAC is scheduled at least a day before the visa appointment at the US Embassy/ Consulate.

Moreover, the applicants can save their visa application and can retrieve it in the next 30 days to complete their visa application form.

Documents Required for US Tourist Visa for Indians

All applicants of US Tourist visa for Indians need to submit a few supporting documents at the time of submitting their visa application. Following is the list of the documents that you need to submit while applying for the visa:

For Appointment at Visa Application Centre:

  • Valid passport with at least six months of validity after his scheduled date of departure from the United States post his stay
  • Printout of DS-160 form confirmation page
  • Printout of the appointment confirmation page
  • One recent photograph which is not more than six months old (for children under 14 years of age)

For Appointment at US Embassy/ Consulate:

  • Printout of the appointment confirmation letter
  • Printout of the DS-160 confirmation page stamped at the Visa Application Centre
  • Current and old passports
  • Flight tickets and travel itinerary
  • Printout of the MRV application fee payment receipt
  • Letter of Employment (in case working for an organization)
  • Financial Statements
  • ITR payments
  • Any support affidavit required by the Embassy/ Consulate

US Tourist Visa Fee

All applicants of US tourist visa for Indians are required to pay an MRV or the Machine Readable Visa Application fee in order to complete their visa application process. A US visa appointment cannot be made without paying the MRV application fee.

Currently, all applicants have to pay an MRV application fee of USD 160 if they want to visit the USA on a tourist visa. This visa fee is non-refundable and cannot be transferred to another applicant.

The visa fee for US Tourist visa for Indians can be paid both online and offline. Applicants who want to pay their MRV application fee online can do so via NEFT (National Electronic Fund Transfer) and IMPS (Immediate Payment Service). On the other hand, offline payments can be made through cash in the local currency of the applicant. Cash payments can be made over the counter at an AXIS Bank or Citibank branch.

After the MRV application fee has been paid, a payment receipt will be generated. This payment receipt will be valid for a period of one year. The applicant has the freedom to schedule a visa appointment at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) within this duration. After one year time period is over, the receipt will get expired and the applicant will have to again pay the MRV application fee to be able to schedule an appointment with the VAC and the US Embassy/ Consulate.

However, under certain circumstances, the applicant may not be required to pay the MRV application fee. Following are the list of situations where the applicant will be exempted from paying the MRV application fee for applying for a US tourist visa for Indians:

  1. In case the applicant wants to engage in some charitable services in the United States
  2. If the visa needs to be replaced within a year of its issuance since the visa needs to be issued again for no fault of the applicant or was not properly affixed the first time
  • In case the applicant is a family member of a US Government employee, such as the parent, sibling or the child, who was killed or critically injured while performing his duty and the applicant is travelling to attend his funeral or for visiting during urgent treatment respectively

How to Track the Status of US Tourist Visa for Indians?

The Us Consular Department may take seven to ten working days to process the visa applications.  During this time, it is advisable for all applicants to track the status of their visa applications to get to know about any delay or problem. The Consular Electronic Application Centre (CEAC) of the United States provides the applicants with the option of monitoring the progress of their visa applications online.

In order to check the application status of a US Tourist visa for Indians, follow the steps given below:

  • Visit the official website of US CEAC
  • Go to ‘Check My Visa Application Status’ option under non -immigrant visa category
  • Select the country from where you are applying under the location
  • Enter your application id or case number
  • Fill in the code shown on the screen and click on submit
  • You will be able to view the status of your tourist visa application

Please note that the applicants of US Tourist visa for Indians should also keep a track of the status of their passport after they have been granted with the visa. Make sure to collect the passport within 14 days otherwise it will be sent back to the US Embassy/ Consulate.