us tourist visa

US Tourist Visa - Definitive Guide

With over a mammoth 80 million visitors in 2018, the US is certainly a marvellous tourist destination. From the tall skyscrapers in New York and Chicago to the natural Niagra Falls and the Grand Canyon, it is extremely diverse on all fronts. Apart from the tourist attractions, it is one of the most medically and technologically advanced countries in the world. To tour the United States of America, as an Indian citizen, you will need a US Tourist Visa, also known as the B2 Visa.

What is the Tourist Visa for USA?

To enter the country for the purpose of tourism, you will need a permit for the same. The B2 Visa - USA allows you to visit the country for recreational purposes such as visiting family/friends, touring, and also for medical treatments. A common question people ask is “what is B2 Visa for USA?”; The tourist and the B2 Visa is one and the same. It is usually issued along with the B1 as a B1/B2 Visa. The permit is an NIV (Non-Immigrant) and is in the form of a stamp in your passport. Unlike other countries, the US Tourist Visa validity is totally dependant on the decision of the issuing authority. Depending on how your interview goes, and how strong your application is, they may issue it for multiple-entry for any duration between 6 months, and up to 10 years. However, you can only stay in the country for a maximum of 6 months during each entry. People from countries belonging to the US tourist Visa Waiver Program (VWP) do not require a permit to enter the country. 

How to apply for US Tourist Visa?

The US Tourist Visa application is a long and tiring process. However, before applying for a permit, you will need to define the purpose of the visit. It is also vital to ensure that you are eligible to apply for the same. Once you have this under your belt, the process of applying for US Tourist Visa follows as below -

  1. Make sure that you have all the documents required for B2 Visa for USA.
  2. To answer the question on where to apply for US Tourist visa; It is done online. Visit the US Department of State Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website, and fill in the DS-160 US Tourist Visa form. You will need the DS-160 form barcode for the rest of the procedure.
  3. After this, you should proceed to pay the application fees. Make a note of the receipt number as you will require this for the next step.
  4. Once this is done, log in to your account again and proceed to book the appointments. You will have to book 2 appointments. The first one is for the biometric submission at one of the five VACs, and the second one is for your interview at the US Embassy or Consulate. The B2 Visa interview questions will be based on your application, purpose, duration, etc.
  5. On the day of your first appointment, visit your VAC along with a passport, appointment confirmation page, and a DS-160 confirmation page. You will be required to submit to a fingerprint scan, and a photo will be taken.
  6. For your visa interview, you will have to visit the embassy or consulate along with a valid passport, appointment confirmation page, and the VAC stamped DS-160 page. 

Your US Tourist Visa duration will vary on the status of your interview at the embassy. You will have to prove to them that you are planning to stay in the country only for a specific period. It is necessary to answer honestly, and correctly to get your visa approved, and have long validity.

Note:- Individuals between the below the age of 14 and older than 80 do not require to attend the interview, and are also exempt from a biometric submission. The visa interview is also waived for people who have had their US Tourist Visa expired in the last 12 months and are visiting the country for the same purpose. However, in certain cases, you may be required to attend biometrics and interview. 

The application for USA Tourist Visa online has to be completed correctly. The documents that are submitted have to be genuine. Any mistakes in the application can cause a delay in your processing. Alternately, fake or invalid documents can get your application rejected. A visa rejection is an important issue and can prevent you from applying for another visa in the future.

Eligibility for US Tourist Visa

To determine if you are one of the people who can apply for US Tourist Visa, there are certain criteria you must meet. To apply for a tourist visa for USA from India, you will need to satisfy the following conditions -  

  • You must hold a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of intended travel.
  • You must be able to prove to the consular officer that your purpose of the visit is purely for tourism or medical treatment and that your stay is only temporary.
  • You should be able to prove that you have sufficient funds to support your stay.
  • You should also be able to show that you have a residence in India, or that you have social or economic ties that will ensure that you come back to India.

Documents required for US Tourist Visa

As per the US Tourist Visa guidelines, the following is the list of documents required for US tourist visa need to be submitted during your application.

  • Original passport
  • 2 identical photos
  • Proof of sufficient funds - Bank Statements for the last 6 months/ Passbook
  • Proof of employment/study/retirement
  • Travel itinerary
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Proof of return
  • If visiting a family/friend, letter of invitation along with their valid green card/visa/residence permit

Photo specification

  • Dimensions:  50mm X 50mm
  • Colour: Coloured
  • Recently taken
  • Background: plain white
  • Must have 70% face coverage
  • Facial expression: neutral
  • Eyes directed towards the camera and wide open 
  • Glasses: allowed for medical reasons only
  • Uniforms are not permitted
  • Headgears: allowed only for religious reasons
  • Facial hair is permitted.

US Tourist Visa processing time

The time taken to complete the tourist visa for USA process depends on several factors such as the workload at the embassy or consulate, express delivery, type and length of visa, and so on. Normally, this takes around 15-30 days and can vary if there are additional administrative processes required. However, the job of scheduling an interview can take much more and have high waiting time. As a result, it is highly suggested to apply well in advance. 

US Tourist Visa fees

The total fees for the process depend on several factors like the service charges, biometric charges, and delivery charges, and so on. The fees may be changed by the US government without any prior notice. Therefore, it is necessary to confirm the fees before you start applying.

Entry Stay Duration Validity Fees
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 10 years 11840.0
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 10 years 11840.0
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 10 years 11840.0
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 10 years 11840.0
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 10 years 11840.0
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 10 years 11840.0

How to Check Visa Status?

Post your submission of the application, it will be processed. This might take longer or shorter than the predicted time. In the meanwhile, you can track your application in several ways. 

To track your application, you can visit the CEAC and check the US Tourist Visa status using your interview location, and DS-160 barcode number. Alternately, you can also mail ‘passportstatus@ustraveldocs.com’ with your passport number.

When You have this visa

Once you have the B2 Visa, there are a few things you should keep in mind before, and during your visit. These are given below as - 

  • Before travelling, ensure that you have all the necessary travel documents, along with your visa stamped in the passport.
  • Check for the type of entry, and the validity.
  • The permit does not guarantee you entry into the country. The US Customs and Border Patrol officials at the port of entry have the authority to permit or deny you entry.
  • While you are in the USA, you cannot participate in any work or employment activities while you are on a tourist permit.
  • You must abide by the US immigration laws.
  • A US B2 Visa in an expired passport is still valid. It is valid till the visa expiry date until which you can enter the country using a new passport and valid visa in the old passport.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Extend My US Tourist Visa?

Yes, you can extend the US tourist permit. To do this, you must make an application to the USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) before your current visa expires. However, the chances of a successful extension depend upon several factors such as the purpose of stay, immigration status, finances, and so on. You will also have to submit most of the documents that you have submitted for the original visa. If your application is rejected, you must leave the country before expiry. 

After Expiring My US Tourist Visa How Long Can I Stay?

You cannot stay back in the country after the allowed period. You must leave the country before the expiry. Staying back in the country once you have expired your visa is considered as an offence and can get you deported. In cases of long periods of stay after the expiry, you may even be banned from applying for a visa again. However, you may stay back in the country in the case where you have applied for an extension and it has been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances that are beyond your control.

What is the Medical Test for US Tourist Visa?

There are no medical tests mandatory for the tourist permit. Being a short term category, there is no need to get a medical test. However, it is always suggested to get a medical check-up done before travelling to a new country to protect yourself and the people living in the US. 

Can I Convert My US Tourist Visa into Work Visa?

You may convert a tourist visa into a work permit. However, for this purpose, your employer will have to find an application at the USCIS. Along with this, there are other complications while trying to convert the status as the H1-B work visa is different from the B1/B2 visa. 

How to get a 10 year US tourist visa?

The US tourist permit can be granted for validity between 6 months and 10 years. However, the decision for this purely depends on the consular officer. The officer examines your case and decides the validity. It can also depend on the border control officers at the port of entry. Keep in mind that even if you get a 10-year visa, you are only allowed to stay for a maximum of 6 months in the US per entry.  

Is it necessary to book a hotel and flight before going for a US tourist visa interview?

It is not mandatory to book a hotel or flights for a US visa application or even the visa interview. However, it is mandatory that you possess sufficient funds for doing the same. During the interview, you will be asked for your proof of return and the source of your funds.

Can I apply for a US tourist visa if I already have a green card application?

Yes, technically you can apply for a tourist visa even if your green card (EB3) application is pending. Even though this is not grounds for automatic visa rejection, it will give you a less chance than usual as the consular officer reviewing your application will need to be convinced that you do not plan to immigrate to the US before obtaining the green card. 

What are the factors that can affect the approval of the US tourist visa?

The basic factors that affect the decision are that you have to meet the eligibility conditions, you must submit genuine documents and correct information, the accuracy of the procedure followed, the answers you provide during the interview, your previous travel history, proof that you will return once your visa has expired, and so on. 

My US tourist visa application got rejected. Can I reapply?

The possibility of re-application depends on the reason behind the refusal. When your visa is rejected, you will receive the reason for refusal as well. If the reasons are insufficient funds, insufficient proof of returning home, or other minor problems, you may be able to apply as long as your conditions have changed and you will be able to prove it to the consular officer. However, if you have been refused due to criminal convictions, fake documents, or other major reasons, your application will again get rejected, and may even be banned from re-applying.

Will I get a US tourist visa if I'm unemployed?

Yes, you may get the visa even if you are unemployed. Being employed is not one of the eligibility criteria. And as a result, unemployment status cannot lead to visa rejection. However, you must be able to prove that you have the funds to support your stay. You will also have to provide the source of these funds.

 

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