Updated: May 10
It’s easier to get a ticket on IRCTC these days than getting a visa appointment for US visas in India. After trying on multiple telegram groups, logging in at odd hours and praying to every god out there, even if you manage to get a slot for a B1/B2 visa interview or more popularly known as the Tourist Visa for US these days, the biggest hurdle still remains - The Interview.
We're starting a new series of videos, blogs and podcasts where we explain different US visas and their processes in a way that it's easier to understand. We also promise to keep it free from jargons as much as possible.
The series is titled, US Visas Simplified.
In this article, we will share what to expect from a B1/B2 Visa (Tourist Visa) interview, the documents required and the kind of questions they may ask based on the recent experience of my parents.
So, Let’s begin.
Steps after getting your Appointment - Slate
While booking your appointment you would have booked 2 appointments. One is called the VAC which is nothing but just an appointment for your biometrics.
This is where they will take your photo that will go on your visa - so dress smart.
And they will also take your fingerprints.
If you're someone who finds watching a video easier than reading a blog, we've also created a video with the same information. You can check it out here:
So, What documents do you need to take for your biometric appointment?
Your Appointment confirmation
And your DS 160 confirmation page.
That’s it. Nothing else. Not even your phone is allowed inside. You’ll find a lot of people who are willing to give you a locker for Rs.250-500. It’s up to you if you want to pay for it, take a friend or someone from your family with you to wait outside.
Please reach 15 minutes before your appointment time.
The process is fairly simple. When you enter, they will ask you to place your documents in your hand in a particular order. Your passport, your appointment confirmation and your DS 160 confirmation.
At the first point they will check your appointment and confirmation page and let you inside. Post that you just need to follow a queue, go to your assigned booth, get your images clicked and give your fingerprints.
The whole process usually takes 30 minutes maximum.
If you’ve filled your DS-160 more than a year ago, these days they are asking you to fill it again either at the location by paying Rs.3000 or you could step out, fill it again and come back later that day. This happened with my in-laws and they decided to pay up and get it filled there itself.
And now, let’s discuss how to prepare for the actual interview, what documents you may need and what questions to expect.
Preparing for the Visa Interview
And the preparation starts with the documents you need for the interview:
Here’s the list of documents you'll need for the interview:
DS 160 confirmation page
Do not take your DS 160 application. It’s not needed
These are the basics that everyone needs.
Now, based on your situation:
If you’re going by yourself for tourism or for business purposes
If you have a job, a letter from your company stating that you work there on the company letter head and that you’ll be returning by a certain date.
If you have job, your last 3 months salary statements
If your company in the US is calling you then a letter of invitation (it could also be an email) calling you there for a conference, training etc.
Last 3 years if IT returns - if you are self sponsoring
Bank statements of last 3 months
If you are in the US and this is for your parents then,
A letter of invitation. We’ll link a sample letter in the description.
Your I797 / Green card etc.
Your US driving license
Your proof of employment
3 months bank statement
Your last 3 months salary slips
If they are self sponsoring then their last 3 IT returns and 3 months bank statements.
You know the worst part, on most occasions they won’t check any of this.
Now let’s talk about the interview and what to expect
So, what are the visa officers trying to understand from the interview?
That are going there for a short time and you WILL RETURN. Which means you need to show strong roots in India. It can be family, business, job anything.
You have the money to sustain yourself for the period you’ll be in the US. Basically, they want to ensure that you won’t be a liability to them or you won’t start doing a cash job there.
So, here are some of the top questions that are asked in a B1 / B2 US visa interview.
Why do you want to go?
Do you know anyone there?
Where will you stay?
What do you do here?
Who else is there in your family here?
How long do you intend to stay there?
How will you afford this trip? Or who is paying for the trip and can that person afford it?
Most interviews have only these questions. Unless you make them suspicious.
Now, how to answer these questions. Make sure you answer the question directly. Do not give extra information in your answers.
Why do you want to go? - Tourism or vacation
Do you know anyone there? - Yes, my son / daughter stays there
Where will you stay? - With my son / daughter in (name of the city where they are)
What do you do here? - I have a business / Job here. There could be a follow up question about what business or job and where do you work. Be prepared to show documentation for this.
Who else is there in your family here? - Answer accordingly
How long do you intend to stay there? - 1 month or 2 months.
How will you afford this trip? Or who is paying for the trip and can that person afford it? - I have my business which does xxx revenue a year Or I have a job where I earn x or My son / daughter will sponsor
Offer to give your documents
Some follow up questions could be:
What does your son / daughter do there - They have a job in xyz company
What visa are they on? - Answer accordingly and offer to show the i797
Congratulations your visa is approved
See, it was that simple.
Some Other Tips:
On the day of the interview, please reach 30 minutes in advance.
Once they take you in, they will first check your appointment letter and passport to verify your identity. You will be asked, what language would you like the interview to happen in.
You’ll have multiple options to select from based on the consulate you are going.
Below are the languages that are offered at different consulates.
You now have everything you need to clear this interview.
Wishing you all the best.
If you found this article helpful, please share it someone who may need it. What topic should we cover next? Let us know in the comments.
Until then, It’s Ok Yaar
Sample Invitation Letter for Parents
Dear Consular Officer,
I am writing this letter to extend an invitation to my parents (in-laws) ---------------------------------- to visit me in the United States. I work with (name of company) on ----- visa and currently residing at (Your address) where my parents would be staying during their visit in the United States of America.
My father (include details about your father's profession) and my mother is (include details about your mother's profession. You can write they are both retired if that's the case).
The purpose of their trip is to spend quality time with me and my family, as well as to visit famous tourist destinations such Niagara Falls, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park and even experience American culture.
I am confident that they will thoroughly enjoy their visit and return home with many happy memories.
While my parents are financially capable of supporting their entire length of stay, I too undertake to support my parents financially during their stay in the United States and to provide them with a comfortable place to stay.
I have attached proof of my recent bank statements, a copy of my US Visa, my Driving License to this letter to demonstrate my ability to support my parents as well as my immigration status here in the US.
I kindly request that you grant my parents a B1/B2 visa so that they may visit me in the United States. They will comply with all immigration laws and regulations during their stay and return home in a timely manner.
Thank you for your consideration. If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Your Email id