Tourist Visa FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions for USA Visitors Visa

Visa Application
Q: I am 60+ and intend to visit the U.S. for the first time, do I have to schedule an appointment ?
A: You have to schedule yourself for an Interview as the Drop-Box facility has been discontinued.

Q: What exactly is meant by "proof of return"? Is ownership of a flat or other property evidence enough to show ties and reasons for returning to the home country?
A: An applicant must convince consular officer that he/she has "a permanent residence abroad which he/she has no intention of abandoning." Each case is different, and what might serve as compelling evidence in one case may not work in another. Examples of circumstances which applicants have presented as proof of return include: a good job, significant property or financial holdings, family, school enrollment, a good social standing. Unfortunately, some people who have had these things and have been issued visas have remained in the U.S. The best one can do is to be prepared to present his/her circumstances to the interviewing officer and to explain what will compel him/her to return.

One note of caution: Applicants often bring lots of document to interviews. That is fine, but one should not be surprised or angry if the officers are unable to review documents which are brought in. Because officers are often pressed for time, they may not be able to look at many or even any documents. Also, officers are aware that documents may be counterfeited or altered, so they may be wary of accepting them. Therefore, one should also be prepared to explain (quickly) one's situation orally or to answer any questions by the interviewing officer.

Q: Is there a quota for B1/B2 visas?
A: There is no quota for B1/B2 visas.

Q: Is it mandatory to have a specific trip (itinerary) planned to get visitor visa?
A: No, you can apply even if you have no definite plan to immediately go on trip to USA. You may intend to go some later date too. But if you are given 6 months visa, you have to go to U.S. within next 6 months, else it will expire and you will have to apply for new visa. If you get 10 years visa, it is not mandatory to go to U.S. within a specified time period. You can go to the U.S. anytime within next 10 years.

Q: Should I use travel agent or visa consultant to help me apply for visitors visa?
A: That is really a personal decision. It is not required to hire any travel agent or visa consultant for visitor visa process under most circumstances. All the information you require for visitors visa is right here on this web site, immihelp.com They charge a lot of money to just fill the forms which are available for free on this web site and we have step by step guide to help you through the entire procedure. Many consultants make lots of false promises such as getting early appointment dates, they know people in the consulate and we will get favors through them, advice them for wrong or misleading answers for the interview. Whether you use any consultant or not, you are responsible for your own application and answers, and if the consulate officer finds out any incorrect or misleading answer, you will jeopardize the chance of getting visa and it may also have an adverse impact on future attempts.

Q: Despite having sufficient documents, many visas are typically rejected for insufficiency of documents. What can be the reason?
A: They do refuse people for insufficient documentation (Section 221(g)), but such cases are the minority. Persons who are refused 221(g) are in most cases expected to return with the additional documentation/evidence and eventually qualify for a visa.

Interview
Q: I am the only son/daughter of my parents. Shall I ask my parents to tell I have one more brother /sister in India so that it will help my parents to get a visa as they can present it as a tie to India?
A: You should never lie to the visa officer (VO). It will not only lead you / parents in to trouble, they may deny the visa permanently. The VO are very smart and intelligent and they can find out the lies in almost all cases. And finally we never encourage telling lies to VO. Always tell the truth.

Q: I am working in the USA for the last 3 years. Shall I ask my parents not to mention my name when they appear for the visa interview ? Shall I ask them to tell - just tourism - as the purpose of the trip?
A: No, Never. Never lie to the visa offer. They can very easily find your details in the USA which will lead to permanent denial of visa.

Q: I am the only son / daughter of my parents. My mom is a widow. For the first interview she mentioned I am the only son, second time she told the VO she has one more daughter. Now for the third interview shall I ask her to get a death certificate somehow to prove she didn't lie ? Will it work ?
A: We do not support any illegal or fraudulent activities and we don't encourage lies. Please do not ask such questions. Such actions will lead to permanent denial of visa.

Post Visa Issuance
Q: I already have 10 years multiple entry visitors visa. I recently got married and my name has changed. What do I need to get the visa in the new name?
A: You don't really have to get the new visa. You just carry the proof of your name change (such as marriage certificate in your case) while traveling to the USA.

Q: Why do some people get ten-year visas and some people only six months?
A: The Department of State instructs consular officers to issue maximum validity visas to the extent possible. It saves time and effort for both consulate and the applicant. The maximum validity for B1/B2 visas for Indian citizens is 10 years. This is based in principle on reciprocity. (Note: For all other categories, however, the maximum validity is 5 years or less.) The consular officer may limit the visa to a shorter validity, if he feels this is justified. An officer is more likely to do this if the applicant is traveling to the U.S. for the first time, as opposed to having traveled to the U.S. or other countries previously.

A persons who has been issued a 6-month (B1/B2) visa and used them properly will normally be issued a 10-year visa the next time they apply.

Q: My U.S. visa will expire in next 6 months. How much in advance can I apply?
A: You can apply for new visa at any time. You don't have to wait until your current visa to expire.

However, please note that there is a difference between visa stamp duration (used only for travel and you can travel up to the last day of the validity duration) and allowed stay duration in the U.S. (determined by the date on Form I-94, as given by the immigration officer at the port of entry.)

Details about Visa vs. Authorized Duration

Q: I entered US on a visitors visa. Can I get a green card by marrying a US citizen?
A: It is possible but in such a situation, USCIS has high suspicions of a sham marriage(marriage solely to get a GC) , so the applicant must be very careful. You should wait about 60 days to get married after entering on your B1/B2 visa and you should avoid showing that you had preconceived intent to get married before you entered US on a visitor visa.

Travel
Q: My visitor visa (B1/B2) expires after my intended date of arrival in the U.S. Do I need to get a new visa before departure?
A: You can arrive in the U.S. right up to the last date of validity indicated on the visa. The duration of stay in the US is determined by the Immigration Officer on arrival. The maximum duration of stay on a B1/B2 visa is 6 months. Your visa can expire while you are still in the U.S. - just ensure that you do not overstay the period permitted by the Immigration Officer!

Q: I have 10 years multiple entry visitors visa. I have heard that I must travel to the U.S. within 6 months of getting the visa, otherwise my visa will be cancelled. Is it true?
A: That is absolutely false. If you have 10 years visitors visa, you can visit the United States any time within next 10 years.

Q: Can I visit Canada from the USA? After visiting Canada, can I return to the USA?
A: Yes, you can. You will have to take a visa for Canada (or any other country) that you would like to visit. You can get visa for Canada (or any other country) either from your home country or from USA. (Foreign embassies in USA)

If you have multiple entry US visa (designated by "M" in visa stamp), you can return back to USA after visiting Canada. Usually 10 years (or 5 years) visas are multiple entries. Shorter visas such as 1 month or 6 months may be either single entry or multiple entry. Make sure you check for this before leaving USA to Canada.

Q: I am planning to "stopover" in the U.S. en route to my final destination (e.g. Canada, Latin America, Caribbean) should I apply for a Tourist (B1/B2) or Transit (C1) visa?
A: If you intend to visit the United States for any length of time, you should obtain a B1/B2 visa which grants you permission to appear at a Port of Entry for the purpose of entering to visit the United States. If your visit to the U.S. is strictly incidental to your travel to a third country, you may apply for a Transit (C1) visa.

Q: When I was working with a previous organization, I was issued my current U.S. visa. My new employer would like to me go to the U.S. to attend the conference. Can I use the same visa?
A: Yes, as long as your current visa does not have any annotation of your old organization details and your visa is valid for business visit and tourism purpose.

Q: What should be the interval between two visits on B1/B2 visa?
A: There is no interval pre-set by law because not every visitor has the same profile or the purpose of visit.The frequency of visits should match the purpose of visit.For example, Business visitors entering on a B1 may enter 10-12 times a year for short stays of a week or so without any problems. But a parent who has just spent 6 months with her children in US and enters again after a month will have problems.

Generally, people spending 5-6 months for casual stays should wait at least another 5-6 months before re-entering. There can be exceptions in cases of genuine need.

Other
Q: The applicant is going to the U.S. to undertake training for 3 months and during this period the U.S. company will bear all the incidental expenses. Can the applicant apply for tourist or business (B-1/B-2) visa?
A: No, it is not advisable to apply for B-1/B-2 visa. Under this visa category the applicant cannot accept any payment from the U.S. Company. The applicant should apply for the H-3 visa category.

Q: An applicant went to the U.S. on a tourist visa and changed status to H1B. Does the applicant need a new visa?
A: Yes, the applicant in cases like these has to apply for an H1B visa.

Q: I'm a journalist. How do I determine if I need an I visa or can get by with a B1/B2?
A: The visa category is determined by the purpose of travel. Journalists going for pleasure or commercial business can travel on B1/B2 visas. The line between what is permissible with a B1/B2 vs. I can get a little murky sometimes. Obviously, a journalist going to work in a U.S. office of his news organization should get an I visa, as should someone who is being sent to the U.S. to do reporting for his organization. On the other hand, someone going for a relatively short time to gather information for an article could probably just as easily travel with a B1/B2.

Q: I've been invited to give a few lectures at a university in the U.S. Can I go on a B1/B2 visa? If the university is planning to pay a small honorarium, do I need a special visa?
A: B1/B2 is OK, provided you are only getting expenses and/or an honorarium. Things may get murky if the period of time is extended (say, more than a couple of months) or the honorarium gets to be in the range of actual payment. In such a case, it would be safer to ask the university to send an IAP-66 and apply for a J-1 visa.

Q: If my visa is rejected once, can I use the same visa fee payment receipt within 1 year to apply for the visa again?
A: No, the visa application fee is for applying for visa. That fee is not refundable and gets used up even if you don't get visa. If you would like to apply again, you need to pay again.

Q: I am originally from Tibet but currently a resident of India traveling on a yellow Identification Certificate. Do I have to pay visa issuance fee?
A: No.

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