This page contains general FAQs related to USA nonimmigrant visas. More specific FAQs for each type of visa are answered in relevant sections for each visa type.
US Visa Application
Q: How far in advance should I apply for a US visa?
A: Even though most US visa applications are processed in 2-3 business days, in case additional processing is required, it may take up to 12 weeks. Moreover, it is also difficult to get appointments. Therefore, you should plan to apply for your US visa as soon as possible, or around 3 months in advance.
Q: Should I carry original documents or photocopies to the interview?
A: That really depends upon the specific visa type. Look into each visa section to see what documents are required and whether an original or a photocopy is required.
Q: What address do I mention on Form DS-160 if my current home address and the address on my passport are not the same?
A: You must mention your current home address in your home country and not the address noted in your passport. It is fine for your current home address to differ from the address noted in your passport.
Q: I already have a valid visa; do I still need to go to the consulate to give my fingerprints?
A: No, if you already hold a valid visa, you need not come to the consulate for fingerprinting, and you may travel as long as your visa is valid. You will be electronically fingerprinted at a port of entry upon arrival in the US.
Q: I have a valid US visa in my old passport, which has expired. Can I get the visa transferred to my new passport?
A: No. If you are holding a valid US nonimmigrant visa in an expired Indian passport, you may carry both your expired and new Indian passport together and travel between India and the United States until the nonimmigrant visa expires. You do not need to obtain a new nonimmigrant visa.
If you do not wish to carry your old passport along with the current passport, you will have to apply for a visa to be affixed in the new passport through the interview process. All fees need to be paid again, and a new application must be made for getting the new visa issued.
Q: I currently have a valid US visa. However, it is in my maiden name and on my old passport. I have a new passport in my married name. How can I transfer the visa into my new passport in my married name?
A: It can’t be done. When you can travel to the US, make sure to carry both the passports and your original marriage certificate.
Alternatively, you can apply for a new visa all over again in a new passport. You will have to go through the entire process again, including the personal interview and all fees.
Q: I had a valid US visa in my passport. However, my passport was lost (or stolen). What should I do?
A: You need to follow the steps below:
- File a complaint with the nearest police station that has jurisdiction for the place where the passport was lost or stolen, and obtain a Police First Incident Report (FIR).
- Immediately contact the US Embassy or Consulate that issued your visa. Please provide your passport number, name, and contact details.
- To prevent visa fraud, send an email to the US Embassy or Consulate, and provide your passport number, name, and contact details.
In India, send an email to:
Chennai: [email protected]
Kolkata: [email protected]
All of India: [email protected]
If you are using this email, please also include which consulate issued your visa.
- Apply for a new passport. If you are in the US, apply with the embassy or consulate of your country. If you are in your home country, apply with the local passport authority there. That is the same office where you originally got your passport from.
- Apply for a new visa all over again. At the interview appointment, bring along the FIR and photocopies of your lost passport and visa, if possible.
Tip: Make photocopies of your passport and valid US visa, and keep them in a safe place, separate from your original passport. They are valuable documents.
Q: A valid US visa has been damaged in my passport. What should I do?
A: Bring your visa to the Visa Section of the US Embassy or Consulate. A consular officer will assess the damage and decide the appropriate action required, if any.
Q: I received a US visa, and I received my passport back. However, I found that there is an error in the visa (name is misspelled, date of birth is wrong, etc.) How do I fix it?
A: The US Consulate strictly follows the information given in the passport for visa issuance purposes.
If you think any of the information on your US visa is printed incorrectly, you need to submit your passport to the consular section of the US Embassy or Consulate where your interview took place to get it corrected. It is at the discretion of the US Embassy/Consulate to correct it. If approved, the correction will be made, and a new visa will be stamped. If it is the fault of the US Consulate, there is no charge for fixing typographical mistakes. However, if your name in the passport does not match with the one in the application, or if you would like a different name than in the passport, you may want to get your name changed in the passport first.
Alternatively, you can use the services of CGI. Submit the following documents to the nearest service center or the US. Embassy/Consulate:
- Original passport
- A cover letter explaining the correction requested
- Service charge, as applicable
Your passport will then be returned back to you by courier.
US Visa Refusal
Q: My visa application was rejected. Can I use the same DS-160 form, or do I have to fill it out again?
A: You will have to fill out a new DS-160 form.
Renewal or Restamping of US Visa
Q: What should the applicant do to renew a visa?
A: There is no provision in US law under which a US visa can be renewed. The applicant should apply for a new visa.
Q: My previous US visa was canceled. Can I re-apply?
A: You can re-apply through the interview process.
Q: I overstayed in the US during my last visit, and I am reapplying. What documents should I present to interview for a new visa?
A: It is illegal to overstay in the US unless you have obtained lawful permission from the USCIS. This is reflected on Form I-797 (Notice of Action), determining that you were granted permission to remain legally in the US for an extended period on your nonimmigrant visa. You must present a Form I-797, Extension of Status Approval Notice, during your subsequent visa interview.
Q: What should the applicant do if the visa is valid but the passport has expired?
A: If the visa is still valid in the old passport, then there is no need for the applicant to apply for a fresh visa. Carry both the passports (the old as well as the new passport), and the applicant can travel to the US using this valid visa.
Green Card Surrender
Q: I am a Green Card holder, and I would like to surrender my Green Card as I would like to abandon my permanent residency in the US. How should I proceed?
A: You need to go to the US Embassy or the Consulate with your Green Card, passport, re-entry permit (if applicable), and a complete Form I-407, Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status. A consular officer will interview you and accept your application.
Q: Can I apply for a nonimmigrant visa and abandon my green card at the same time?
A: Yes, you can. Just come to the interview appointment as normal, and bring with you your Green Card, passport, re-entry permit (if applicable), and a complete Form I-407, Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status. Tell the consular officer that you would like to abandon your green card before the nonimmigrant visa interview begins.
Q: How do I report visa fraud?
A: If you have any information about individuals obtaining visas by fraud, send an email to a US Embassy or Consulate. Be as specific as possible, and if you can, please include the person’s name, date of birth, passport number, and any other information you may have. All information will be kept confidential. Provide your name and contact details in all communications.
In India, send an email to:
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