US Tourist Visa for Indian Citizens

The United States attracts millions of international travelers annually, including Indian citizens. However, the visa application process for Indians can be challenging and complex. In this blog, I will simplify the process of obtaining a Tourist Visa USA from India.

Do Indians Need A US Tourist Visa?

To travel to the United States for tourism purposes, Indian passport holders must apply for a US tourist visa from India. Like citizens of many other countries, Indian nationals are required to obtain a suitable visa before visiting the US, whether it's for visiting friends or family or for leisure travel.

The process of obtaining a US tourist visa involves several important steps. These steps include ensuring that you have all the necessary documents, scheduling an interview appointment, and attending the interview itself, among others.

However, it's important to note that successfully completing these steps does not guarantee the approval of a US tourist visa for Indian citizens. The decision to grant a visa ultimately lies with the US authorities, who consider various factors before making their determination.

US Visa on Arrival for Indians: Availability

Unfortunately, Indian citizens are not eligible for obtaining a tourist visa upon arrival in the United States.

Eligibility and Requirements for US Tourist Visa for Indians

Welcome to the comprehensive guide on the requirements for obtaining a tourist visa to the United States. In this article, we will provide you with all the essential information you need to successfully navigate the visa application process.

Eligibility Criteria for US Tourist Visa for Indians

To determine the appropriate category of US visitor visa to apply for, it is essential to grasp the distinctions between the available options. When applying for a US tourist visa in India, it is important to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Valid Purpose: You must have a genuine reason or purpose for your visit to the US.
  • Temporary Stay: Your intention should be to stay in the US for a specific and limited period of time, as the tourist visa is designed for temporary visits.
  • Sufficient Funds: You need to demonstrate that you possess adequate financial resources to support yourself during your stay in the US.
  • Required Documentation: It is crucial to possess all the necessary documents for the US tourist visa application as specified by the authorities. Failure to provide the correct documentation may result in visa denial.
  • Authenticity of Documents: It is strictly prohibited to submit fake or forged documents while applying for US tourist visas in India. Authentic and genuine documents must be presented.
  • Permissible Activities: You are only allowed to engage in activities that are permitted under the visa category you are applying for.
  • Strong Ties: It is important to have strong ties to your home country, indicating your intention to return to India after your visit to the US. This can be demonstrated through various factors such as family, employment, property, or other commitments.

By meeting these eligibility criteria, you can enhance your chances of obtaining a US tourist visa for Indian nationals and enjoy a temporary visit to the United States.

Required Documents for US Tourist Visa for Indians

To ensure a smooth process for your US tourist visa application, it is important to compile a comprehensive file containing all the necessary documents required for both the online visa form and the visa interview. The following documents are essential for your US tourist visa application:

  • Confirmation Page: Include the confirmation page with the barcode for your US visa application DS-160 form.
  • Valid Passport: Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date from the US. Remember to carry both your current and old passports.
  • Passport-Size Photographs: Provide digital copies of recent passport-size photographs that meet the specified requirements. Additionally, bring one physical 2 x 2-inch photograph taken within the last six months.
  • Identification Documents: If applicable, include a printout of your PAN card or Aadhar card.
  • Proof of Sufficient Funds: Present bank statements demonstrating your financial capacity, with a minimum balance of at least USD 266 per day for the duration of your planned stay.
  • Interview Appointment Confirmation: Carry proof of your interview appointment to establish your scheduled meeting with the consulate.
  • Visa Application Fees: Provide evidence of payment for the visa application fees.
  • Social Media Information: Include a record of your social media platforms, usernames, phone number, email address, and a five-year social media history.

These documents will help establish your intention to visit the US temporarily and return to your home country. In addition, consider including the following supporting documents for your visa interview:

  • Travel Itinerary: Include proof of accommodation bookings, flight tickets, and any other travel-related arrangements.
  • Medical Purpose Visit: If your visit is for medical reasons, provide proof of your medical condition or a letter of diagnosis from an approved doctor. Include documentation of appointments and treatment arrangements, as well as proof of funds to cover your medical expenses if they are not paid for.
  • Travel Insurance: Carry documentation of your travel insurance coverage.
  • Invitation Letter: If applicable, obtain an invitation letter from the relevant US host or organization.
  • Event Attendance: If your purpose is to attend an event, provide evidence of ticket purchase or registration.
  • Graduation Visit: For graduation ceremonies, obtain a letter from the school or university confirming your participation.
  • Previous US Travel: If you have previously visited the US, include documentation such as previous visa copies or travel records.
  • Ties to Home Country: Provide evidence of strong ties to your home country, such as a job contract, lease agreement, or property deed.
  • Purpose of Visit: Include a letter clearly stating the purpose of your visit to the US.
  • Criminal Record: If applicable, provide a certified criminal record indicating no convictions.
  • Employment Proof: If employed, include recent pay slips or employment verification documents.
  • Education Proof: For students, provide report cards or proof of registration at an educational institution.

By organizing and presenting these documents effectively, you can increase your chances of a successful US tourist visa application.

US Tourist Visa Photo Requirements

Capture the perfect moment with a vibrant color photograph, professionally printed on premium photo paper of the highest quality. The dimensions of the photograph are precisely 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm), ensuring a compact and visually appealing result.

For optimal clarity and focus on your face, the recommended face size within the photograph should measure between 1 to 1 3/8 inches (25 to 35 mm) from the chin to the top of the head. This measurement ensures that your facial features are well-defined and prominently displayed.

To maintain a clean and polished appearance, the background of the photograph should be plain white or off-white. This choice of background color accentuates your facial features and presents a professional and timeless look.

For the best outcome, ensure a neutral facial expression, with both eyes open and looking directly at the camera. This expression creates a natural and engaging portrayal of yourself, allowing your true personality to shine through.

Please note that headgear is not permitted in the photograph, except for religious purposes. This requirement ensures that your face remains fully visible and unobstructed, providing a clear and accurate representation.

Additionally, it is important to avoid wearing glasses or any other items that may obscure your facial features. This guideline guarantees that your eyes and other essential facial characteristics are clearly visible, enabling easy identification.

Lastly, please refrain from wearing dark or tinted glasses, as well as headphones or wireless devices, in the photograph. These items can detract from the clarity and professionalism of the image, so it is best to avoid them.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure that your photograph meets the necessary criteria for various purposes, such as identification documents, professional profiles, or personal keepsakes.

Photo Requirements

How to Apply for a US Visa in India

Acquiring a tourist visa for the United States from India is a comprehensive and time-consuming process that may span several months. To ensure a smooth application procedure, it is essential to adhere to the following sequential steps:

Step 1: Choosing the US Visa Type

To embark on the process of obtaining a tourist visa for the United States, Indian citizens should begin by clearly defining the purpose of their visit. For individuals seeking to engage in temporary tourism or business activities, the appropriate visa category to apply for is the B1/B2 visa.

Nevertheless, it is worth noting that there exist several alternative non-immigrant visa options that may be applicable to your circumstances. Each visa category has specific requirements, so it is crucial to determine your eligibility and identify the most suitable visa type.

Once you have determined the appropriate visa category, the next step entails compiling all the necessary documentation. This ensures that you have all the required paperwork in order to proceed with the visa application.

Step 2: Online Application for US Visa

Begin your online application for a US tourist visa.

Complete the non-immigrant application form (DS-160 form) conveniently through Internet Explorer 11 or a newer version, Firefox, or Google Chrome 58. Please note that Safari and Microsoft Edge are not compatible. The DS-160 form is specifically designed for B2 visa applications.

Remember to save your Application ID, as it will be required at various stages of the visa application procedure.

Application Form

  • Gather your travel documents and organize them in a file specifically dedicated to your visa application and interview process.
  • Complete the DS-160 form with accurate and precise information. Ensure that you provide the following details correctly:
    • Personal information
    • Travel details, including accommodation and contact information for your designated person or organization in the United States.
    • Information about any accompanying companions (if applicable).
    • Previous travel history to the United States (if applicable).
    • Your current address and contact information.
    • Work or educational background details.
    • Family information.
    • Passport details.
    • Security and background information.
  • Carefully review the completed DS-160 form to ensure that all the information is accurate. Consider printing a copy of the form for your personal records.
  • Sign the DS-160 form and submit it electronically.
  • Save and print the Confirmation of Submission, which you will receive after submitting the DS-160 form. This document is essential and should be added to your visa application file.
  • Once you have submitted the online DS-160 form, please note that it cannot be edited or modified. Therefore, it is crucial to review all the information thoroughly before submitting.
  • To assist you further with filling out the DS-160 form online, refer to a comprehensive guide designed specifically for completing the non-immigrant application form (DS-160).

By following these revised instructions, you will have a more organized and accurate visa application file, increasing your chances of a successful application process.

Step 3: Payment of US Tourist Visa Fees

To facilitate the payment process for Indian citizens applying for a US tourist visa, several convenient methods are available:

  • Online Payment via CGI Federal Portal: Pay your US tourist visa application fee securely and conveniently through the CGI Federal portal.
  • Demand Draft: Submit a Demand Draft payable to the US Embassy/Consulate to cover the visa application fee.
  • Credit Card or Debit Card : Make payment using a valid credit card or debit card. This option offers ease and flexibility for completing the visa fee transaction.
  • Cash Payment: Pay the visa fee in either Indian Rupees or US Dollars at authorized banks such as DRUK Bank, AXIS Bank, or Citibank. Ensure to obtain a receipt as proof of payment.
  • National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT): Utilize the NEFT system to transfer the visa fee from your Indian bank account directly to the designated account for US visa payments.
  • Mobile Payments - IMPS: Take advantage of mobile payment services like IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) to conveniently pay the US tourist visa fee.

Remember to retain the proof of payment in your records and bring it along when attending your visa interview. Please note that the US tourist visa fees are non-refundable.

Step 4: Scheduling the US Visa Interview for Indian Citizens

Instructions for scheduling a US tourist visa appointment in India:

  • Create an account on the online visa application service provided by CGI Federal. You can access the portal by visiting their website.
  • Schedule an appointment at the Visa Application Center (VAC) in India.
  • Schedule a separate appointment with the US Embassy or Consulate. Please note that the Embassy/Consulate appointment should be scheduled at least one day after the VAC appointment.
  • During the appointment scheduling process, you will be required to provide the following details:
    • Passport number
    • Visa fee deposit reference number
    • Barcode number on the DS-160 confirmation page
  • Additionally, you will need to provide information on the visa type, personal data, details about any dependents, preferred document delivery location, and make the necessary visa payment. Once you have provided this information, you can proceed to schedule your appointment.
  • The Visa Application Center (VAC) is responsible for collecting biometric data, photos, and fingerprints of US visa applicants. This information will be submitted to the consular section. Your visa interview will take place at the US embassy/consulate.

Please follow these steps carefully to ensure a smooth visa appointment scheduling process.

Step 5: Attending the US Visa Interview

Securing an interview date for a visa in India can be challenging due to the high influx of applications. However, it's important not to lose hope and instead focus on finding the nearest available US visa interview slots.

As mentioned earlier, it is likely that you will have to attend two separate interviews—one at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) and another at the US Consulate. During the VAC interview, you will be required to provide your biometrics, including fingerprints and photographs.

It is crucial to gather all the necessary documents prior to your visa interview with the US government officials. These documents will be essential in supporting your case and responding to any inquiries made by the US official regarding your trip.

The primary objective of the non-immigrant visa interview is to ascertain that you have no intention of permanently residing in the USA. Additionally, it is important to demonstrate strong ties to your home country and reassure the officials that you will return after your trip.

Upon successfully completing your interview, you will be required to submit your passport and supporting documents to obtain your US tourist visa from India.

Step 6: Tracking Your US Visa Application

To track the status of your US visa application, you have multiple options available to you. The most convenient method is to utilize the online portal, where you can easily monitor the progress of your application. Additionally, you can choose to contact the relevant authorities via email or phone for updates. Here are the contact details for your reference:

Email: UStraveldocs

Phone Numbers: +91 120 4844644 or +91 22 62011000

It is important to note that visa processing times can vary significantly, ranging from a few weeks to several months. Therefore, it is recommended that you allow a reasonable amount of time to pass after your interview or submission of supplemental documents before reaching out for an inquiry. By doing so, you can ensure that you have provided sufficient time for the processing of your application.

Step 7: US Visa Approval

After the approval of your US visa, you will receive a notification through the email address or phone number you provided, informing you that your visa is ready for pick-up. It is important to note that you must retrieve your passport within 14 working days upon receiving this notification.

Failure to collect your passport within the specified timeframe will result in the return of your documents to the embassy or consulate. As an alternative, you have the option to avail of a courier service for the delivery of your passport by paying a fee of INR 650.

Overview of US Tourist Visa from India

This comprehensive guide provides essential information about the tourist visa process for Indian nationals traveling to the United States. Whether you're planning a vacation, visiting friends or family, or exploring the vibrant American culture, this article will help you navigate the requirements and procedures for obtaining a US tourist visa.

Validity of US Tourist Visa for Indians

The United States offers tourist visas to applicants with a potential visa validity of up to 10 years. It's important to note that the actual visa validity may vary for each individual applicant. To find out the specific validity of your visa, you can refer to the visa sticker affixed to your passport.

The duration of your visa is determined by the US official processing your application in India. Moreover, upon arrival in the United States, the immigration or border control officer at the port of entry has the authority to decide whether you can stay in the country for the entire duration specified on your visa.

Duration of Stay on US Tourist Visa

The United States offers both single-entry and multiple-entry visas to visitors, granting them the opportunity to remain in the country for a maximum of 180 days.

US Tourist Visa Fees

The application fee for Indian citizens applying for a tourist visa to the United States is currently set at USD 160 or INR 12,800.

Please note that starting from May 30, 2023, the application fee for visitor visas and certain other non-immigrant visa categories will be increased from $160 to $185.

US Visa Processing Time

With an efficient and streamlined process, the embassy usually takes about 3 to 5 days to process US tourist visas for applicants from India. After the processing period, you can expect to receive your visa within approximately 10 days.

Prohibited Activities on US Tourist Visa for Indians

After successfully entering the United States, there are certain activities that are prohibited when holding a tourist visa. It is important to be aware of the following restrictions:

  • Employment: Engaging in any form of work, whether paid or unpaid, is strictly prohibited on a tourist visa. This includes both short-term and long-term employment.
  • Academic pursuits: Enrolling in any educational institution or program, whether it is a full-time degree program or a short-term course, is not allowed while on a tourist visa. Studying in the United States requires an appropriate student visa.
  • Paid performances: Performing in any capacity that involves receiving compensation, such as acting, singing, or playing an instrument, is not permitted on a tourist visa. This restriction applies to both formal venues and informal settings.
  • Media-related work: Working in fields related to press, radio, television, or any other information media is prohibited on a tourist visa. This includes journalistic activities, reporting, and broadcasting.
  • Crew member activities: If you arrive in the United States as a crew member of an aircraft or ship, you are not allowed to engage in any work beyond your assigned duties. Seeking employment or pursuing activities unrelated to your crew responsibilities is not permitted.
  • Permanent residence: A tourist visa does not grant you the right to seek permanent residency in the United States. It is essential to understand that this type of visa is temporary and does not lead to a green card or citizenship.
  • Birth tourism: Visitor visas are not issued for the purpose of birth tourism. The sole intent of a tourist visa should be for temporary leisure, tourism, or business activities.

It is crucial to comply with the regulations and restrictions associated with a tourist visa to ensure a smooth and lawful stay in the United States. If you have specific questions or need further clarification, it is advisable to consult with the appropriate immigration authorities or legal professionals.

Types of US Visitor Visas for Indians

Traveling from India to the United States for tourism, travel, or business purposes requires Indian citizens to obtain a non-immigrant visa or a visitor visa. The type of visa one needs depends on the specific purpose of the visit. Various options are available for both immigrant and non-immigrant visas for Indian citizens.

B1 Visa Category:

If your temporary visit to the USA is for business-related activities, you can apply for a B1 visa. However, it is important to understand the permitted activities associated with this visa category.

Activities allowed with a B1 visa include:

  • Consulting with business partners or associates.
  • Attending business meetings, conventions, events, or conferences.
  • Participating in scientific, educational, or professional conventions or conferences.
  • Resolving an estate.
  • Negotiating a business contract.
  • Accompanying domestic employees can also apply for this visa type.

B2 Visa Category:

Similar to the B1 visa, you can also apply for a B2 visa that aligns with the specific purpose of your travel. The B2 visa, also known as the US visitor visa for Indians, is primarily intended for tourism purposes. Some examples include:

  • Traveling or vacationing in the US for tourism.
  • Visiting friends and relatives in the USA.
  • Seeking medical treatments or procedures in the USA.
  • Participating in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations.
  • Attending or participating in unpaid musicals, sports events, contests, or similar activities.
  • Enrolling in a recreational course of study that does not offer credit or a degree.

In addition, Indian citizens can also visit the US for a combination of B1 and B2 visa purposes, such as combining business meetings with tourism activities.

Other US Non-immigrant Visas:

Apart from the tourist visa (B2 visa) for Indian citizens, there are several other types of non-immigrant visas (NIV) available for travel to the US, including:

  • Work visa types: H, L, O, P, Q.
  • Student visa types: F, M.
  • Exchange visitor visa type J.
  • Transit/ship crew visa types: C, D.
  • Religious worker visa type R.
  • Domestic employee visa type B-1.
  • Journalist and media visa type I.

The processing fee for non-immigrant visas ranges from USD 160 to USD 265.

For the purpose of this blog, we will primarily focus on the B2 visa, also known as the Tourist Visa USA from India.

Extension of US Tourist Visa for Indians

Indian citizens are eligible to obtain a tourist visa for the United States, allowing them to stay for a duration of 1 to 6 months. If you find yourself needing more time in the US, you have the option to request a visa extension, provided you meet certain requirements. It's important to submit your extension application at least 45 days before your visa's expiration date.

To apply for a visa extension, you must meet the eligibility criteria and gather the necessary documents. These typically include Form I-539, Form I-94, and a valid passport, among others. For a comprehensive list and detailed guidelines, it's recommended to visit the official website of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

For further information regarding extensions for tourist visas in the United States, please refer to the official website of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Arrival in the US: What to Expect

Upon arriving at a United States port of entry, it is essential to ensure that you possess all the necessary documents. The immigration process commences as you join the queue, where a border control officer or immigration officer will request your passport.

During this encounter, you may be asked additional questions regarding your purpose of travel, such as your intended accommodation or the individuals you plan to meet. It is crucial to respond truthfully and provide supporting documents to validate your statements.

Once the officer is satisfied with the provided information, they will stamp your passport with an entry permit, granting you permission to enter the country. However, it is important to note that possessing a tourist visa for Indian citizens does not automatically guarantee admission into the United States. Ultimately, the decision lies with the officer, who retains the authority to deny entry if deemed necessary.


Is the US tourist visa open for Indians?

Yes, the US tourist visa is open for Indians, subject to the visa policies and regulations set by the United States government.

Is the US tourist visa categorized as B1 or B2?

The US tourist visa is categorized as a B2 visitor visa. The B2 visa is specifically designed for individuals traveling to the United States for tourism, vacations, medical treatment, or visits to friends and relatives. The B1 visa, on the other hand, is intended for individuals coming to the US for business-related purposes.

What is the required bank balance for a US visitor visa?

For a US visitor visa, you must have the finances to cover your stay in the US, with a minimum of $266 per day for the duration of your planned visit.

Who needs to fill out the DS-160 form?

Any Indian citizen wishing to apply for a US tourist visa or any non-immigrant visa must complete and submit the DS-160 online application. The form should be filled out by each individual applicant, including children.

How do I fill out the US DS-160 form?

To fill out the DS-160 form for Indian citizens, you should visit the CGI Federal website. Complete the visa application form online and print the confirmation page, which will include a barcode for your interview.

What is the wait time for a US visa interview for Indians?

The Embassy/Consulate in Mumbai has an appointment wait time of 507 calendar days, while Chennai has an appointment wait time of 337 calendar days. You can check the current US visa interview wait times on the official website.

Do I need a sponsor for a US tourist visa?

No, you do not need a sponsor to apply for a US tourist visa. However, if you have friends or family who would like to support your application, they can provide documents such as proof of funds, proof of accommodation in the US, and proof of relationship.

Do I need to schedule an interview?

Yes, Indian citizens need to schedule a US visa interview in India. You can schedule your interview on the CGI website.

Where are the US visa application centers in India?

There are several US Visa Application Centers (VAC) located in major Indian cities such as New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, and Kolkata. You can find the complete list of VACs on the official website.

Do I have to go for an interview?

Yes, if you are a first-time US tourist visa applicant, you must attend the required visa interview. Failure to appear for your interview will result in the denial of your visa application, and you will have to start the process again.

Is there a US visa interview waiver?

Applicants renewing any visa within 48 months of its expiration are eligible for an interview waiver. You can find more information on the official website.

What is the US tourist visa fee in India?

The US tourist visa fee is USD 185 or approximately INR 15,304 as of May 30, 2023.

How can I check the visa status for a US visa in India?

You can check your visa status on the CEAC portal using your Application ID.

What is the US tourist visa processing time in India?

Visa processing times can vary from a few days to several months. It is recommended to wait at least a few days from the interview or submission of supplemental documents before inquiring about your application status via email or phone.

Can I get a Green Card with a US tourist visa?

No, you cannot obtain a US Green Card solely with a US tourist visa.

Can my parents visit me in the USA with a B2 visa?

Yes, your parents can visit you in the US with a B2 visa. However, they must adhere to the allowed visa period and are not permitted to reside in the US, work, or engage in activities not permitted while on a B2 visa.

Does India have a visa waiver with the USA?

Unfortunately, India does not have a visa waiver agreement with the US.

Can Indians apply for ESTA?

No, Indian citizens cannot apply for ESTA as India does not have a visa waiver agreement with the US.

How can I renew my US B1/B2 visa?

You cannot renew your US B1/B2 visa. However, if your US tourist visa has expired, you can apply for a new B1/B2 visa in India.

Can I work in the US on a B1/B2 visa?

No, you cannot engage in any form of work on a B1/B2 visa in the US. You must apply for a relevant visa before starting any employment.

Is the B1/B2 visa an immigrant or non-immigrant visa?

The B1/B2 visa is a non-immigrant visa. It is intended for temporary travel to the US for tourism, business, medical treatment, or other permitted activities.

Can I change my US visa status?

It is possible to change your US visa status under certain circumstances, such as getting married to a US citizen. However, specific requirements and procedures apply.

Do I need a transit visa for the US?

Yes, you would need a transit visa if you are transiting through the US.

Is there a US business visa for Indians?

Yes, Indian citizens needing to visit the US for short-term business meetings or conferences can apply for a US B1 visa. For more information on the application process, refer to the official guidelines.

Can a US tourist visa from India get rejected?

Yes, there are various reasons why a US tourist visa application from India can be rejected. Some common reasons include incomplete DS-160 form, providing incorrect or false information, failure to pass the visa interview, inability to provide sufficient proof of intent to return to India, lack of convincing communication, non-compliance with application procedures, previous removal from the US, or a criminal record.

Can you apply after your US visa gets rejected?

Although you can reapply for a new US visa, it is advised to wait before submitting a new application.

Can B1/B2 visa holders enter the US now from India?

Yes, individuals holding B1/B2 visas can enter the United States from India.

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