Are you planning to visit the U.S. of A, either as a tourist, for work or to study? As you may know, Indians aren’t eligible for America’s visa waiver program, called the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), so you need a visa before you go.
As part of the process of getting one you must appear in person for 2 separate appointments. First, for an appointment at a VAC (Visa Application Center) and, second, for the interview at the US embassy or consulate. You set up both dates together.
With this in mind, you might have questions such as: how do you schedule the dates, how far in advance should you do it, can you reschedule the dates once you’ve made them and what should you take with you?
Well, here we provide you with the answers to all these queries, and you can learn more about the US ESTA visa waiver here. Read on to get on your way to the land of Lady Liberty!
- 1 How to Schedule a US Visa Appointment in India
- 2 What to Bring to a US Visa Appointment in India?
- 3 Is There A US Visa Stamping Appointment in India?
- 4 How to Reschedule a US Visa Appointment in India
- 5 How to Find/Check Visa Appointment Dates
- 6 How to Make an Emergency US Visa Appointment in India
- 7 FAQs
How to Schedule a US Visa Appointment in India
To schedule your dates, the first step is to ensure that you have the necessary supporting documents and details. Namely, these are:
- A passport with at least 6 months’ validity remaining beyond your planned exit date from the United States. Please note that if more than 1 person is listed on your passport (for example, your child), then he or she also requires a visa to enter.
- The confirmation page of your DS-160 (i.e. your online visa application).
- The payment receipt for your MRV (Machine Readable Visa) fee. Typically, the receipt takes the form of your bank’s acknowledgement slip of your payment. Also, you can only schedule an appointment within 1 year of paying the fee.
- Your email address.
- Any other supporting documents relevant to the sort of visa you’re applying for. For example, for a tourist pass you should have a travel itinerary (such as hotel bookings and other tickets) and proof of sufficient funds to support you during your visit.
Once you’ve collated these documents, you register a profile on CGI Federal’s website to book your dates. As well as needing your email address, you also create a password to do this. Be sure to either save your password in your browser’s cookies or jot it down for safekeeping! From there, take the following steps:
- From the menu on the left-hand side, you select ‘New Application / Schedule Appointment’.
- If you’re visiting America as a tourist, then confirm that you’re applying for a ‘Nonimmigrant Visa’ (as opposed to an ‘Immigrant Visa’).
- Choose your country or state of residence (there are 38 options from around different parts of India, plus the Kingdom of Bhutan).
- Select the language of the interview:
- Select the category you’re applying for:
- Business/tourism, crew and all other visas
- Students and exchange visitors
- L-1 (blanket)
- H&L visas
- (H-type visas allow foreign companies to transfer employees to the USA, while L-type visas enable the applicant to work for a US-based company).
- If you’re visiting as a tourist or for business, you then select the visa class from among 3 options:
- B1 – Visitor for business
- B1/B2 – Visitor for business and pleasure
- B2 – Visitor for pleasure or medical treatment
- (You can read more about these options in our Understanding B1/B2 Visas for the USA article.)
- Here you’re shown the first available date for your interview. This can be several months into the future, so be sure to apply well in advance of your trip! You choose your interview date further on in the process.
- Enter your personal details, including:
- Your full name
- Your passport number, issue date and expiry date
- Your date of birth
- Your nationality
- Your DS-160 confirmation number
- Your mobile and landline numbers
- Your email address
- Your mailing address
- As part of your application, you leave your passport at the VAC. Once your application is processed, you then collect your passport. So in this step, you choose:
- Whether to collect your passport from a document delivery location.
- Whether your passport will be delivered home (called “Premium Delivery”).
- If you select the former, you choose what location you’re closest to and you’re shown the nearest available pick-up point.
- You select a payment option:
- Electronic (NEFT or Bank of America)
- Mobile (IMPS)
- Over The Counter (Citi, Axis Bank or Druk PNB Bank)
- Once you’ve paid, you enter the MRV receipt number.
- From here, you select the 2 dates for your appointment and interview at the embassy. Your visit to the VAC must come at least 1 day before you attend the interview. Once you’re done, you receive confirmation of the dates and you’re ready to attend!
What to Bring to a US Visa Appointment in India?
When you’ve scheduled your dates, you must bring the following to the Visa Application Center:
- Your passport with at least 6 months’ validity from when you’ll exit the USA.
- Your DS-160 confirmation form, which is stamped at the VAC when approved.
- Your VAC appointment confirmation page.
- A recent 600 pixels by 600 pixels photograph for applicants under age 14.
For your interview at the embassy, you require all these documents plus the supporting documents for the visa you’re applying for, such as hotel bookings and proof of sufficient funds for a tourist pass.
Is There A US Visa Stamping Appointment in India?
Yes, when you visit the VAC, your DS-160 confirmation form is stamped once approved. However, you don’t have to make a specific, separate appointment for the stamping. It happens when you visit the VAC, assuming that everything in your application is correct and in order.
How to Reschedule a US Visa Appointment in India
There’s an option to reschedule your date on the CGI Federal website. However, you can only do so a limited number of times. If you miss your appointment, you may be required to pay the application fee again.
Moreover, given that the wait time can stretch several months into the future, it’s best to reschedule your dates only if there’s really no alternative for you.
How to Find/Check Visa Appointment Dates
Fortunately, the US government offers a useful webpage to check the available appointment dates, available here. Simply enter your nearest location and the tool will return the wait time, depending on whether you’re applying for:
- A visitor visa
- A student/exchange visa
- All other nonimmigrant visas
How to Make an Emergency US Visa Appointment in India
You may be able to make an emergency appointment or expedite its date if urgent, unforeseen circumstances come up. For example, these could include a medical emergency or a death in the family that requires you to be in the United States earlier than planned.
The process to obtain an expedited appointment varies from location to location, so it may be worthwhile consulting your nearest US embassy or consulate’s website or contacting them by phone or in person. In all cases, to acquire an emergency appointment you will need to:
- Submit your DG-160 online application form in advance.
- Pay the application fee and obtain your MRV receipt number.
- Schedule the first available appointment online.
- Provide documented proof of the need for an expedited appointment.
Do you have other queries about applying for your visa appointment? In this case, you’re in luck, as we’ve answered a few frequently asked queries below.
How to Get a Visa Appointment in Mumbai, Hyderabad or Chennai
To create an appointment in these cities or any other in India, just select your city from the list of available locations in the third screen of the online process, as stated above. Below, find the addresses for the VACs and US embassies in these 3 locations:
Mumbai – US Visa Biometrics Centre and Passport Collection
Parinee Crescenzo 101
1st Floor, A Wing, G Block
Bandra Kurla Complex
Mumbai – US Consulate General
G Block Rd, G Block BKC
Bandra Kurla Complex
Hyderabad – VAC
Hyderabad – US Consulate General
Chiran Fort Club Ln
Chennai – VAC
82 Kodambakkam High Rd
Chennai – US Consulate General
How to Make a Poland (Schengen) Visa Appointment in India
Are you visiting Polska (that’s ‘Poland’ in Polish!) rather than the United States? In this case, Poland forms part of the European Union’s Schengen Area, so as an Indian citizen you need a Schengen Visa to enter.
To make an appointment for this Central European country, you do so online to visit a Joint Schengen Visa Application Center. You can also do so by telephone so long as you’re visiting a Center located in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
Please note that as part of your application, you’re now required to submit biometric fingerprints data and a digital photograph. If you use henna ink on your fingertips, you need to remove this or allow it to fade in advance to provide a clear scanned image.
How to Make a UK Visa Appointment in India
Similarly to the USA and Poland, you make an appointment to visit the United Kingdom as an Indian citizen online. When you attend, you need printed copies of both your online application and your appointment confirmation letter. When you write your signature on the application, ensure that it all fits within the box.
If you’re visiting the UK with several immediate family members (such as your spouse and children), you may be pleased to hear that you can submit visa appointments on their behalf and that not all family members need to attend the appointment to submit your applications.