After you have submitted the DS-160 form, you need to pay the application fee before you can schedule the visa interview. The fee depends on the type of visa you have applied for. For most non-immigrant visa categories, such as tourist, student and business visas, the fee is $160. Petition-based visa categories, such as employment and religious visas, cost $190. The visa fee can be paid in Indian rupees and will depend on the consular exchange rate on the day you make the payment.
There are four ways in which you can pay the application fee for your US visa in India. Here’s a look.
Payment via Your Mobile Phone
You can pay the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee through your phone by using the IMPS facility. But first, ensure that you are registered for this facility with your bank and possess a valid MPIN.
While making the payment, accurately fill details such as beneficiary’s MMID number, their mobile number and the amount, as given on the payment screen. It is crucial to pay the correct fee, since any errors will delay your visa interview.
Don’t forget to get insurance.
It is recommended that you get travel insurance when traveling to USA, as medical expense (even for common flu) can run into hundreds of dollars! Here are some of the best insurance for US visitors.
After successful payment, you will get an SMS containing a 12-digit IMPS reference number. Enter this to reach the appointment scheduling page, when you log in to your profile on the US visa website.
National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT)
The visa application fee can also be paid through an NEFT from your bank account. More than 87,000 bank branches in India support this facility. On the payment confirmation screen of your profile, you will get a unique account number. You need to send the payment to this account. Keep in mind that if you pay twice by mistake, the extra fee will not be refunded.
Also, it is crucial that you save the unique account number that is used with an NEFT. It will serve as proof of payment while scheduling the visa interview. Make sure you are aware of the bank charges involved in NEFT transactions.
Cash Deposit at a Bank Branch
Axis and Citibank branches allow applicants to pay their MRV fee in cash. But before you do so, take a printout of the US visa fee collection slip from your profile, since this is needed during payment.
On successful payment, the bank will provide you with an acknowledgement receipt that has a 10-digit bar code. Use this after 3 hours of payment to fixing your appointments at the VAC and the US consulate/embassy.
A Word of Caution
All banks remain closed on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. So, you won’t be able to pay the MRV fee in cash or perform any mobile banking, NEFT or IMPS transactions on these days.
Once you pay the visa fee, it can take up to 2 business days for your receipt to get activated.
Visa fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. If you face an error while paying the fee and are unsure about the payment status, do not pay it again.