It is hard to say when and how the craze for visiting the US made a permanent home in the hearts of Indians, but the obsession for this land of opportunities definitely compels thousands of Indians to plan a trip to America at least once in their lifetime.
According to data published by Statista, more than one million Indians visited the US in 2015 alone. In fact, the number is forecasted to rise above 1.94 million by 2021.
In order to make a temporary visit to the US, a visitor needs to apply for a B-2 visitor’s visa, obtaining which is a lengthy and stringent process. The process involves a visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate. It is advised that the visa should be applied for at least 6-8 weeks in advance of your travel dates, since it is not recommended to attempt to book hotels or plane tickets without a visa.
If you are an applicant who has gone through the visa interview process, but do not know what happens next, here is what you need to know.
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.
US Visitor’s Visa: Approved or Denied
The visa interview plays a key role in determining whether your visa application will be approved or denied. If the application has been approved, you generally know this when the consular officer retains your passport at the time of the interview. However, it is not a sure shot method to judge approval, since there are several factors that can lead to denial afterwards.
If approved, you will be informed by the consular officer at the end of your immigrant visa interview, when and how your passport and visa will be returned to you. If your application has been denied, they will let you know of the reasons of your ineligibility, along with other related information.
How Will Your Passport be Delivered?
On approval of the visa application, the visa is stamped into the applicant’s passport. The applicant is allowed to review the printed information for any errors right away. In case of any spelling errors, the consulate should be informed immediately.
The passport is then returned to the applicant within 7 business days or less via a courier service, which is usually BlueDart in India, since passport are not supposed to be delivered across the counter at the US Consulate.
Don’t worry about the courier cost; it is included in the visa application fee. However, you should know that the passport will be delivered only at the pickup location and not on the applicant’s personal address. You are always free to choose a nearby location that is convenient for you for the pickup of the passport. If you want to track your passport, use the link “Track Passport Delivery.”
Other than the passport, the applicant will receive certain documents in a sealed packet, which is not supposed to be opened by the receiver. The packet needs to be presented to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the port-of-entry upon your arrival in the US.
Don’t forget, after you receive the immigrant visa and before you travel to America, you need to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).