I remember how uneasy we felt when my wife Lakshmi and I submitted the B2 Visa application for my mother in law in India. It was around the time when our son was born, approval of the B2 Visitors Visa to the United States meant that my mother in law would be here for our son’s birth. She would also be a great help to us during that stressful time. During our research, we felt scared reading so many articles regarding the U.S Visitors Visa denials. We didn’t want to face any Visa denials and possible repercussions when applying for her green card later on.
However, we decided to try and push ahead, and today we are glad we made that choice at the time. My mother in law’s Visitors Visa was approved, and she landed in the United States just in time for our son’s birth.
What is a B2 Visitors Visa?
Visitors to the United States will need to apply for non-immigrant visas or what is known as a B2 Visa. Only a temporary entry to the United States is allowed through a B-2 Visa. Entry can be for purposes such as pleasure, tourism, or medical visits. The B2 Visa duration is for ten years but with a maximum allowable stay of 6 months per visit.
The B2 Visa application steps are pretty straight forward, and it is entirely online. We were relieved to know that the entire B-2 Visa application is electronically submitted, which made everything quite easy. The form you fill out for the visiting Visa is called DS-160. You can complete this at the U.S Department of State Website here.
Note: Use this post as a template or guide while applying for your B2 Visitors Visa to the United States, but be sure to always check the U.S State Department website for the most up to date changes. If you had to do any additional steps or follow new requirements, we would appreciate it if you would come back and post your experiences below. Your input will help future applicants. Thank you!
B2 Visa Application Steps, DS-160 Form Filing Tips
While filling out the DS-160 B2 Visa application online, we didn’t have to submit a picture; instead, we will have my mother in law carry it with her to the interview. You may also have your photo taken at the Off-site facilitation center (OFC) or Application Service Center (ASC). The Embassy we used was in Chennai. You will want to know which Embassy you will be using, here is a list of Embassies in India.
Pictures listed below and to the right are some of the steps that you will go through while filling out your application. Everything on the Visa application portal is self-explanatory. While filling out the application form, be sure to save each page upon completion because if you accidentally use your browsers back and forward buttons, you may lose the information you entered on that page. Be sure also to save your application before submission.
Please remember to save a copy of the Visitor Visa application to your computer for future reference. Once completed, you will get a confirmation and a ten-digit code that is needed to set up your visa interview appointment. You just need to carry the confirmation page to your interview appointment and not the whole packet. Now it is time to pay the fee for your B2 Visa application.
B2 Visitor Visa Fee Payments & Interview Appointment
The fee was 160 dollars, and that came out to approximately 11,290 rupees [current exchange rate may vary]. I know the available payment methods can be quite confusing, but we chose the easy way out. We paid it via National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT). We used our mother in law’s State bank of India online dashboard to do the transfer from overseas. After the successful payment, you can continue with the B2 Visa process.
B2 Visa Fingerprinting & Special Assistance
For my mother in law, I was asked to schedule two appointment dates — one for the (OFC) to do the fingerprinting. Another appointment for the consular interview. If you are staying a while, you can choose to have more than one day gap between the appointments. But you must have at least a one day gap between the fingerprinting and interview date.
If special assistance is needed, please be sure to make the Consulate aware 48 hours before your interview. On your B2 Visa interview day, be sure to allow leeway time. Be confident and try not to get nervous. I know it is easier said than done. Think before you speak and be clear with your answers. Be polite to the consular officer, and if you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to say, “I beg your pardon.” Be sure to carry all mandatory and extra documents as necessary. Here is a B2 Visa checklist on what to bring.
- A recent photograph of yourself (Visitor applying for the Visitor’s Visa)
- Visitor’s older passports as well as their current passport
- The DS-160 confirmation page that you completed online
- All Visitor Visa application receipts
- Visitor’s appointment letter for the Visitor Visa Interview
Apart from the five things above, you will also want to make sure to get a hold of the following documents that will support you in your case: the more supporting documents that you can gather, the merrier.
- Affidavit of Support form I-134 (from the Sponsor)
- Sponsor’s current Employment Letter
- Sponsor’s Recent Pay Stubs
- Sponsor’s Bank Statements
- Sponsor’s invitation for you to come to the U.S
- Sponsor’s Income Tax Return Transcripts
- Sponsor’s and his or her Spouse’s Birth Certificates
- Sponsor’s and his or her Spouse’s Passport copies
- Sponsor’s Marriage Certificate
- Letter to the Consulate on how the Sponsor will provide support for their visitor after coming to the United States.
We spent quite a bit of time gathering all of these documents for submission. We used the United States Postal Service (USPS) for mailing the documents, which cost USD 50 for Express delivery with $100 in delivery insurance.
Below are some of the sample documents or templates that you can use for your B2 Visa application. Use the templates below as a guide and change it according to your needs.
Note: If you are sending these files overseas to your beneficiary, be sure to use FedEx or DHL as I’ve had a horrible experience with the United States Postal Service.
Would you like to know how my mother in law’s Visitors Visa interview went?
Are you interested in finding out which Visitors Visa interview questions were asked?
Please see our next article for answers to the questions above and tips on why not to use (USPS) for sending files overseas.
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