Holiday Season Travel and Visa Application Guide

Some of our most frequently asked questions are about visa appointments. With the holiday season coming up, we are sure you have a bunch of questions about visa appointments, wait times, dependent visa appointments, documents to take to the interview and more. Below is some important information and a compilation of some helpful resources for you to navigate the simple yet complicated visa process.

 

  • Do I need a Visa?

 

Unless you are a citizen of Canada, yes, you need a valid U.S. visa in order to enter the United States. A visa is different from the I-94 document that is provided at the time of your entry stating your authorized period of stay. For more information on the differences between Visa, I-94 and I-797, please see our article here https://grahamadair.com/when-does-your-immigration-status-expire-how-to-interpret-i-94-i-797-and-visa-documents/. If your visa has expired and you need to travel internationally, you will need to plan on applying for a new visa at a U.S. consular post.

 

  • I have a valid visa in my old passport- Can I travel if I have a valid visa in an expired old passport?

 

Yes, you can travel as long as the visa is valid and not damaged. You must carry both the old and new passports while traveling to the U.S.

 

  • Are there vaccination requirements for travel to the United States?

 

Yes, if you are a nonimmigrant traveling to the United States, you will need to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before you travel by air to the United States from a foreign country.

 

  • B-1/B-2 appointment availability

 

Routine in-person B1/B2 visas appointments have been resumed in most countries including India, starting in September 2022. Appointments for 2022 and 2023 filled quickly, but the Consulates continue to open appointments as capacity allows.

 

  • How do I schedule a visa appointment?

 

Step 1:  Complete the DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application.

 

Here is a link to the Frequently Asked Questions for instructions about using the DS-160. You can access the online DS-160 by clicking: Consular Electronic Application Center website.

 

Step 2: After you have completed the DS-160, you must print and keep the DS-160 barcode page. (You will not need to print the full application.)

 

Step 3: You must schedule a visa interview appointment. Visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will be interviewed, for country-specific instructions.

 

Step 4: Pay the visa application processing fee. Review country-specific instructions on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website.

 

Do I qualify for an expedited appointment?

If there is an urgent, unforeseen situation such as a funeral, medical emergency, school start date or the like, and you submit proof of the same, consular sections will determine on a case-to-case basis and expedite the interview date. Expedited requests can be submitted only after you schedule a visa appointment.

 

Note: Please consult an experienced immigration attorney and see if you have a viable case for expedited appointment.

 

For Indian Nationals, here is the link to schedule a visa appointment – https://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/en

 

  • What documents do I need to carry for the visa appointment?

 

Generally, the following routine documents are needed for a dropbox interview for temporary worker visa (H-1B; L-1; E-3; H-1B1 etc):

 

  1. Visa Appointment confirmation letter
  2. DS-160 Confirmation
  3. Employment Verification Letter [Should include your job title, number of hours of employment per week, salary, and a brief outline of your current job duties on company letterhead]
  4. 2 Photographs as per the consulate specifications
  5. Latest I-797 and the one prior to that.
  6. Passport

 

NOTE: Please refer to the U.S. travel docs for your country and see the list of documents required by the U.S. Consulate.

 

  • Do my dependents need their own visa appointment?

 

No, if they are going to accompany you during your appointment. But you must fill out the dependent section of the DS-160 Application and pay the required fee for each dependent before they can attend the interview with you.

 

  • What should I expect after the visa appointment?

 

The two possible outcomes after a visa appointment are ‘issued’ or ‘refused’. However, even after a visa is refused, a consular officer may determine that additional information from sources other than the applicant may help establish an applicant’s eligibility for a visa.  In such cases, refused visa applications warrant further administrative processing.  Upon completion of the case-specific administrative processing, the consular officer might conclude that an applicant is now qualified for the visa for which he or she applied. Alternatively, the officer may conclude that the applicant remains ineligible for a visa.

 

  • What is 221(g) visa refusal?

 

When an applicant is refused under 221(g), it means the consular officer determined that the applicant was not eligible for a visa after completing and executing the visa application and any required interview. When a consular officer refuses a case under 221(g), the officer will convey to the applicant whether the applicant is required to provide any further documentation or information, or whether the case requires additional administrative processing.

 

It is possible that a consular officer will reconsider a visa application refused under 221(g) later, based on additional information or upon the resolution of administrative processing, and determine that the applicant is eligible.

 

 

 

Additional links and resources:

 

Visa Appointment Wait Times- https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html

 

U.S Visa (India) FAQs- https://in.usembassy.gov/visas/frequently-asked-questions/

 

U.S. Visa FAQs- https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/frequently-asked-questions.html

 

CGI Federal- https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/

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