US Tourist Visa For Indians in 2024: Tried & Tested Tips.

keep calm and apply for US visa

So many myths surround the much sought after US visa in India that I just have to bust them. I applied for mine shortly before my 6-month trip to New York, California and Central America, and was granted a 10-year B1 tourist visa. In 2024, I renewed it through Dropbox before it expired, and was granted another 10-year visa. The best part about having a US visa is that it also gives me ‘visa on arrival’ access to several other countries!

The visa application process can be long drawn, with frustrating visa appointment times, but if you are prepared with the right documents and a bit of patience, it is not nearly as difficult as many make it to be. Here are all my tips to help you through this process:

*Update: Wait times in 2024 and how to score an emergency appointment

While waiting in the queue for my passport submission for renewal through Dropbox, I met people who had applied for their US B1/B2 Visa appointments almost 2 years ago! It’s 2024, and sadly the B1 and B2 visas still hasn’t recovered from the massive backlog created during the pandemic. You can check the appointment wait times here, and plan for a leisure or business trip accordingly.

However, if you need to travel to the US urgently – say to attend to an urgent family or business matter – you might be able to request for an emergency appointment. To do this, go through the application process as usual: Fill in your DS-160 visa form accurately, make the visa payment, and schedule an appointment for the earliest available date (which might be a year or two from now!) on the appointment scheduling portal. Once you schedule an appointment, you’ll see an option for ‘Emergency Request’ open up on the left menu of your appointment portal. Click on it, and submit a detailed request with supporting documents, on why you need an earlier appointment.

I followed this process when I urgently needed an F1 visa to finish my Master’s program in the US this summer, and was given a biometrics and interview date in less than a week’s time! The only strange thing was that my biometrics appointment was in Delhi and my consulate interview in Mumbai – and there was no way to change that. It’s happened to others too, but hey, we get what we can if it’s urgent.

1) The US Visa Forms and Fee

Select your location within India, and start your application on the US Consular Electronic Application Centre website. You need to fill the DS-160 visa form (make sure you fill everything accurately and don’t leave any section unanswered), sign it electronically, upload a passport-size photo and submit it. You will have a fixed period of time (usually 48 hours) to pay your visa fee via internet banking or bank transfer, into an Indian bank account. The US tourist visa fee for Indians is 185$ (roughly INR 15,400). The exact amount will be calculated automatically based on the current exchange rate and given to you at the end of your application.

Make sure you print your DS-160 confirmation page with the barcode, and keep it safely right until your trip to the US.

2) Appointment One: Fingerprinting and Photographs (at the VFS Centre for US in India)

The good part about a US visa application is that you don’t have to show confirmed flight and hotel bookings – the way you must for most other countries. The painful part, however, is that you have to make yourself available in person, TWICE. Check appointment wait times here based on your location, and book both your appointments right after submitting your forms, especially if you have to travel to the nearest big city for these.

The first appointment is at VFS USA (visa application centre), where your fingerprints are scanned and your photograph is taken. The process takes less than five minutes, and it’s better to show up a little earlier than your given time slot, since it’s on a first-come first-serve basis.

Depending on the crowd that day, you may need to line up outdoors first, then be shown in based on your visa application time. Remember that mobile phones are not allowed inside. At the VFS in Delhi, there’s a private paid locker to store your phone.

3) Appointment Two: The Visa Interview

The second and more crucial appointment is the visa interview. You must arrive earlier than your given time slot and be prepared to wait on the footpath and/or benches outside. It was an hour before I finally had my turn – and frankly, waiting for such a long time on an unshaded footpath on a hot morning felt humiliating and frustrating. It was even more painful to see a 70+ gentleman being similarly made to wait in the heat.

Remember that phones, electronic devices, eatables, drinkables and bags are not allowed to be taken in. For this reason, I didn’t even carry a bottle of water (though I saw some people being allowed to carry water in – which would be the sensible thing to do). Other than that, carry only your original documents in a transparent folder, and maybe a book or some reading material to keep you entertained.

Applicants are sent inside for the interview in batches, and the application procedure takes only a few minutes. The consular officer is likely to ask you about your invitation letter if you have one, your purpose of visit, how you’ll fund your trip, if it’s your first time travelling outside India, and how long you plan to travel for. Answer truthfully and confidently.

The result of your visa application is told to you by the immigration officer there and then! If your visa is rejected, the officer will hand you a document noting why it’s been rejected, and what you need to do in order to re-apply. Keep calm and ask the visa officer for an explanation or any questions on your mind; they usually oblige.

4) Supporting Documents

For both the appointments, you only need your passport, the DS-160 form submission confirmation, the appointment confirmation, the payment confirmation, and a passport photo.

Unlike other visa applications, the US embassy does not ask to see a travel itinerary, confirmed bookings or other documents during the process. However, these can be asked for incase of additional screening. To be on the safe side, I carried along an invitation letter from my brother who lives in the US, a copy of his employment visa and passport, my bank statements, resume and a cover letter. However, I wasn’t asked to produce any of these.

If you have a relative residing in the US, it can be extremely helpful to have an invitation letter, written by them, preferably on the letterhead of the company they work for, stating that you’ll be visiting and staying with them for a given period of time. Don’t worry if you can’t obtain one – the US embassy website states that it is not necessary to have an invitation letter, nor is that the decisive factor in being granted a visa.

Having stamps from other countries on your passport is helpful, as is having something rooting you to India – like a job or a family. The visa officers need to be convinced that you’ll return to India at the end of your trip.

5) Passport Collection

After a successful interview, it usually takes 7-10 working days for your passport to be ready for collection. While submitting the application form, you can choose to sign up for free SMS / email alerts, and track the status online.

The passport needs to be collected at VFS USA, by submitting a photocopy of your passport or another valid Indian ID. Someone can collect it on your behalf with an authorization letter signed by you, and a photocopy of your ID.

6) Renewing your US Visa through Dropbox

If your B1/B2 US Visa is about to expire, or has expired less than 48 months ago, you can apply to renew your visa (in the same category) through a Dropbox submission. This means you don’t need to repeat your biometrics or interview appointments. The wait times are also much less, and new slots are opened every few days.

In order to apply for a US Visa through Dropbox, fill in the DS-160 visa form, and opt to submit your passport via Dropbox. Get an appointment for the Dropbox submission, which takes place at VFS US. Dropbox locations are now also available in smaller cities across India, for an additional fee of INR 850.

During my Dropbox renewal, I wanted to drop off my passport in Chandigarh (the VFS location closest to Himachal, where I’m currently based). Booking an appointment at Chandigarh wasn’t an option on the system, so I called the US embassy customer service, and was told to show up at VFS Chandigarh at the same appointment time I received in Delhi. Sure enough, I was able to drop off my passport at VFS Chandigarh without any queues!

US Visa for Indians: FAQs

1. How much bank balance is required for the US tourist visa?

Unlike other countries, the US doesn’t ask to see a proof of funds.

However, to be on the safe side, I carried a printout of my bank statements during the consulate interview. Being able to show 3-5 lakhs in your account, as a sign that you’ll be able to fund your flights and stay, can be helpful.

2. How many months bank statement is required for the US tourist visa?

A bank statement is not in the required list of documents for the US tourist visa.

However, other embassies usually ask for bank statements of 3-6 months, so if you want to be on the safe side, that’s how many months you can carry.

3. How much is the US tourist visa fee?

As of 2024, the US tourist visa fee for Indian passport holders is 185$, or INR 15,400 based on the current exchange rate.

4. What documents are required for US tourist visa?

For the biometrics and consular appointments for the US tourist visa, you need the following documents:

  • Your passport (valid for atleast 6 months)
  • Printout of the submission confirmation of the DS-160 form
  • Printout of the appointment confirmation
  • Printout of the payment confirmation
  • Passport photo

Incase of additional screening, you can be asked to show:

  • The purpose of your trip: If that’s to visit family or friends, have an invitation letter. If that’s for tourism, have a tentative itinerary.
  • Your intent to depart the United States after your trip: An employer letter, employment contract or family in India can show your intention to come back to India after your trip.
  • Your ability to pay all costs of the trip: Bank statements can be helpful.

5. What is the difference between a B1 and B2 vista?

B1 is a business visa, while B2 is a tourism visa. Both are short-stay visas, clubbed into the B1/B2 category.

6. How long does it take to get a US tourist visa?

From the time of submission of your passport after the biometrics and consular appointments, receiving a US tourist visa takes 7-10 working days.

7. How long is a US tourist visa valid?

This is the best part – all US tourist visas are issued for 10 years!

8. What is proof of sufficient funds for travel to USA?

As mentioned above, there is no requirement to show a certain amount of funds for a tourist visa for the US. However, in case of additional screening, you maybe asked to submit your bank statements. In that case, showing around 5 lakhs in your account is a good idea.

9. Do US visa officers check bank statements?

No, US visa officers do not check bank statements, unless your visa is temporarily rejected for additional screening. If that happens, you can be asked to show a proof of funds.

10. How can I get a US visa faster from India?

As explained above, if you have a genuine emergency to travel to the US and urgently need a US visa, you can apply for an emergency request. Visa slots are also added occasionally into the appointment system, so keep a look out.

11. How can I increase my chances of getting a US tourist visa?

Visa officers need to be sure that you won’t stay on illegally in the US. Having stamps of other countries – especially the UK, Schengen countries, Australia and Canada – is helpful. Having a job or employer’s letter from India can also indicate that you intend to return.

12. What is the current wait time for US tourist visa?

That depends on the embassy you plan to apply from, but B1/B2 visa wait times can be as long as 2 years.

13. What are the causes of visa rejection?

This depends on a case by case basis. The most common causes of why your US visa maybe rejected are:

  • You’ve never travelled out of India before, or don’t have a strong travel history.
  • You don’t have a strong reason to return to India (like a job or close family).
  • You’re suspected of trying to find a spouse in the US (it happens so often!)
  • You don’t have an invitation letter from relatives / family in the US.

I hope that simplifies the US visa process for Indian passport holders. Even if you don’t plan to visit the US anytime soon, it is worth applying for a visa anyway, to get ‘visa on arrival’ access to most Central and South American countries, e-visa access to Turkey, entry into Georgia, and many more places you probably dream of visiting. I’m already using mine to its full potential!

Also read my tips on how to score a Canada Tourist Visa on an Indian passport and a Schengen visa to travel in Europe. Plus read whether it’s worth getting an E-visa for Georgia with the pre-pandemic deporting of Indians at Tbilisi Airport.

Going to New York? See my experiential travel guide to NYC.

Got any other tips or experiences with an Indian passport and a US visa?

Join me on Instagram for more travel tips and stories.

For more information about the US Visa applications, please see the US embassy website. If you have specific questions about the US visa process for Indians, you can find your nearest embassy here, and contact them by phone or email.

The Shooting Star Academy

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  1. Thanks Shivya, very detailed and informative tips. you are right lot of people told me that it is difficult etc…. all bullshit stories but, when I am reading your post I think it is very easy to get US visa. thanks once again for sharing these tips.

    1. Glad you found this informational, Girish. All the best for your application!

      1. Ranjeet singh says:

        hi shivya i want to apply for u.s tourist visa I m married i with my wife want to visit on tourist visa of u.s.a .please help me tell me the helpful topic

      2. Hallo mam,
        I thing you have good knowledge of us visa
        Plz give me advice . I got marriage 1 month ago we want go us for Travel.

      3. mam plss tell me we already aplied for US tourist visa me nd my sm reason we refuse to get visa.could u plss tell me if we try again for the same perpuse then how much chances to approved visa

    2. balwinder says:

      i want to know that m merried nd me nd my husband already aplyed visitor visa for US bt for sm reason we refuse to get visa..can uh tell me if we try again for same purpse then how much chances to approved visa..?

    3. I want to apply b1 Visa it is difficult for get

  2. Very useful information, Shivya.

    Thanks a lot for sharing and hope you are having a great time 🙂

  3. Thanks for this, Shivya. I’ve always been apprehensive of the US Visa (for evident reasons) but this gives me the confidence to re-consider and apply.

  4. Thanks for this, well if want to attend some crucial event so can I get visa for Canada in less than 10-14 working days??

  5. My mom’s planning to visit the USA next month and this page is more informative than any other on the internet and all “visa agents” put together. Thank you, thank you.

  6. Elyzel Servano says:

    Hi thanks for this information its help a lot.Can u please help us, my friend working in New Zealand and wants to take US tourist visa.He is an ndian passport holder . Thank you.

  7. Ehmad Dev says:

    Hi there Shiya …

    The article was good, and quite reliable than most of the sources on the internet, but not quite satisfying …. why not satisfying! because it was lesser detailed. For instance you didn’t mention that after filling up the DS-160 form, how much time does it take approximately till one’s called in for the visit to the concerned embassy.

    but overall, it was a good note.

    thank you


  8. Greetings Shivya. I know I’m terribly late to the party, even so I just wanted to thank you for this truly inspirational article. Thank you for cutting through all the clutter and for bringing a positive, encouraging vibe to a topic most people have turned intimidating. The only thing more inspirational than the article was your personal story of how it all began. Stay strong, safe and pleasantly surprised, I wish you the very best in all of your travels. Peace, health and happiness.

  9. shivya,i was looking for an suitable person to know abt the multi entry tourist visa to usa from india.will u advise me how to get that visa?.i just want to know also which is the best agency in india for this kind of i m in france.i will reach in india next year how can i contact u.if u have any mobile number is that ok to u?.bye the way i m gonna check u in the way i like ur lifestyle.i think we will meet because m also like u …a traveller

  10. rajvir bawa says:

    Hii shivya
    In Sept 2014 i was applied for USA tourist visa obut got refusal , on that tym i have no job only small business of dog sale n purchase a am working in punjab police govt job.i m 25 years old and my annual income is 350000 and 5 lacs in my account for show money. Recently octuber 2015 i went Both Malaysia and Singapore on tourist visa so can i apply for USA tourist visa .

    1. Malaysia n singapore wont help u man..just be truthful with embassy and they check any bank balance n all they just see ur confidence

  11. javed ahmad says:

    Its very informative the way u have elaborated the visa application process..thanks.

  12. Excellent Blog Shivya,
    I Was searching for this information only since morning and luckily i found it on your blog.

    Thanks a lot. You rock

  13. Naseer Nalupurapattil says:

    Excellent and simple, I always thought applying for US visa is not that easy because people always say it’s a big deal, thanks Shivya to make things clear and easy, it really gives me confidence to go ahead.

  14. Hello, shivya nath, i m paresh from india, gujarat, currently i live and working in dubai, on employment unlimited visa status i have done 2 years complete in dubai, but i want to apply for US visa so its posibble to get easily visa from embassy?

  15. Hi Shiva thanks for the information. I have a USA friend. He send me an invitation to visit him. But my salary is very less and no bank balance to show my financial strength. But he said he will take care of all my expenses including staying. But my friends said I need to show a solid reason that I would come back to India. I am a bachelor. Pls help me with more information.

  16. Hi
    Very nice one & full of information.

  17. Hi Shivya,

    I have a B1/B2 visa on my passport which is valid for 10 years and I have recently visited US for my office work. I just want to know that on this visa can I buy a flight ticket and just simply fly to USA for vacation without any invitation?

    1. Yeah, it’s a tourist + business work visa, so you can fly in without invitation. It’s good to have some backup docs just in case – like employer’s NOC letter, invitation from a family member or a return ticket. That’s what I’ve been doing over the last few months.

  18. Hi.
    I applied in 2008 for b1 visa but I rejected .. now again I am planning . It is possible once rejected then apply again . How long finger print in record . Again I approach. Or not .

  19. Hi
    Thanks for the information!.. Quite Helpful!

    I have couple of questions, it would be great if you could help me:
    1) What are documents required from a person who is inviting ?
    2)What is the minimum fund / bank balance needed as a tourist?

    Thanks in advance

  20. This is great information put together in simple and easy to understand process …. thanks a lot for this Shivya…. and all the best on your travel 🙂

  21. Sandy cheema says:

    Hey shivya. Whatsup…. Ohhh hope u doing well. I always heard about a myth from many people that singles cant get this visa. coz visa officer think that he/she never comes back to their home country. Im 28 yrs old male from punjab. Thnx in advance for any suggestion that i really appericiate.

  22. Hi information you provided is easy and quite helpful. I want to go US to get job, is it possible to get job while we are in tourist visa. I don’t have good bank balance, pls let me know.


    1. Hi Subbu, I am sure you are very innocent. Work visa to any country in the world is ultra difficult except some Gulf States with the help of Agents. Incase you are planning to go to US or any other country, Pl don’t mention about the intention of work. Get the Visit Visa, visit the country, keep all the memories and Photos with you and while in the same country, just ask by the way like “Can some one sponsor you” for work in that country and come back safely. That’s the best one can do. Remember Only you can breath full in your own country and if you are lucky you can breath half in other countries only if you are on visit visa. All the best

  23. Nice and interesting information and informative too. Can you pls let me know the good attraction places we can visit near Singapore.

  24. Varun Malhotra says:

    It’s a right way for interview guys I’m so thankful to u I want to more knowledge

  25. i have applied for U.S. visitor visa and I have PCC stemp of CANADA in my passport. is it create any trouble? My cousin sister sponsor my visa.

  26. Hi Very Informative description, Just a small word here. The fees has gone upto 11 k INR , due to Currency hike- INR vis a vis US $.

  27. vikram kharbanda says:

    Guys specially if you are from punjab ,donot apply tourist visa from delhi embassy
    This is now money making making machine for them and they hardly accept any tourist visa.

    My visa got rejected twice even though my brother lived there so donot waste your money and time

  28. I am an Indian Citizen who got Canadian Student Visa. What might be the procedure to travel from Canada to USA?

  29. Anil kumar says:

    I m working in Malaysia. I have Indian passport. Can i go US vist visa

    1. Of course!!! definitely you can travel, Just apply directly or better, through the agent. In the interview, just be truthful about the info which the officer asks. That’s all. All the best

  30. i have us visit visa still I’m in Us i wanna is it easy for me to get visit visa for european countries

  31. Hello Shivya, I am sourabh from india. I want to leave my country and settle down in another country, From where i can start?

  32. Anwar Ali says:

    Excellent and simple, I always thought applying for US visa is not that easy because people always say it’s a big deal, thanks Shivya to make things clear and easy, it really gives me confidence to go ahead.


    Hi Shivya i have a doubt here
    i am an Indian passport holder currently working in Italy
    now i want to visit USA on tourist visa to see my sister and her family
    so from where i should apply for visa is there any possibility that i can apply from Italy
    Ajay Dora S

  34. Having denied a B1(for work purpose) in July,2016, do you suggest, is it a good idea to apply for another B1(for tourism) in 2017?

  35. Baljinder says:

    Hi Shivya,I am Baljinder Singh I have us multiple visa holder.&I am visit two time in USA . My two kids 10 yr & 13 yr I was my kids apply visa last year but refused . So I want again apply can I get visa my kids

  36. Jayaram Hampapur says:

    Thanks for the excellent information . Now I am confidant of applying visa to attend graduation day of my daughter.

  37. Ansuya desai says:

    Thank you god the great tips.
    Is it harder for younger people to get American
    Visas holding an Indian passport.
    Thank you!

  38. Good Day Shivya, i with my wife n my son are going to apply for usa tourist visa shortly, i am unsure as to what wud happen in the interview with the consular officer. What abt the applicant fee tht we pay for…if incase the application gets rejected for sum reason…do we get the monies back or is thr any othr interview set up for 2nd chance? Apology abt my doubt…aftr all its our hard earned monies…many thnx for ur detailed info…its highly appreciated. Cheers

    1. The money won’t be given back and you won’t have a second chance… you have to pay again if you want another interview.

  39. Hello Shivya,

    I thing you have good knowledge of USA visa.

    Plz give me advice and help me with details . I want to attend marriage in march ‘2017 in U.S.A & we want go . we are 2 siblings and my mother who is sr citizen.

    We stay in Mumbai.awaiting your reply asap.


  40. Hi i ve got b1b2 and i m in u.s and i want to apply for canada tourist visa .so pls let me know about requirements.thanxx

  41. coralcrue says:

    This is such an informative posts. surely debunked a lot of myths for me. thank you

  42. Hi Shivya, Its quite informative and details are complete. Thanks. I would like you inform your readers about the latest info about the US. Lot of us don’t get the first info. especially those of us about to apply for a visit visa.

  43. Hi ,
    It was very informative and positive anybody would feel like giving it a try whether you get it or not.
    Could you please tell me when should I apply if I intend to travel by June. I heard it just takes 15 calendar days to process and fix up a schedule. Ie can I fill in early and take up an appointment for June?.
    Please help me in this regard.

  44. Hi Shivya,
    Please let me know if we can visit other countries based on US B1/B2(Business/Tourist) Visa

    Thanks – Abhimanyu

  45. Yashpal Sharma says:

    Hallo mam,
    I thing you have good knowledge of us multiple visa
    Plz give me advice and help me with details

  46. chandinik says:

    Hi um shivya, one of the first links that come up on google when searching for ‘US tourist visas for Indians’ is your blog link (Congratulations). But then the date of this blog is 2015 and apparently, a lot has changed since then as far as I have heard, is it possible for you to update the process now maybe from word of mouth from someone else? That would be so helpful especially since you have a lot of traffic anyway.

  47. Anasuya Menon says:

    Hey Shivya!
    I just HAD to write in and tell you how very useful your article has been to me. I was applying for a US visa with my mom and one year old son and am delighted to say we’ve been granted our visas. Your article was so simple, yet informative. It cut through all the clutter and guided me through the entire process. It was the ONLY thing I really referred to, through my entire application process! Thanks😊. Hope you are enjoying your travels around the world!..

  48. Sumit Chauhan says:

    I am just planing to visit U.S but it is not confirmed.Can I still apply for the US visa ? What will be the procedure for that.

  49. Ajay yadav says:

    Hlo sir I got an offer for job from Siemens company USA and now they are asking me my passport, education certificate , filled job offer form and after they said that I have to pay my visa fees is it right or not . Because I came to know that visa is send by the company . Please suggest me asap

  50. Hi Shivya, thanks for the article :). What is the rough number of days that are required after filling the application form to get the visa? Is it possible for process to be accelerated?

  51. For fingerprinting we have to make ourselves available twice? So they can make toeprints too?:))
    It’s sad they make you feel like criminal more than once, but I guess it’s the price of travel security today.
    Thanks for all your help and information!:)

  52. Will the visa (if one gets approved) be the 10 year tourist visa? If so, what should we answer when asked- “how long do you plan to visit” if we wish to volunteer for a month or so? This might be a silly question but i can’t help it.

  53. Hi..i want to visit my friend in san francisco USA for 15-20 days. But i have heard that its difficult or rare chance for bachelors to get visa. I am 22yr old software engg. My dad will fund my trip and i am going alone. So is it difficult for me to get a tourist visa?

  54. Sowmya kumari says:

    hi Shivya,

    I had a query regarding interview. I want to go to US for 10-12 days only to surprise my boyfriend. But I am not telling any one in my family- also not informing my own brother has USA passport. Sort of secret meeting.

    What should i tell the USA visa office then? Because I will have to mention i have a sibling.

    Thank you in advance for your response.

  55. vasanthakumari korada says:

    Shiva, you are a wonderful girl with a golden heart to guide others. Continue good work.

  56. Ranjana Patnaik says:

    Shiva thanks for the clear and precised info on US Visa Process. It was very helpful no doubt. All the best to you for all your travel plans.

  57. Hi Shivya, Can you help me what kind of questions will be asked & documents one need to carry for USA visa interview if the person is a housewife accompanying her husband for his business trip?

    Thanks in advance!

  58. Thanks for this information Shivya. Helped a lot. I also wrote about the US visa process to clear the myths that surround the process.

  59. Hi Shivya…Sincere thanks to you for all these informations..It is really useful. Have a grat time 🙂

  60. Kristi Rachal says:

    I don’t understand the difference between #6 and #12, can someone help clarify?

    6. How long does it take to get a US tourist visa?
    From the time of submission of your passport after the biometrics and consular appointments, receiving a US tourist visa takes 7-10 working days.

    12. What is the current wait time for US tourist visa?

    That depends on the embassy you plan to apply from, but B1/B2 visa wait times can be as long as 2 years.

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