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No issuance fees for US visas
Did you know that the issuance/ reciprocity fees for H, B1 and B2 visas was eliminated last week?
And there's more good news for those who seek US visas. The number of appointments being offered through the end of the year has increased and the speed with which visas are being processed has been accelerated.
Questions pertaining to the US visa facilitation process were answered by Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief and Glen Keiser, Consular Section Chief of the US Consulate General, Mumbai, during a chat on November 15.
For those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript.
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai says, Good afternoon. I'm happy to be here today to answer your questions on the U.S. visa process.
mm asked, hi, good afternoon can u tell me why there is a separate procedure to schedule an interview at the mumbai consulate.
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, To apply for a visa at the US Consulate in Mumbai, you should log on to the Visa Facilitation Service web site and follow the procedures. Our procedures are the same as the other consular sections in India with one key exception. In the western consular district (Mumbai), you must submit your documents to VFS five days in advance of your appointment.
Glen Keiser, Consular Section Chief, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai says, Hi. I'm joining one of my colleagues to answer some of your visa questions in Mumbai. As you know, we've increased the number of appointments we're offering through the end of the year, and we'd like to encourage those of you planning trips to the US to pick an appointment date most convenient for you by going online with VFS, our appointment contractor.
prasad asked, What is the current visa fees for HI Visa
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, Good news. The issuance (also known as reciprocity) fees for H visas (as well as B1/ B2 visas) were eliminated last week. What that means is that you must pay only the application fee (equivalent of US$100) and the VFS logistics fee.
Bachi asked, Hi, I am working in Wipro Technologies, If go for H1...do you consider where i am working in india? or else only do u consider where i wll be working in US?...on what basis you people process the H1 visa applications?
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, In any visa case, we consider many factors when determining eligibility. You can expect us to ask about your qualifications, professional and academic background. For H1b visas, the applicant must have an approved petition prior to making a visa appointment and being interviewed for his/ her visa.
sam24 asked, i have got B1 visa rejected 3 times, can i know the probability of getting visa this time
Glen Keiser, Consular Section Chief, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai answers, Sam, anyone applying for a temporary visitors visa for business or pleasure (a B1/B2 visa) is required to demonstrate that they will be going to the US temporarily and for a legitimate purpose, and that they'll be returning to their home country outside the US at the conclusion of their visit. Our officers will interview you about your social and economic ties in India, among other things. Your ties in the past may not have been strong enough to convince our officers that you were going to return to India, that you could finance your trip without working illegally, etc. If your ties have strengthened, we encourage you to apply again. However, if your situation hasn't changed in any significant way since your last interview, you should save your time and money until a future time. Good luck!
sheikhwaseem asked, what are the formailities for getting visa for 15 to 30 days . i want it for business purpose. and moreover i have heard its difficult for the muslims to get Us visa.. especially after 9/11 . is that true
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, Thanks for the question. It's true that after 9/11, US visa law changed and became stricter. We now require all visa applicants to come personally for an interview and to be fingerprinted prior to the issuance of a visa. However, it is absolutely NOT TRUE that that we single out any group or religion -- in other words, it is no more difficult for a Muslim than a Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, etc, to qualify for a visa. In your case, to travel for business, you should go to the VFS web site and apply for a visa interview in the B1/B2 category.
shahyogi asked, Hello Glen & Angela, Thanks for taking time to talk to us. I am a Business Development Manager in a BPO company in PUNE, my company plans to send me US to increase sales, meet new prospects, meet current clients and build relationships apart from which attend industry conferences, tradeshows etc. from time to time. I have applied for a B1 � Business Visa and have interview on 1st Dec. Question: 1. My visits to US will be on / off for months in a year, i.e. I'll go to visit clients in Jan then again for a conference in April and then may be upon good response of conference back to US to meet potentials and also other conferences in end of 2007 and same will be the process for coming years. For this do I have to always apply for a Visa or will I be eligible for a long term visa on above grounds. 2. I can bestow my company financial records and a letter for my sponsorship, is there any thing essential apart from this for me to offer? Thanks !! Yogesh
Glen Keiser, Consular Section Chief, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai answers, Shahyogi, our policy is to issue maximum validity visas whenever possible. A B1 or B2 visa will normally be issued with a 10-year validity and for multiple entries to the US. As for the records you'll need to present, there is nothing essential except the application forms and passport. You're welcome to bring whatever supporting documentation you wish, showing the viability of your company, your employment there, the reason for your travel, other social or economic ties in India, etc. We'll be focusing on our interview with you, rather than the documents per se, however. Thanks for the question!
PravinS asked, Dear Sir & Mam, My H1B job commencement date stated in offer letter is 4th Decemeber 2006 and visa interview date is 10th December 2006. Can this coz a problem ? Is it that the applicant has to be in the US before H1B job commencement date ?
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, This will not pose a problem. If the job letter is months old, is for instance if you were offered the job in March, we may ask you to return with a letter that indicates that the job is still available for you. However, a job letter within days of your visa interview is acceptable.
sdf asked, Is it necessary to apply for your wifes dependent visa along with your H1B visa. how fast can I get dependent visa for my wife after my visa approval.
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, It is not necessary for your wife (or children, if you have them) to apply for their dependant (H4) visas at the same time you apply for your H1b visa. Sometimes, however, it may be easier for you and your family to apply together -- you are welcome to do so. If you choose to apply at different times, your wife and kids may apply any time after you've received your visa.
cons asked, how long are visas for students valid?
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, Generally student visas are valid for up to five years or the length of the course of study.
Krishna R asked, Hi i am krishna. i am applying for an student visa. i got admisions to Universites. but since i got low score in GMAT, i have a fear of getting rejected during my Visa. I have decent ToEFl score and Acedamic scores.Do they consider these marks in Visa. Pls suggest me
Glen Keiser, Consular Section Chief, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai answers, Krishna, we receive a lot of applications from prospective students, and we'd like to encourage qualified applicants to study in the US. We think it's the best education in the world and a great way to build bridges between countries. That said, our immigration law is not really concerned with your GMAT scores. We are concerned that you've been accepted by an institution of higher education, as evidenced by the I-20 form issued to you by the school; that you have sufficiently good English to succeed in your program, if English is required; and that you have the financial resources to pay for your first year's school and living expenses, and the prospect of being able to pay for the remainder of your studies. Finally, as with the B1/B2 question I answered earlier, you have to show that you intend to return to India at the conclusion of your studies. Best of luck.
Prasanna asked, Dear Glen, please tell me if there is any email address that you have on your website or a helpline where our queries can be answered. Its so nice of rediff to have these things but you see not all the questions get answered. So may be we have something like that too.
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, I'm not Glen but I do have the answer. The first web site you want to take a look at is the VFS we bsite. VFS schedules all visa appointments throughout India and they have excellent information on their site. If you have a specific question that is not answered on the web site, you can email it to VFS (via the "contact us" pull-down on their website) or call VFS at (022) 66547600 (this is a toll call).
Deepak asked, you have mentioned that documents should be submitted five days before the interview date. is it applicable to all applicants who have already taken appointment personally at the vfs?
Glen Keiser, Consular Section Chief, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai answers, If you're going to apply at the consulate in Mumbai and you've dropped off your documents with VFS when you made your appointment at the VFS office, you should be ready to go.
Abhis asked, Hello Sir After getting approval from USCIS, what are percentage of getting H1B or rejected by Embassy? Is there any specific reason for that? Please let me know some reasons for not getting H1B after approval
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, We receive numerous questions about how many people are issued and how many people are refused visas. It is the US government policy not to release issuance or refusal rates. What we can tell you is that the vast majority of Indian visa applicants, are granted visas. In H1b cases, as in other, we are sometimes required to do administrative processing before we can make a final adjudication in the case. In that instance, the visa in not refused, but placed in "pending" status until we are able to complete processing.
rachit asked, i am also looking forward to doing my masters in hospitality and tourism management could you please help me for place wher i could get good advice on the visa procedures and also the good universities.
Glen Keiser, Consular Section Chief, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai answers, Rachit, the best source for visa procedures as we're applying them in India is the VFS website. For information on universities and studying in the US, you can consult the US Educational Foundation in India.
Dilip asked, Hello Sir, I am student who wishes to study in USA for fall 2007. When should i apply to get VISA appointment ? and how long will it take to get the VISA in hand ? Thank you Dilip
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, Hi Dilip. Before you make your visa appointment, you should apply to US universities. Once you have been accepted at one or more, you should determine which one you wish to attend. Upon acceptance at a US university, you will receive an I-20 form. Once you have that form, you may apply for your visa up to 1-20 prior to the start of your academic programme. Generally, we are able to process visas within a day or two and, if you qualify and your visa is issued, it will be sent to you by courier in two to three days.
dev asked, Hi good afternoon.i have a clarification to make my H1B was stamped this week but my passport is expiring in july 2007 and upon renewal of my passport,do i need to go consulate again for re-stamping.please advice.Thanks!! Dev
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, Good question. You visa will remain valid until the expiration date printed on it. When you travel to the US after July 2007, you should travel with your new passport and your old passport (the one with the valid visa in it).
jaison asked, sir I have applied for a f1 student visa. Should I submit all the documents prior to interview?
Glen Keiser, Consular Section Chief, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai answers, Please don't submit documents prior to your interview. If applying in Mumbai, you'll submit your passport and application form (and, as a student applicant, your 1-20 form) at the VFS office (there are three: in Mumbai, Pune, and Ahmedabad) at least five working days before your interview date. (If you're applying in New Delhi, Chennai, or Kolkata, processing is different in only one respect -- you needn't submit these basic documents to VFS in advance of your interview) You're welcome to bring any supporting documentation with you to your interview, but please remember -- we're focusing on you, not your documents.
rekha asked, Hello Sir, I already have a B1 visa, and I have new H1 petition approved and my appointment is scheduled in dec, once I get H1, will my B1 visa is cancelled.
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, No, Rekha. You are permitted under US law to have a valid B1 or B2 visa and a valid H1b visa at the same time.
Niveidhitha asked, Hi. My fiance is H1B visa holder. Im getting married in May. I need to fix Visa appointment on June 4. The visa dates available for appointment only till dec this year.When will the appointment dates for June be ready for selection in the website.
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, You're right that currently we only have visa appointment dates open until the end of the calendar year. We suggest that you log on to the VFS website in early May 2007 to look for appointment availability for June.
divya asked, wat is the maximum and minimum time in which one gets her u.s. visa
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, I'm not sure I understand your question completely but let me give it a shot. You can apply for a visa at the Consulate in Mumbai today and receive an appointment date by the end of November. If you apply for the most common type of visa, business/ tourist (B1/B2), and you qualify for the visa, you will generally receive a visa that is valid for 10 years from the date of your interview (5 years for children). Other visa categories have different maximum validity periods.
rekha asked, Sir- I have heard that from Nov-15'06, we need to submit all the documents to the VFS for H1 visa before 15 days of the interview date. Is this passed or can I carry the documents along with me for the interview.
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, If your interview is scheduled to be at the US Consulate General Mumbai, you must submit your documents to VFS five business days prior to your interview date. The procedures for doing so can be found on the VFS web site. If the documents have not been submitted in advance to VFS, we will not be able to conduct the visa interview on the scheduled date.
info asked, Hello sir, My B1 Visa has been refused under 221g for administrative processing. Still it is in pending process for more than 12 weeks pls suggest.
Glen Keiser, Consular Section Chief, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai answers, I've had a number of questions about section 221g of the US Immigration and Nationality Law. While I can't address the specifics of each one, I can say generally that this section of the law puts a case into a "pending" category. We'll do this when additional administrative processing is required or where an essential document is missing (such as the I-20 form for a prospective student). Such cases are rare, and we do as much as we can to see that they're completed as quickly as possible.
amcconss asked, Can anyone other than a blood relation give an affidavit of support for students and tourists?
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, Yes, however, it's important to point out that affidavits of support are not required for nonimmigrant visa interviews. A student or tourist should be able to demonstrate strong economic and social ties to India. An affidavit of support is generally not needed to do this.
Vishnu asked, Now when we try on VFS website, no dates are available for the month of January. Does this mean that this year's quota of 65,000 be over by December 2006. I have not taken my visa interview date and due to personal issues, can take interview only in January. Will a delayed interview date affect my chance of getting the VISA?
Glen Keiser, Consular Section Chief, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai answers, Vishnu, we have no quotas on visas, although if you're applying for an H1B visa, there is a cap of 65,000 on the number of petitions that can The Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. can approve in any one fiscal year. We in Mumbai will be opening January appointments in December, so keep checking the VFS site.
bali asked, hello sir, will my student visa be rejected if i show them i hv taken a loan for studies?
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai answers, Many students receive student loans to help pay the high cost of university tuition and fees. Taking out a student loan will not disqualify you from receiving a student visa. Student visa applicants should be able to show that they have been accepted by a US univeristy (form I-20), that they intend to study in the US, that they have sufficient funds to pay for the first year of their programme (can be via loan) and access to funds to pay for the following years, and that they have the intent to return to India at the completion of their studies.
Angela Kerwin, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief, US Consulate General, Mumbai says, Thanks very much for all of the great questions. I'm sorry we don't have time to answer all of them. Answers to many of your questions may be found on the FAQs portion of the VFS web site.
Glen Keiser, Consular Section Chief, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai says, It was a pleasure chatting with you. Sorry we couldn't have gotten to more of your questions.
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