Having your parents visit you in America can be a dream come true for both you and your parents. However, I know that many parents feel apprehensive about the visa application process. The good news is that you can help out your parents get a visitors visa by applying on their behalf.
Before I start, you should know that the B-1/B-2 visitor visa is issued to people traveling to the US for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2). The visitor visa category that you should therefore apply for is the B-2, since your parents will be traveling to the US to meet family and friends, and do some sightseeing. In case your parents are traveling to America to seek medical treatment, they too will need to apply for a B-2 visitor visa.
Related: Tips for Indian parents visiting USA
Here’s a look at the process for applying for the B-2 visitors visa.
Photograph for the Visa Application
A digital photograph is mandatory for every individual applying for a visitor visa. When getting photographed at a studio, make sure you mention to that you need it for the US B-2 visitor visa, since there are specific parameters that the photograph should meet, such as print size, resolution, color and more.
Fill Form DS-160
Form DS16 is an online non-immigrant visa application form that needs to be completed online. After you have filled in and submitted this form, you will receive a barcode number on the Form DS-160 confirmation page. Keep this barcode number safe, since it will be required to schedule the visa interview. You might also want to keep a print of this barcode and bring it to the interview, just in case they ask for it.
Pay the Visa Fee
Before you schedule the US visitor visa interview, you’ll need to pay a visa fee. You can pay the fee either electronically as a bank transfer or in cash at the designated Axis Bank or Citibank branches throughout India.
Get the Interview Appointment
The visa interview is crucial step towards obtaining a visitor visa. The applicant is required to schedule two appointments, one for the biometrics data of the applicant at the Visa Application Center (VAC) for fingerprint and digital photograph. The other one is an appointment for the US visa interview at the applicable US embassy or consulate. Both appointments can be scheduled either online or at the center.
When scheduling a VAC appointment, you have the option to choose from any of five centers. Try to choose a center in the same city you live in or closest to your residence for both the VAC and personal interview appointment. This will save you from any kind of last minute hassle or delay.
Related: Checklist for parents visiting USA
If you are trying to make the appointments online, do know that effective from September 26, 2012, all US visa appointments will be done by a third-party organization, www.ustraveldocs.com/in. This organization works to manage the administrative functions related to the visa application process. Using this system, you can also pay the visa fee online, directly through the website.
When scheduling both appointments, make sure the VAC appointment is scheduled at least one day before the visa interview appointment.
The next step would be to appear for both appointments. When appearing for the visa interview, make sure you bring all the necessary documents. The consular officer might ask you for them. Visit this link to know the documents you’ll need for this purpose.
Got questions? Ask me in comments.