Frequently Asked Questions
Choose a category:
- Damaged, Expiring or Incorrect Visas and Passports
- Working in the United States
- Arriving in America / I-94
- Refused 214(b)/Administrative Processing 221(g)
- Lost or Stolen Passport / Visa
- Appointments and Interviews
- Students and Exchange Visitors
- Voluntary Departure/Deportation
Why does my visa say "FNU"?
If you have only one name or if your name appears in only one line in your passport, then on the visa your full name will only be printed in the surname field and "First Name Unknown", or "FNU," will be printed in the given name field. We recommend obtaining a new passport with both given names and surnames if possible.
My passport expires within the next year, but I want to apply for a U.S. visa. What should I do?
Please obtain a new passport before you pay any visa fees or book an appointment.
Please obtain a new passport before your interview if:
- Your passport is going to expire in less than 6 months after the time you enter the United States.
- The film on the biographic data pages of your passport (i.e., page with your photo and back page with your parents' information) is peeling or
- Your passport is otherwise torn, damaged, mutilated or has been washed or laundered.
U.S. visas cannot be placed in damaged passports!
My passport is going to expire soon. It contains a valid U.S. visa. Do I need to get a new visa for my new passport?
No. As long as the passport issuing authority does not punch holes through your current and valid U.S. visa, you may use it to travel to the U.S. You should carry both your new passport and your old passport containing a valid U.S. visa.
I just received a U.S. visa, but it has been accidentally damaged. Do I need to reapply?
If your visa has been damaged, you will need to reapply for a new visa.
My visa was printed incorrectly. What do I do?
If you think your visa was printed incorrectly and your visa interview took place at this Consulate, please email email@example.com and explain why you think there is an error. If necessary, we will provide instructions on how to submit your passport.
I received a B1/B2 visa from a previous employer. If I have left that job, is it still valid for traveling with a new company or will that visa be cancelled?
The visa is valid until its expiration date. B1/B2 visas are issued by the U.S. Consulate to individuals, not employers.
More information on working the United States is available here.
Can I check the Petition Information Management Service (PIMS)in advance?
No, you cannot check it in advance. The officer will verify the details on the day of your appointment. PIMS updates usually take 2-3 days; there is no way to expedite this process.
Will my B1/B2 visa be cancelled when I apply for an H1-B?
No, you can hold a B visa and an L or H work visa at the same time. However, if you are issued a B1 in Lieu of H visa, your B1/B2 visa will be cancelled.
I am a holder of a valid H-1B/L-1 visa but want to change my employer. What do I do?
You must notify U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for any change to your employment status.
I left the U.S. and have a valid petition, but my visa has expired. I need to return to the U.S. to continue my work. What do I do next?
You must apply for a new visa to re-enter the U.S.
I was recently in the U.S. and changed my status from one classification to another, for example, F-1 to H-1B. Do I need a visa to return to the U.S.?
Yes. You must apply for the appropriate visa and bring to your visa interview appointment Form I-797 (Notice of Action) that shows your approved change of status.
More information on arrival procedures in the U.S. is available here.
I did not turn in my I-94 when I left the United States. What should I do?
If you returned home with your departure record Form I-94 (white) or Form I-94W (green) in your passport, your departure was not properly recorded. For the most current procedures on submitting Form I-94 in order to correct a U.S. travel record, please click here.
How long can I stay in the United States?
If you are allowed to enter the U.S., the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official will determine the length of your visit on the Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94, below). Because Form I-94 officially documents your authorized length of stay in the U.S., it is very important to keep it with your passport. You must depart the U.S. on or before the last day you are authorized to be in the U.S. on any given trip. Failure to do so could affect your eligibility to obtain visas in the future.
What if my case is pending for Administrative Processing under Section 221(g)?
If the consular officer puts your case on hold under Section 221(g), it means your visa application was not complete or requires further administrative action. Processing times are different for every applicant. When the processing is finished, the passport will be returned to you by courier. Before you contact us, please know that we cannot provide updates on your status once the processing has begun, and we cannot expedite the processing of your case. Please see Refused and Pending Visas for more information.
Can I reapply if I was refused a visa under 214(b)?
If you are able to provide new information or if your overall circumstances have changed significantly, you may wish to re-apply following the same procedures as any other applicant. Reapplying is the only way to have your application reconsidered.
Why didn't the Consular Officer give me time to explain?
The consular officer who denied your visa is highly trained to evaluate all relevant aspects of your case, such as financial and family circumstances, the stated intent for visiting the United States, travel history, and many other factors. The officer asked the appropriate questions to obtain the relevant information, weighed your answers with the other facts of the case, and made a decision based on that information.
Why didn't the consular officer look at my documents?
Applying for a non-immigrant visa is not a documentary process. Consular officers never rely on documents alone, although they may help support information you provide at the interview. If the consular officer made a decision in your case without reviewing documents, it was because the circumstances of your situation were clear. If your visa was refused, it is highly unlikely that any document you could provide would significantly alter the consular officer's decision about your case.
Why can't I get my money back?
All applicants for a U.S. visa must pay a non-refundable application fee. It cannot be returned if an applicant fails to establish that he or she qualifies for a visa.
What should I do if my visa is lost or stolen?
You must report the loss of your passport and visa to the local Indian Police and obtain a police report. Please report the loss of the visa to the Fraud Prevention Unit at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Your name, date and place of birth, and nationality.
- Your address and phone number.
- A photocopy of the lost visa, if available, or the date and place of issuance, if known.
- A photocopy of the bio-data page of your lost passport, if available. If not, the nationality and number of your lost passport as well as the issuance and expiration dates, if available.
- Circumstances of the loss: When and how your passport was lost or stolen.
- Copy of the police report for the stolen passport
How soon should I apply for my appointment?
Apply early! The wait times for appointments by post are available at the Department of State Travel site.
Although the majority of applications are processed and ready to pick up within 2 business days, some applications will require administrative processing. We cannot predict in advance which applications will require administrative processing, not do we know how long it will take. Please apply at least 6-8 weeks before you plan to travel, and do not book tickets or hotels until you have a visa.
What documents should I bring to the interview? Alongwith your documents relavant to your travel, you must bring the following to your visa appointment:
- Appointment Letter
- A copy of the DS- 160 confirmation page.
- A copy of the passport biographic page and also copy of observation page if any
Additional Documents for selected visa class:
H and L Visa – Original and a copy of I-797 also previous I-797 if any.
F / M / J Visa – Copy of I-20/ DS 2019 and Sevis receipt.
I need to travel a few days after my interview. Can I take my passport with me at the end of the interview?
Yes. If a visa is granted during the interview, you may request the interviewing consular officer to return your passport. However, this will delay the final processing of your visa. Please email email@example.com for more information about resubmitting your passport. After the Consulate receives your passport, we will continue to process, print and deliver your passport to the document delivery location you have selected.
My wife and I just had a baby. Do babies need appointments?
Children below 14 years of age are not required to physically appear for an interview. In addition, please visit the website www.ustraveldocs.com/in to see if your child qualifies for the Interview Waiver Program.
My child needs a visa. Do my wife and I have to attend the visa interview with our child?
Yes. If a child does not qualify for the Interview Waiver Program, then one parent is required to attend the interview. Children below 14 years of age are not required to physically appear for the interview.
Can I accompany an applicant into the waiting room?
No, only applicants with appointment letters are allowed inside the visa waiting hall. Exceptions are allowed for those requiring a translator (if none is available at the Consulate); for the hearing impaired; for wheelchair attendants. The decision to admit non-applicants is at the discretion of the Consulate staff.
How long before my planned travel date should I apply for a visa?
It is strongly advisable to apply in advance for your U.S. visa. The current wait time for visa appointments is available at the Department of State Travel site. Some visas may not be issued immediately after the interview due to required additional administrative processing. We cannot predict how long that process will take, so please do not make travel plans until your visa has been issued.
How do I reschedule an appointment?
Reschedule appointments through www.ustraveldocs.com/in.
Students and Exchange Visitors
What if I receive an I-20 Form from a better school?
If you receive a SEVIS I-20 Form from a new school in the U.S. and wish to attend that school, then you will need to apply for a new visa and pay the application fee.
How soon can I apply for my student visa?
You cannot apply earlier than 120 days from the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. Please note that students are not allowed to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. All student applicants should apply as early as possible.
Am I required to pay the first year's tuition expenses in advance and show a receipt from the school?
No. Payment of tuition expenses in advance is good evidence that you are able to finance your studies in the U.S., but it is not a requirement in order to qualify for a visa.
How do I prove I can pay for the program? What financial documents will you review?
Financial documents are not required for visa interviews. Officers often do not review documents. All student applicants should be prepared to clearly explain financing for their studies. Documents are not forbidden, and may on occasion be reviewed by the interviewing consular officer.
It is three days before the start date on my I-20 and my visa is still being processed. What should I do?
Please contact your school and request an extension letter or a new I-20. Inform them that your visa is still being processed. When you receive an extension letter or new I-20, please send a copy to the Embassy immediately. Please remember that visa processing cannot be expedited.
I am an unmarried female student going to study in the U.S. Can my father (or my brother) receive a student visa to accompany me to the United States?
Only children under 21 and spouses qualify to accompany students. Other family members must apply for a Business and Tourism (B1/B2) visa. This means that the family member will not be able to live in the United States for the full term of the F1 student visa, and must exit the country within the time given by the Customs and Border Protection officer. Most visitors on a B1/B2 visa are admitted for six months, after which they must depart or may request an extension.
Can the "Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement" be waived?
Yes. You may apply for a waiver of the requirement under any one of the five applicable grounds provided by U.S. immigration law. For more information, please read here.
What should I do if I am turned around at the port of entry or deported from the United States?
In this case, you should visit the Consulate General in person, on any working day at 10 a.m. with the following documents.
- Airplane tickets/boarding tickets for return to India
- Any other deportation related forms / documents provided by officials in the US.
For any queries on Voluntary Departure / Deportation cases, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org