Frequently Asked Questions
Choose a category:
- Fraudulent Job Offers
- Damaged, Expiring or Incorrect Visas and Passports
- Working in the United States
- Arriving in America / I-94
- Refusals 214(b) and Administrative Processing 221(g)
- Lost or Stolen Passport / Visa
- Appointments and Interviews
- Students and Exchange Visitors
- Inviting a Consular Officer to Speak to Our Group
Why does my visa say "FNU"?
If you have only one name, or if your name appears in one line in your passport, your full name goes in the surname field and "first name unknown", or "FNU," goes in the given name. We recommend obtaining a new passport with given 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. If you have an urgent need to travel, schedule an appointment or email us through online appointment system with your passport number and explanation of the emergency to see if you can proceed with your appointment.
Please obtain a new passport before your interview if:
- You must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your planned departure from the United States (unless exempted by country-specific agreements).
- The film on the biographic data pages of your passport (i.e., page with your photo and back page with your parents' information) is separating from the pages in your passport, 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 U.S. visa, you may use it to travel to the U.S. You should carry both your new, valid passport and your old passport that contains your 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. You may contact email@example.com for more information.
My visa was printed incorrectly. What do I do?
If you think your visa was printed incorrectly and your visa interview took place at the U.S. Embassy, New Delhi, please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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 to individuals, not employers.
More information on working in the United States is available at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services site.
Can I check Petition Information Management Service (PIMS)in advance?
No, you cannot check it in advance. The officer will verify the details on the day of the 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) when you make 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 an I-797 Form (Notice of Action) that shows you changed your status.
More information on arrival procedures in the U.S. is available at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection site.
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 turning in your I-94 in order to correct your travel record, please click on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection site.
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). Since Form I-94 documents your authorized length of stay in the U.S., it's 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. More information on Refused and Pending Visas is available at this website.
Can I reapply if I was refused a visa under 214(b)?
If you now have new information, or if your overall circumstances have changed significantly, you may re-apply following the same procedures as any other applicant. Re-applying is the only way to have your application reconsidered.
Why didn't the Consular Officer give me time to explain?
The Consular Officer who refused your visa is trained to evaluate all aspects of your case, such as your financial and family situation in India, your stated intent in visiting the United States, your 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 your 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 only on documents, 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 you fail to establish that you qualify for the 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: email@example.com.
- 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.
Lost or stolen U.S. visas cannot be replaced. For replacement of a visa, you must apply in person at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. When applying for the replacement of a visa, you will need to explain the loss of your passport and visa.
If you have already reported your visa lost/stolen to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and then you later find your misplaced visa, please note that the visas will be invalid for future travel to the U.S. You must apply in person at the Embassy or Consulate for a new visa.
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.
When will new appointment slots open?
Reducing wait times is one of our top priorities. We release appoints several weeks in advance. If those appointments are immediately filled, we assess our capacity for opening new appointments, and release those dates incrementally.
I need to travel a few days after my interview. Can I take my passport with me at the end of the interview?
Yes. After you return from your travels, send your passport back to the Embassy. We will then continue to process and print your visa and will return you passport by courier. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about resubmitting your passport.
My wife and I just had a baby. Do babies need appointments?
The application process is the same for babies as it is for adults, except they do not need a separate appointment. In other words, you must pay all applicable fees, and follow the application process for each applicant. Note: this exception to standard procedures is only for new children.
My child needs a visa. Do my wife and I have to attend the visa interview with our child?
Yes. Both parents should attend the visa interview with their child if possible. Where one parent is unable to attend the visa interview with the child, the absent parent should provide a letter to their wife or husband that states they have no objection to the child’s application for a visa.
Can I accompany an applicant into the waiting room?
Due to security concerns and space limitations, U.S. consular sections do not permit interested parties such as friends, relatives, attorneys or business contacts to attend the visa interview with the applicant.
If an interested party wishes to provide information to a specific consular section concerning a particular visa applicant, they are encouraged to supply this information directly to the applicant. The applicant can then bring this information with them to the visa interview.
How long before my planned travel date should I apply for a visa?
The current wait time for visa appointments are 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.
What if I receive an I-20 Form from a better school?
If you receive an SEVIS I-20 Form from a better school and wish to attend that school you will need to change the name of the school printed on your visa. To do this you will have to apply for another visa and pay the Application Fee and Service Charge again.
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. If you receive your visa, you are not allowed to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. You should apply as you soon as possible in case of delays issuing your visa.
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 can finance your studies in the U.S., but it is not a requirement to pay in advance and show a receipt.
How do I prove I can pay for the program? What financial documents will you review?
Financial documents are not required for visa interviews. Typically, officers will not review these documents and will ask you questions about how you plan to pay. Documents are not forbidden, and may on occasion be reviewed, but we discourage applicants from going through trouble and expense of gathering accountant's statements and property appraisals.
My academic program is starting soon but there are no more appointments available this month. What should I do?
Send a request through the emergency appointment module at www.ustraveldocs.com/in with your passport number, SEVIS number, I20 start dates, and an explanation of your circumstances.
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 seek 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 visit the Department of State Travel site.
Can I speak to a consular officer directly? Consular officers are happy to meet groups of students, travel agents or other businesses to present the visa process and answer general queries. Contact us through the email@example.com to request a meeting.
Fraudulent Job Offers
I received a job offer from a company that said it would get me a U.S. visa but asked me to pay money. Is this legitimate?
- You receive an offer of a job for which you have not applied
- You are asked to pay to get a U.S. work visa
- You are asked for your bank account details in order to get a job or visa
- You are asked to contact someone specific at or meet someone near the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
How to find out if a U.S. company is genuine:
- Phone the job-offering company in the U.S. and ask detailed questions about the company and the job. Genuine companies do not usually give a mobile number for employment contact. Request a landline number. Compare the area dialing code with the given location of the company.
- Most genuine US companies do not use a hotmail or yahoo type email account. The offer may show genuine U.S.-company websites but email addresses may be false. Example: genuine website - www.uscis.gov. False contact details – firstname.lastname@example.org
Visa application and fees: The official website for information about the visa application process is http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/. All fees and instructions are listed there. If you are given different instructions, contact email@example.com
If you have been cheated through a job scam, immediately report it to the Indian police. This is an international crime.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division enforces more than 400 different violations of criminal law, ranging from those involving child exploitation to transnational gangs.
To report potential employment fraud, any other potential violation or a security threat to the United States click here.
For more information please review information on the State Department's website.