USA Tourist Visa For Indians: Tips and Requirements.

The Shooting Star

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 Central America, New York and California, and was pleasantly surprised by how easy the process was. I walked away with a 10-year B1 tourist visa, which also gives me ‘visa on arrival’ access to many other countries!

The visa application process is long drawn, 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 my tips to help you enter the promised land:

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 don’t leave any section unanswered), sign it electronically, upload a passport-size photo…

View original post 733 more words

Advertisements

Hong Kong & Macau

My wife and I recently visited both Hong Kong and Macau on our Indian passports. Our passports were brand new with new previous visas from any country. We were issued visas on arrival and allowed entry into both HK and Macau with no questions asked, no visa fees or any other complication. We got 14-day stay permissions. Both regions no longer stamp visitor passports, but instead give you a small paper slip with details of how long you can stay – try not to loose this slip.

Fiji – Hassle free Visa on Arrival

Fiji gives visa on arrival to a large number of countries. My wife and I recently visited Fiji using our Indian Passports, and had no trouble entering or exiting without a visa. We had to fill an immigration form and a health-declaration (ebola related). The immigration officers didn’t ask for anything else. They just stamped our passport with a 4 month stay permit and let us in. Didn’t cost any money either.

FYI – we used fresh passports – with no previous visas or even entry stamps from any other country.

Police Verification Part 2 – LIU Check

About a week after the first part of the police verification was complete (click for previous post), my landline rang. The local intelligence unit (LIU) was calling. They asked me to come to their office – didn’t ask to bring any specific documents. The person had asked me to come on Saturday morning – but he wasn’t there when I reached.

Anyway, he spoke quite nicely to me on the phone, and obliged me by coming to my house on Sunday morning. He asked the following questions (can’t remember every question):

  • What do you do?
  • More probing questions about my work
  • Are you sure you don’t do service in Delhi and actually live there? (as opposed to my home town where this check was taking place)
  • How long have you lived at this address?
  • Other general questions

He also asked to look at the following documents:

  • Old passport
  • Additional address proof – he demanded a voter ID card, but I showed him a gas connection document – which was fine.
  • Photograph

He took my signature on a number of documents, and finally took a bribe (Rs. 1000) and left. I haven’t heard any further – so I assume all is well, and the police verification is complete.

Police Verification – Tatkaal Passport

The local police in my home town (small town in UP) were quite efficient about it. About 10 days after my passport was approved, I got a phone call from the police station. They asked me to submit the following documents at the station:

  • 2 passport police verification affidavits signed by my two local reference persons (the people I had specified on my passport application). This is a standard affidavit, and is available from any registrar/notary.
  • 2 proofs of address (I had a copy of my Punjab National Bank passbook and a gas connection in my name)
  • 2 photographs

All seemed pretty straightforward. Except that I couldn’t visit the police station in person (I was traveling for work). It was sorted out after paying a Rs. 1000 bribe to the official in-charge.

So, it seems, that the police verification is complete. Though I have no way of actually checking the status – the passportindia.gov website doesn’t seem to have any information on this.

The police never actually visited my home.

Finally some relief with the Passport Application – 5th visit.

Today was my 5th visit to the Ghaziabad PSK since last July. They finally accepted my application. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed till I actually have the new passport in my hands.

The day was positive – but not without some drama. In my old passport, my father’s name was spelt “Rajeev”. But his name is actually spelt “Rajiv” in all other documents, including in the verification certificate (Annexure F) that I had got made for my passport application. I had to spend some time convincing the head of the passport centre that it is a minor spelling difference. Finally she agreed and let me use the verification certificate with “Rajiv” (though she refused to let me update the spelling in the new passport).

Let’s hope this comes through.

For those looking for guidance on passport application matters, please refer to a series of posts by me (in chronological order). This should give you a fair idea of what to expect.

1. https://insertindian.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/trouble-renewing-passport-last-passport-was-issued-abroad/
2. http://dharmbhai.blogspot.in/2011/08/passport-tatkal-annexure-f-woes-galore.html
3. https://insertindian.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/passport-application-round-2/
4. https://insertindian.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/passport-application-round-3-failed-again-annexure-f-too-old/
5. https://insertindian.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/passport-woes-continue-the-system-really-needs-some-streamlining/