Detailed Visa Appointment Procedure

Printer-friendly versionPDF version
United States

Appointments' procedures for all non-immigrant visas are the same. This is from my personal experience in Nov 2005.

Step 1.
Make the two payments - either by DD or cash at the designated branch of HDFC bank. Take copy of passport along. Get receipt of the payment. There'll be a barcode sticker on the receipt which will also have the number which will be your receipt no. for all future references. This can be done by the individual applying for the visa or any representative but should carry the Passport copy of the individual travelling.

Step 2.
Wait for two days. Be patient, dont do this before 2 business days. Then go online to and click on "apply for a non-immigrant visa". Fill up all the details to create a new application. You will not see emergency dates, instead you will see the regular availabe dates only. If you are applying fir emergency situation, dont worry - complete the form(s) and at the end you'll see a button for "Emergency" application. Note that you must fall under the emergency appointments criteria which I am listing at the end of this posting. Choose the type of emergency and then you will see the earliest available EMERGENCY Dates.

Once you are done getting the dates, remember to fill the DS156, DS157, etc. forms online itself. Remember that for address on the forms give your permanent India address.

Step 3.
Fill out all the forms and gather documents. Note - these are documents for getting appointment and not the ones to take for the interview. These are:
a> Valid passport.
b> One photograph as per specification (note, mumbai's VFS has a photo booth inside the office so no need to get it done before hand although I'd advice to carry your copy)
c> Original signed form DS-156 (printout from the web) (remember to print this form back-to back on one page only)
d> Original form DS-157 (printout from the web)
e> Original form DS-158, if applicable (printout from the web)
f> Original, valid HDFC Bank visa fee receipt
g> Demand draft for Issuance Fee (has to be DD, no cash here)
h> Appointment letter (printout from the web)
This has to be done 5 days before the appointment

Step 4
Go to conulate for interview (do not carry any bags or any other stuff except your papers in a plastic bag.) Nothing digital NOT EVEN DIGITAL WATCHES (I had to give away mine to a stranger for fear of loosing my appointment)

Step 5
If approved pick up the passport the same evening at VFS center or get it in courier in a few days. I'd suggest if its so much an emergency, pickup personally, dont depend on the courier.

Step 6 Optional
Relax and have an ice-cream at a nice restaurant

NOTE these are steps for online processing. If you at anti-internet and want to do it personally then skip Step 2. Instead fill out the DS forms personally. Then in step 3 carry all these documents and personally go to VFS to schedule an appoint as well as submit the documents. Now here since you've not scheduled you appointment, you'll have to do this as early as possible.

(Dis)Advantages?? Not aware of but here's what happened to me. I scheduled my emergency appt. online and then went to VFS requesting an even earlier date and the person over the counter said that since I got the appt online, there's nothing that they can do. Now, I dont know and am not sure if had I schedules the appt. personally, would they have been able to help me out.

I'd suggest (and my personal suggestion) if you stay nearby ( say in and around Mumbai) do it personally, I feel that gives you more control - Probably. If its online I guess, it directly goes into system. BUT on the other hand online is clean, simple and less hassle.


Here are the Criteria for emergency appointment:
A. Medical Care: Purpose of travel is to obtain emergency medical care, or to accompany a relative or employer for emergency medical care.
Essential documentation:
- A letter from the doctor in India describing the medical condition, such as the urgency of the need to travel and certifying that such care is not available in India.
- A letter from the physician or hospital in the United States indicating that they are prepared to treat the case, and providing the approximate cost of the treatment.
- Evidence of how one shall pay for the cost of the treatment.

B. Funeral/Death: Purpose of travel is to attend the funeral of an immediate family member (mother, father, brother, sister, child, grandparent or grandchild) in the United States.
Essential documentation:
- A letter from the funeral director stating the contact information and details of the deceased and date of the funeral
- Evidence that the deceased is an immediate relative

Please note: If the travel on account of Medical Care of Funeral/Death has to take place within the next 3 days, please e-mail and put "Medical Care" or "Funeral/Death" in the subject line

C. Business: Purpose of travel is to attend to a business matter where the travel requirement could not be predicted sufficiently in advance.
Essential documentation, as applicable:
- A letter from a BEP member company with proper authorized signatures on file with the consular section.
- A letter of invitation from the corresponding company in the United States attesting to the urgency of the planned visit, describing the nature of the business and that either the US or Indian company will suffer a significant lost opportunity if an emergency appointment is not available.
- Evidence of a necessary training program in the United States of three months duration or less, to include letters from both the Indian employer and U.S. company providing the training.
- Contracts, letters of credit and/or other documents demonstrating a business relationship and a need to travel urgently.

D. Students and exchange Visitors who are within 90 days of their start date of a valid programme as indicated on their form, and who have not been refused a visa within the last six months can use the emergency/priority scheduling online.
Essential documentation:
- Form I-20 or DS-2019 indicating start date of programme within 90 days.

E. Workers. If you are already working in the U.S. and are returning to your job you can use the emergency/priority scheduling online.
IMPORTANT: Emergency appointments can only be given to first time applicants for an H or L visa if they are returning to continue their employment, for instance after a change of status to H or L while in the States. Dependents do not qualify for emergency scheduling unless applying at the same time as the principal.
Essential documentation:
- Evidence such as a previous visa, form I-797 or I-129 to demonstrate that they are returning to their previously authorized employment in the United States and proof that employment is authorized.

Emergency appointments can NOT be given to travelers intending to attend a wedding or graduation ceremony, nor to first-time applicants for an H or L visa traveling to the States to START employment.

All the best,
Sarosh dara

Nonimmigrant Visas: