Steps to apply for a B1/B2 visitor visa for parents (India) while on a J1, L1, F1, or H1 visa with a documents checklist, and an end-to-end US visitor visa application process.
When I applied for my parents' US visitor visa several years ago, I was personally on a J1 visa. I went through the application process and successfully obtained their US visitor visa. Furthermore, I have gained experience in applying for a US visitor visa for my family and relatives. In these cases, the sponsoring party held either an F1 visa, an L1 visa, an H1 visa, or a green card.
My own experience has given me valuable knowledge about the entire process of obtaining a US visitor visa, from beginning to end. I am eager to share the step-by-step procedure for applying for a US visitor visa. If you haven't read my previous post on B1/B2 visitor visas, you can begin here to catch up.
Once your parents get a B1/B2 visitor visa they can typically stay in the USA for up to 6 months (in most cases) in a single stretch. I have explained the B2 visa length of stay in detail earlier, and I have provided the link below if you want to read about it.
Related: B2 visa length of stay
Usually, a US visitor visa is granted for a period of 10 years, but in some cases, it may be issued for a shorter duration; this varies on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, don't assume a US visitor visa is always approved, I have seen multiple cases of B1/B2 visa rejections.
Table of Contents: B2 visa documents checklist for parents
Fill DS-160 Form Online
The first step is to fill out the DS-160 form online. Click on this link, which will take you to the USCIS website. Select your country, enter the code (captcha), and start your DS-160 application process.
Once you start your DS-160 application an application ID will be generated for your case. You will be asked to fill out all the information. You should save your application at each step and retrieve your application later by using your application number. Keep saving your progress otherwise your information will be lost and you might have to rework.
The details you would need to fill out in the applications are name, address, passport details, travel details, contact information, family information, work, education details, etc.
At the end of the DS-160 form if you are filling out this form on behalf of your parents then you can add your information in the section of preparer details. If your parents have filled out the form then they can add their own details.
Once the form is completed, you can submit the application. No changes can be made after submission so make sure all the information is correct.
After submission, a confirmation page will be generated, save this PDF since you need it for the interview later. Additionally, one can print/save an entire application form for future reference. The confirmation form will have a barcode and your application number. This page is important and you need to take this confirmation page to the visa office.
You would need to fill out separate DS-160 forms if you are planning to apply for both parents' visas (mother & father).
Schedule a US Visa Appointment (India)
Next step, You need to schedule an appointment for the US visa interview and biometrics here. Choose the alphabet with which your country starts. In my case it was India, you can click the link here for India.
Choose a non-immigrant visa and then click on login, at the end, you will be taken here.
You need to register here and a login will be created. Once you log in you can choose the place where you would like the interview to happen. Basically, If you are applying from India, the appointment will be available in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata. You can choose the location that is convenient for you.
You can also choose the language in which you need the interview. For example, if your parents are not comfortable in English you can choose Hindi or any other language as well.
US Visa Fee Payment
After that, you can fill out the other information and at the end, it will ask you to pay the MRV fee for booking the appointment, which was 12,000 INR (per person) in my case. This might change in the future.
I added my mother's name in the same login I created for my father and I had to pay a total of 24,000 INR. You do not need two accounts, you can add your parents as a family in the same account and book visa interview appointments.
There will be several ways to make the payment like online or by going to the bank. I used the online method where I transferred the MRV fee to the account number provided.
B1/B2 Visa Appointment
Once you make the payment a receipt number will be generated. Using that receipt number you can move forward to make a B1/B2 visa appointment for biometrics and interviews by logging back in here. You need to make two appointments which will happen on different days at different locations.
Once you log in, it will ask you to make an appointment. The first appointment will be given for Biometrics and the second date will be booked for the interview.
The first appointment to give biometrics is usually at the Visa Application Center (VAC) or Offsite Facility Center (OFC). Second appointment for the visa interview at the US consulate. Usually, a VAC appointment should be done a few days before the interview date.
Tip: You can reschedule the appointment up to four times afterward the rescheduling will not be available for you.
On the Day of the US Visa Appointment
Go to the VAC appointment where biometrics and pictures will be taken for you. Then attend the visa interview, where you will be interviewed by a US consular officer.
They can ask you anything related to your application, your job, your plan of traveling, and the details of your child/relative living in the US who is sponsoring your trip, etc. I explained all the interview questions in the previous blog.
At both places make sure to take all the supporting documents applicable to your case since they can ask you for this. At the end of the interview, they will keep your original passport in order to issue the visa.
B2 Visa Documents Checklist for Parents
List of supporting documents of sponsor like J1, L1, F1 or H1B visa holders for B2 visa application
The last 3 months of pay stubs
Bank statement for proof of funds
Employment verification letter
Copy of passport and visa pages
Copy of latest I-94
I-129S approved letter (for L1) or DS2019 (for J1) or I-797A (for H1B)
B2 visa documents I asked my parents to bring in
Employment letter (In case parents are working)
Bank statement with sufficient balance (parent’s)
Aadhar card (I have asked my parents to take all the useful IDs they can bring in)
DS-160 confirmation page
Appointment confirmation page
B1/B2 Visa Status Check
You can check the status of your US visitor visa here. Hopefully, you find this blog helpful. Please drop me a line in the comments section below if you have any queries. I have added a few more topics which will help your parents.
B1 B2 Visa Interview Questions for Parents
B2 visa interview questions for parents visiting the US. Consulate officers might ask you questions about five main topics. These questions will be about the same thing but phrased differently to understand your reason for traveling. These five topics are:
Travel Purpose: Why are you traveling to the US? Who do you plan to visit, and what activities do you intend to do during your stay? For instance, if your trip is for tourism, you can mention the places you'd like to visit.
Duration of Stay: How long do you intend to stay in the US? You can simply explain that you plan to spend time with your family in the US and then return.
Accommodation: Where will you be staying during your visit to the US? Simply tell me you will be staying with your son or daughter in so and so city. If you can remember their city or complete address, it's good.
Financial Situation: Who is funding your trip, and do you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses? Can you provide evidence of your financial stability? Are you currently employed? These questions help them ensure that you have the financial stability to visit the US.
Travel History: Have you previously visited the US or any other countries? Do you have a history of international travel?
Make sure to give truthful answers to these questions. If you can't remember something, it's okay to tell the officer you don't know. For instance, if you can't remember where your son works or his complete address, it's alright to say so.
But it's a good idea to have this information with you if you can. Having a copy of the invitation letter can also be helpful in these situations because the invitation letter will contain this type of information, which you can then show to the officer. I have provided the link below if you have missed it.
Can I fill out DS 160 for my parents?
Yes, you can fill out DS 160 for your parents. I have done it several times and obtained their US visitor visa successfully.
How to apply B1/B2 tourist visa for parents?
To apply for a B1/B2 visa for your parents (visitor visas for business and tourism), you'll need to follow these 8 steps:
Complete the DS-160 form online
Pay the visa fee
Schedule the visa appointment
Gather the required documents
Attend visa interview
Go through biometric
Wait for visa approval
Travel to the U.S.
Next: Continue reading
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