Perhaps the most arduous job is to complete the processing for the visa application. The document requirement differs with each visa type. For a person applying for an H4 visa the following list will be useful. Remember that the H4 visa is classified as a nonimmigrant visa. This means that as a visa applicant you desire to be in the United States for the duration of the visa.
Step 1 Work on the filing system
Prepare a separate file for H4 visa documents. Keep the documents organized in a neat and orderly manner. This will help you to quickly extract relevant papers. Remember that you have to carry all the documents with you at the time of Interview. The Consulate does not accept faxed documents.
Step 2 Pay the fee
You have to pay a Nonimmigrant visa application fee (non-refundable). The fee can be paid at a participating HDFC bank in cash or by demand draft favoring “US Embassy – Visa Fees”. I got my draft ready as soon as I started the process. Currently the amount is Rs. 7205. You will also need to pay a logistics fee of Rs. 374. The fee is applicable for 1 year from purchase of the HDFC draft or date of issuance of receipt, whichever is later.
Step 3 Apply for an appointment with the Consulate
Look for available dates for the interview. You can do this online at VFS website
Step 4 Filling Documents
- Please complete and signed a Non Immigrant Visa Application Form DS-156.
- You may need to sign a supplemental Non immigrant Visa Application Form called DS-157.
- You must have one recent (within the past six months) passport size photograph 50mmX 50mm (2″ x 2″) with a white or off-white background. Be very careful about the background requirement. I ended up having a photo clicked twice because of the wrong background colour.
- A passport valid for travel for at least six months after the date of entry in to the U.S.
Once you have completed the above process sit back and have a cup of coffee. At the time of the interview your folder must have the following
- The Demand Drafts
- Your Passport
- The completed forms
- A copy of your spouse’s I-797 and I-129 forms (In this case your spouse in called the principal applicant)
- A marriage registration certificate, and an original birth certificate for each child
- Wedding invitation and wedding ceremony photos
- A clear photocopy of all 36 pages of the principal applicant’s passport (if not applying with principal applicant). If a copy of the passport is submitted, the principal applicant’s photo must be clearly identifiable
- A letter from the spouse’s employer confirming continued employment
- The principal applicant’s letter of offer from the U.S. company
- Salary slips/pay stubs from your spouse’s current place of work and income tax return.
The H4 visa interview is a bit tricky as the interviewing officer wants to know your intention of going to the United States. At times they may ask for documents like your spouse’s salary slips, spouse’s passport, your education certificates, etc. At other times they may simply ask for the forms and your passport. I also kept photographs of my husband’s office in the U.S. along with his letter of employment.
This is a lot of information to digest. Compilation can be a challenging process so start early and get your papers in place. Go for the interview and get your visa! If you have any questions discuss on the H4 visa forum we have created for you. Good Luck…:)
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***Starting January 19th, 2010, all nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applicants in India will be required to use the new DS-160 web-based application. The DS-160 essentially combines all the existing NIV application forms (DS-156, 157, and 158) into one form.