United States Consulate in Hyderabad answers queries from The Hindu readers on US visas. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: I was in the United States on an H1B visa until 2010 and sponsored a trip for my parents in 2008. Currently I am not in the U.S. but my parents wish to travel to the U.S. to visit my brother. Can they travel using the visitor visa issued to them in 2008 or do they have to apply for a new visa?
Answer: Anyone holding a valid visa can apply for entry to the U.S. However, the final determination of entry into the U.S. and how long they may remain will be made by the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection at the port of entry.
Q: My visa was issued in May 2007 and is valid until May 2017. In my new passport, issued on December 21, 2012, there is a change in my surname. Can I travel on the existing visa or do I have to apply for a new visa?
V. Sathish Babu
A: You do not need to apply for a new visa unless you would like your new surname reflected on your visa. Otherwise, you may take your old and new passports along with other documents related to your name change with you when travelling to the U.S. Please note that the final decision on permission of entry into the U.S. and the length of stay are determined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), at the port of entry.
Q: I have checked ustraveldocs.com/in for the documents required for a visa interview. In addition to what is mentioned on the website, do I need to carry additional documents like original or copies of documents of properties in my name, fixed deposit receipts or bank statements to convince the visa officer that I intend to come back to India and not stay in the U.S?
M. M. Raju
A: You may wish to bring documents that you think will help demonstrate your ties to India. However, your interview with the U.S. consular officer will be focused on a verbal exchange, not on documents. You should be prepared to answer questions about familial, socio-economic, and other important ties to your home country.
Q; If we have an F1 visa for spring but could not go in time (as my case was in administrative processing) can I use the same visa I have with me now to attend classes starting in fall at the same university?
A: If you are planning on attending the same programme at the same university (with the same I-20/SEVIS ID), then you will need an extension letter from the university when you apply for entry to the U.S. Be ready to explain to the USCIS Custom and Border Protection agent why there is a delay in your studies, if asked.
Q; I have been working in the U.S. for the last three years on an H1B visa and recently got it renewed for another three years. I am visiting India this summer and would like to get the visa stamped. Can I schedule an appointment online and how long does the process generally take?
A: Yes, you can fill out an online application and schedule your interview appointment by visiting ustraveldocs.com/in. We encourage you to apply well in advance of your next trip to U.S since processing time and appointment availability may vary.
Q: How many days after scheduling an appointment at the OFC can I schedule my visitor visa interview?
A: You may schedule an appointment for an interview at the consulate one day after attending your OFC appointment. You can call 0120-660-2222 or visit the website ustraveldocs.com/in to check availability dates and schedule an interview appointment.