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Anonymous asked in TravelUnited StatesNew York City · 1 decade ago

how can i get a visa to USA as my friend want me to be with her. As an Indian can i work and live there ?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    i think the guy has all the answers

  • 1 decade ago

    Karan, you are an AMAZING 11 year old. Glad that you and your parents immigrated legally and can be counted as Americans.

  • 1 decade ago

    I am an 11 year old indian. My parents came here and have a wonderful job. Here's how you get a visa.

    This SYW explains the very basics of coming to America; if you are like the vast majority of immigrants, you will do so on a visa that allows you to work, to study, or simply to be a tourist in the United States.

    If you are not an immigrant, but simply coming to visit America for 90 days or fewer, you may be able to avoid the hassles of obtaining a visa for your trip. In the past 18 months, the US government has instituted the Visa Waiver Pilot Program to facilitate the visits of citizens from certain countries. We discuss it further in step 4. The focus of this SYW is still on visas though, because if you're not from one of those eligible countries or you plan to stay for more than 90 days, you're definitely going to need the right documentation.

    A word to the wise

    Visas are issued by the American government for specific purposes and for finite periods. If you overstay your visa or use it for a purpose for which it was not issued - for instance, if you work while on a student visa - you may be deported by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (aka INS). Moreover, if you are caught "out of status" - which includes using your visa incorrectly or overstaying it - you can be prohibited from returning to America for up to three years. Do it again and you can be banned for a decade.

    Obtaining the proper paperwork for your time in America is a pain in the ***. You should expect lengthy waits and hassles, as well as having to fork out big cash for your visa. Oh, and if the American government thinks you are coming to America to immigrate, without proper authorization, they may deny you admission altogether. All in all, navigating the rapidly changing laws that govern the rights of foreigners to live in this country is incredibly difficult, and you really shouldn't try to do it without an attorney. That said, however, you can read on to learn the basics to start you on your way to obtaining a visa.

    If you want to come to America to live forever - that is, to become a "permanent resident" - you are going to have a hell of a time. The hoops through which you must jump to gain a Green Card - which is the proper governmental authorization for permanent residency and also known as an Employment Authorization Document - are numerous and onerous. (We won't be outlining those concerns here.) It is far easier to come to America for a finite stay, since the American government is less concerned about people whom they think will not be moving in permanently.

    Which visa is for you?

    There are three major types of short-term visas, and, as with most government documents, some of these have awkward numerical names. There is a "visitor's visa," which is intended to allow a foreign citizen to come to America for up to three months to visit Niagara Falls and to be fleeced at Disney World. If your intention is simply to take a vacation in America or to come out for a special occasion like a wedding or graduation, this is the visa you need. If, however, you intend to study in America, you will need to apply for a distinct visa: either an F-1 or a J-1. These visas will last as long as your degree program, e.g., up to four years for an undergraduate degree and two or three for a graduate program. While these student visas may allow you to work for a couple of months after you graduate, as part of "practical training" toward your overall education, they do not allow you to work full-time during the school year. If you want to come to America to work a full-time job, for only a finite period of years, you will need to apply for an H visa. Clearly, these visitor, student, and temporary work visas are all quite different from one another, so you should not have much difficulty determining which is the proper one for your purpose.

    Go to Your United States Embassy

    No matter which of the three visas you decide to apply for, you will need to pick up an application at a U.S. Embassy. Typically, there will be a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the capital city of your home country. One of the benefits of having those damn Yanks meddling in everyone else's business is that they have conveniently set up bases for the CIA all over the world - these are the embassies.

    Almost every U.S. Embassy in the world is divided into two main divisions: consular and "other." "Other" can mean anything from United States Information Agency, services for U.S. citizens, CIA, DEA, and all the other "business" generally conducted by the American diplomats in your country. The consular division is what you need. It is the place that handles applications for visas to America. More importantly for this stage in the process, it is where you can pick up precise information on the application process. Simply enter the embassy's consular division and ask for an application for the visa of your choice: either tourist, student, or temporary employment. Be sure to emphasize "temporary" - as we've hinted, the bean-counters get very nervous when they think you might be staying.

    In order to obtain any of these three visas, you will need to ease the U.S. government's concern that you are simply using these papers as a cover for traveling to America and then remaining there indefinitely. The application process will, to greater and lesser degrees depending on the length of your intended stay, look for you to demonstrate a bona fide non-immigrant intent. There are several things to which you can point to demonstrate this non-immigrant intent.

    Explain your financial ties to your home country.

    If you have wrapped yourself up in business dealings at home, the U.S. consular division is less likely to think that you will ditch all of that sunk cost simply to run off to America. Bank accounts, stock certificates, bond coupons, or any other items that can prove your financial ties will be helpful to have handy. Of course, having a home or other assets in your home country is also excellent evidence of non-immigrant intent, and you should have proof of those assets available.

    On a related note, be prepared to prove your employment prospects in your home country if you can. If you have a letter from an employer offering you a job upon your return from America, or you currently have a job from which you are taking only temporary leave, make copies for the Embassy officials of any documents that can verify these facts.

    Obtain proof of family ties, if you have any, in your home country.

    Of course, if you have a spouse and children at home, this will assuage the Americans' fears. Even having other immediate family members will help, so gather some evidence that describes your relationship to them, including their names, residences, occupations, and ages. Affidavits from your relatives will help.

    Proffer some evidence of your ties to your home community.

    If you participate in any social, political, religious, or cultural organizations, bring some proof of that. Again, the idea here is to demonstrate your connection to your home country.

    You may be asked to furnish these materials as part of the written application for a visa, or during an interview about that application. Bring multiple copies of them with you every time you go to the U.S. Embassy.

    Having picked up your application and prepared your evidentiary support, you should be aware of the quirks that are particular to your type of visa.

    1. Tourist Visa

    2. Student Visa

    3. Temporary Work Visa

    Tourist Visa

    The Tourist Visa - also known as a Visitor Visa - is the least complex of all the visas you can acquire for a visit to the United States. Because the U.S. government presumes that you are coming to America only for pleasure or personal reasons, and only for a limited duration, they do not conduct an extensive inquiry into your background. They will, however, remain perpetually suspicious about whether you are simply using this as a ruse to enter the country and then to remain here illegally thereafter.

    If you are coming to America to visit the Grand Canyon, therefore, be prepared to show your itinerary or travel tickets to that destination when you go to the U.S. Embassy. Similarly, if you need a visa to go to your friend's college graduation, having a copy of the invitation or announcement with the date and place will help verify your claims to the U.S. bureautron behind the counter.

    In general, the technical requirements for this kind of visa are slight, and you should rely on your common sense to get through the application process. Just think of what you would want to see as proof of the reason for your trip and your intent to return home afterwards.

    But before you spend all day in line at the U.S. Embassy, check out the Visa Waiver Pilot Program to see if you can waive even this low-level paperwork.

    Student Visa

    Tens of thousands of foreigners come to America each year to study at this country's fine institutions of higher learning. Oh, yeah, and to get totally ripped at frat parties. Thankfully, the U.S. government encourages this behavior and has established a relatively liberal policy of allowing aliens to study here. Of course, you still must apply for a visa.

    Keep your letter of admission. Before you set one foot inside the U.S. Embassy, you must have a letter of admission from your university. The consular officials won't even consider your application unless they have proof that you are, or will be, a student in the United States. No worries, though - this is not tough to take care of. When you get admitted to your school, just make a copy of the admission letter.

    Obtain additional paperwork from your prospective school. Once you are admitted, you will also need to contact your university's international office. Each university in America is evaluated by the INS, which accredits it for the purposes of immigration - the idea here is that they don't want recent immigrants setting up "universities" in their double-wide trailers and admitting thousands of their old grade school chums. All accredited schools - and we mean really accredited - will have an official who handles applications by international students. This person will be responsible for sending you the paperwork that you will need to negotiate the visa application process in your home country.

    The first thing this university official will do is determine what kind of student visa - F-1 or J-1 - you should apply for. In practical terms, there is no great distinction between these two. On either one, you will go through many of the same procedures to stay "in status" and will be able to come and go from America to the same extent. Technically, however, F-1s are for undergraduate students and boarding schoolers. They can, therefore, last up to four years, if your degree program takes that long. By contrast, J-1 visas are for "visiting scholars," which usually means professors or lecturers, but can also mean graduate students. Another slight difference between the two visas is that a J-1 allows 18 months of practical training, while an F-1 allows only 12. So if your school is indifferent, and you have the choice, you may want to opt for a J-1.

    The practical training addition to these visas allows you to find employment related to your field of study for as long as the visa allows. If you just graduated from law school on a J-1 visa, for example, you could work for a law firm for a year-and-a-half before needing either to leave the country or to secure another visa. Those practical training months can also be used piecemeal, such that you could use three months during each summer break from school to work in a job related to your studies and still have months left over for when you graduate. If you do not apply to your university official for this practical training during the summers, you cannot work in America at those times. You would have to return to your home country to do so. Having extra months of practical training, therefore, is definitely useful.

    Once you have worked out what kind of visa you will be applying for, your university official must send you the appropriate form. For an F-1, this form is called an I-20. For a J-1, the form is called an IAP-66. Do not lose these forms. They are your tickets into America.

    Apply at the embassy. If you have received your letter of acceptance and I-20 or IAP-66, you can then approach the U.S. Embassy to apply formally for the visa. Rarely will an embassy deny you a visa if you can produce these pieces of university paperwork. There is, however, one important requirement that you must satisfy before being granted the visa: financial ability.

    The U.S. Embassy will generally not grant you a student visa unless you can demonstrate your ability to pay for your education. This can be a difficult thing to establish. If you plan to attend a private four-year university, for example, the total cost of your schooling can be over $100,000. You must show the U.S. Embassy that you have this cash before they'll let you come over here. So start liquidating the stocks and padding that bank statement! We've also found that drug smuggling will help.

    Get the actual visa. Finally, having laid yourself bare before the American government, you may be granted your visa. Prepare to be disappointed. After all that hassle, the visa itself is a small piece of paper, about the size of a postcard, that is glued into your passport. It contains a scanned photograph of you (which you must furnish to the embassy on your application), plus your vital information, such as name, date of birth, country of citizenship, and so on. More importantly, it declares itself to be your visa. When you attempt to enter the United States, you will need to present your passport and I-20 or IAP-66 to the person working at the immigration counter - so you had better have both before you book that ticket.

    Temporary Work Visa

    If you thought the student visas were complicated, be prepared for even more hassle if you attempt to obtain permission to work in the United States. For this process, you will certainly need the assistance of your employer or an attorney, and most likely, both. Nevertheless, we will outline the process for you here so that you know where to begin and what to expect.

    Obtain a Job Offer. Just as with a student visa, the first thing you must have for a temporary work visa is a letter of acceptance. Your employer must furnish you with a piece of correspondence - preferably on corporate letterhead - formally offering you a position with the company. This letter should also contain several other details to assuage the INS. Your employer should note the title of the position and its responsibilities, the salary, the start and end dates, and how many hours a week the position involves. The end date here is particularly important, in light of the INS's constant fear of your overstaying the visa. They need to know that this job has a time limit - a date after which it will definitely be over.

    Fill Out the INS Paperwork. Your employer will then need to fill out an application on an INS Form I-129, petitioning for permission to hire you as a temporary employee. Of course, in all practicality, this means that you fill out the form for your employer and then hand it to them for their signature. The form can be downloaded here:

    Having filled out this form, with the help of your employer and possibly an attorney, you will need to file it with the INS along with a fee of $610. Yeah, that's steep. But we always knew that America got rich on the backs of immigrants.

    Then you wait. And wait. The INS can take many months to process these requests, and the number of these visas available is finite. That means the government can run out of them. These visas - "H" visas - are replenished each year, though, and the beginning of the INS year is in October/November. You should try to get your application to the INS as soon after that time as possible to ensure that there are sufficient H visas available by the time they process your application.

    Use the H Visa. Once you receive your visa, the government will instruct you on the mechanics of activating it, which (if you are already in the United States) may involve leaving the country and visiting a U.S. Embassy abroad. When you travel on an H visa, you will not have an I-20 or an IAP-66, but the INS will furnish you with proof of your visa, and it is always a good idea to carry your employer's letter of acceptance with you.

    Please be aware that the intricacies of applying for a temporary work visa are numerous. We have provided you with only an overview of the process here, so that you will be sufficiently informed to begin your application in earnest. A great place to begin, of course, is on the INS's own website. (

    There are also a number of private law firms that specialize in immigration law, and their websites are also informative. Two of the best are and

    For certain visitors to the United States, the US government has dispensed entirely with the need to obtain any sort of visa prior to traveling here. Don't go running to the airport just yet though, you have to make sure that you satisfy the threshold criteria for this program and that you are aware of the restrictions governing you if you choose to travel visa-less.

    The Criteria

    This program applies (a) only to citizens of a limited group of countries and (b) only if those citizens are traveling to the United States for 90 days or fewer.

    First, make sure your country of citizenship is on this list:










    Germany Iceland








    New Zealand



    San Marino






    United Kingdom


    Since this program is new, some countries have only recently been added and more may be in the future. Check with your own country's consulate or your local U.S. embassy to see whether your country participates in this program.

    Second, make sure you have a return ticket getting you out of the States before 90 days.

    The Process

    Under this program, simply purchase your tickets, proceed to the airport, be treated like crap in a tiny seat on the long flight, and then be prepared to withstand an interrogation by US immigration officials upon arriving. They will ask you a series of questions that will go something like this:

    * Why have you come to the U.S.?

    * Where are you going while here?

    * Where are you staying?

    * With whom are you staying?

    * What is your occupation?

    * How long have you worked there?

    * Will you be returning to that job?

    * Do you have a return ticket?

    * Do you have sufficient money?

    The whole point of this exercise is (a) to see if you satisfy the criteria of the program, and (b) to make sure that you're not just using the program as a ruse to enter the country with the intention of staying here forever - stealing jobs from Americans and corrupting the moral fabric of this country, you stinkin' for-ee-ner!

    Remember, if they're not happy with your answers, they can turn you around and put you on the next flight home - at your expense. So be ready with them answers.

    The Limitations

    First, you cannot work or study on this visa. We've already gone over the visas you need to do those things, so don't get cute. Second, by this program's definition, you can't stay for more than 90 days. And, third, the program does not allow you to adjust your status while traveling on it - so if you suddenly decide you want to work or study now that you're here in the U.S., lo siento chicos (that is, "sorry boys and girls"), you're still going to have to return home and go through the process we've described for those types of visas.

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