OFC Appointment for US Visa: A Comprehensive Guide
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The process of applying for a visa can be lengthy and occasionally challenging, especially when pursuing a US student visa for studying in the US. Preceding the consulate appointment, and attending an OFC appointment can expedite the process significantly. This article aims to provide comprehensive information about OFC, its purpose, necessary documents, and other essential aspects related to the OFC application.
What is the Meaning of an OFC Appointment?
The OFC (Offsite Facilitation Center) appointment is a specific session where individuals applying for a US visa are required to visit a designated center. Firstly, individuals need to check the availability of the OFS US Visa appointment. During this appointment, applicants provide their biometric information, including fingerprints and a photograph. The purpose is to gather necessary data that will be used as part of the visa application process. This step usually occurs before the actual visa interview at the US consulate or embassy.
Documents Required for OFC Appointment
The necessary documents for the OFC appointment comprise the following as mentioned below. Make sure to organize and print all documents neatly before heading to your appointment.
- Current original passport and any expired passports (if relevant)
- A printed version of the visa application form
- A printed confirmation page for the OFC appointment
- A printed Appointment Confirmation is mandatory to enter the OFC center.
- A printed DS-160 confirmation page is necessary for entry. Without it, access to the center will be denied.
How to Schedule an OFC Appointment for a US Visa?
You have the option to set both appointments simultaneously—your visa interview and the OFC appointment. The OFC appointment occurs right before your visa interview, but it's important to note that the actual visa interview won't happen at the OFC facility. Instead, it will take place at the local embassy with the consular officer. To schedule an OFC appointment for a US visa, follow these steps:
- Visit the official website of the US Embassy in India and create an account, providing the required information.
- Locate and complete the DS-160 form (The DS-160 form, known as the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, is an online application required for individuals applying for a nonimmigrant visa. Developed by the U.S. Department of State, this electronic form aims to simplify and streamline the visa application process for applicants by allowing them to submit their details online.)
- Proceed to pay the visa fee, either online or at a designated bank.
- Book two appointments, one for the OFC and the other for the visa interview, through the embassy's online system or by contacting them directly.
- Attend the scheduled OFC appointment to submit your biometric information.
OFC Fingerprint and Photo Process
OFCs were established to expedite visa application processing. During these appointments at Visa Application Centers (VACs), you'll submit necessary official documents along with your fingerprints and photographs. This step occurs before your meeting with the US consular officer.
- Initial Requirements: At the OFC center, there's no visa interview conducted. You'll present your Passport, a copy of your OFC appointment, and DS-160 confirmation.
- Arrival: Upon arrival, you'll wait for your turn at the center.
- Finger Scan: When called, your fingerprints will be scanned.
- Photo Capture: Your photo will be taken on-site, eliminating the need for bringing visa photos.
- Visa Interview: After completing this process, you'll attend the visa interview at the scheduled appointment at the US consulate.
- Passport Collection: Once your visa interview concludes, for approved applications, return to the OFC center to retrieve your passport. If you've opted for Premium delivery, your passport will be delivered. If the visa is denied, revisiting the OFC center isn't necessary.
What Happens at an OFC Centre?
During your OFC appointment, it's important to arrive early, typically 30 minutes before your scheduled time. Upon entry, you'll receive a token and queue up for document verification. Inside, your documents will be reviewed, and your DS-160 confirmation form will be stamped.
Once it's your turn, you'll proceed to one of the available counters. There, you'll submit your documents and undergo the biometric process. That concludes the appointment.
What Happens After an OFC Appointment?
After completing the OFC appointment, you'll proceed to the visa appointment with the US consular officer at your local US embassy. Following the visa appointment, return to the OFC center to retrieve your passport, presenting a printed copy of your visa application.
For visa interview waivers, fingerprinting isn't necessary. Instead, eligible individuals can submit required documents at the "Drop Box" facility. Qualifying for a visa interview waiver includes:
- Applicants under 14 years old
- Those renewing visas in the same category
- Visa holders in specific categories like A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, C-3, and NATO.
Note: If unsure about qualifying for a visa interview waiver, contacting the local US embassy for clarification is recommended.
OFC Appointment Fee
The visa application fee amounts to USD 160, which equals Rs. 13,337. You don't need to pay an additional fee specifically for an OFC appointment. The visa fee covers the cost of the OFC appointment too.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between OFC and Visa?
What is the maximum gap between the OFC and visa appointments?
What attire should be worn for the OFC appointment?
Do I have to arrange the OFC appointment independently of my visa interview?
Is it possible to alter the visa interview date following the OFC appointment?