The application is relatively straightforward in terms of question and answer. The only minor complication is the choice of level of education, summarized here:
- Below Matriculation = Less than 10th grade
- Graduate = College/University Bachelor’s Degree
- Higher Secondary = High School
- Illiterate = No formal education
- Matriculation = 10th Grade
- Professional = Professional or technical training
- NA Being Minor = Children who are still in school
They ask for your parents info and your career and workplace info as well, but you should be able to fill those out. They also ask for an address in India; I found a hotel on Booking.com and used their contact info.
The only complications arose for the documentation uploads. The only reason it was complicated was because I didn’t feel like going out to find an internet/printing/scanning kind of place. The documentation they require is a 2″ x 2″ photo similar to a passport photo and a scan of the information page of your passport. ( The page with the photo, dates, etc.)
The photo should be decently lit on a white background. I simply turned on all the lights in the hotel room and posed the family one at a time in front of a white wall. To get the right size photo I simply uploaded to this US government website and followed instructions.
For the scan I used TinyScanner on my phone to create .pdfs directly from photos. My first scans were too big, the visa website specifies a max of 300 kB but I just uploaded them here and squeezed them down to 53 kB.
During all this, my application timed out a couple of times. No problem, just get all your scans and stuff ready before hand and it should go smoothly.
Next up was the payment, where you’re given the option of sbi-epay or Axis Bank. I googled around, found no major preference and picked the sbi-epay payment site. I selected PayPal ( who doesn’t have PayPal these days?) and click-click-done!
Officially the approval process takes 3 business days, but ours took a mere 12 hours!
We’re off to India!