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Want to settle in the US?

October 13, 2005 13:57 IST
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You have set your sights on migrating to the US. 

But how do you turn your dream into reality?

US visa regulations expert Dr Arun Vakil, in an hour-long chat with Get Ahead readers, has the answers.

Dr Vakil has an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles, USA, and a PhD from the University of Wyoming, Laramie, USA. He was associated with the US consulate in Mumbai as an economist from 1974 to 1977.

He conducts orientation courses for students going to the US, organised by the United States Education Foundation in India and the Indo-American Society. He also lectures on US visas and immigration laws and has authored Gateway to America in 1984.

For those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript:

Part I: Pointers to get your US student visa

Part II: Top 4 US visa interview questions

Prakash Doraswamy: Do i need to produce income tax returns documents for B1/B2 visa?

Dr Vakil: Yes, of last three years.

: I have a brother who is working on an H1 visa in the US for the past 7 years. I would like to pay him a visit. I have been advised that if i am applying for a tourist visa for the first (to any country), it should not be to the US, because it normally gets turned down. What should I do to ensure that my visa application does not get rejected?

Dr Vakil: It is not true. With proper documents, you can apply for a US visa right away.

: hi dr Vakil, Had a query on the US tourist visa? i had a green card which i gave up years back and when i went for an interview a year back, i was refused inspite of having all the papers in do i go about it now.

Dr Vakil: Well, the officer is thinking you may immigrate again. I suggest you show strong financial ties in India. Also, have a definite purpose for your US visit and proof of your established business or employment in India on your return.

: Any website you would suggest that would help me for getting jobs in USA.

Dr Vakil: You could visit

: Hi, I have a B1 with me. My L1 (Individual) petition has been filed and I am expecting an approval next week. I am scheduled to leave for US for Business discussions the week after. Is it fine, if I get an interview slot date fixed before I leave. Or should I return from my B1 travel and then apply for a date for the interview. Please do guide me, as even my HR is confused.Thanks, Balaji

Dr Vakil: If your business visit is crucial, finish that first and then apply for an H-1.

: Is there any impact if now I apply for B-1 and later on H-1B or H-1....?please suggest

Dr Vakil: You have to be very specific about your intentions. You can go to US on a B-1 visa and change your status to H-1B there if an employer petitions for you. But the possibilities are not that bright due to quota limitations.

: Hi what are the requirement for a tourist Visa? what documents i should carry? is it necessary to have a sponsor letter from my relative whois in US.

Dr Vakil
Read Gateway To America. The sponsor letter is required only if you have insufficient funds for your travel.

: Dear Sir, how much liquid money one has to show in order to get the dependent visa for spouse on F1 or J1 visa?

Dr Vakil: There is no fixed amount, but you must have sufficient funds to take care of the living expenses of your spouse in the concerned geographic area of US.

: hello Doc; guess you are very busy - could you please update on this! If i apply for a dependent visa in 2-3 days,after how long will i get the interview date?

Dr Vakil: If in Mumbai, it takes 66 days. In Chennai, it is double this time.

: Dear Dr Arun, When I should take the visa interview appointment, if I wish to enter U.S. for studies in fall 2006 semester (Aug-Sept).

Dr Vakil: You can apply 90 days prior to the commencement of your term in the US.

: Hi Dr. My parents are going this months on permanent immigration visa to usa ( sponsered by my sisste) after how much time they will be in a position to file for my immigration ?? i live in india and how much time will it take approximately?

Dr Vakil: They could file for you once they get a permanent residence status stamped in their passport. It will take over five years for you to join them after their filing.


Dr Vakil: Read my book Gateway To America which is available at the Indo-American Society.

: I am working in an software company. And I am applying for H1 Visa. This is the first time I am going abroad. I am having 4+ yrs of experience and 1.5 yrs in the current company. As this is the first overseas travel, is there any possibility or rejecting VISA.

Dr Vakil: So long as you have a genuine employer, there should be no problem.
: tell me some web site from where can i aplly online for visa.

Dr Vakil: For H-1 jobs visit

 Part I: Pointers to get your US student visa

Part II: Top 4 US visa interview questions


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