OFC Appointment for the USA Visa 2024: Fees, Documents & Centres

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Meridean Overseas

Updated On 15 March 2024 & Read Time 14 minutes

2.5k

Are you gearing up for your US student visa application? If yes, you might be aware of the visa interview process and the key steps involved. You should not overlook an important step: visiting an Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC). This is a mandatory requirement before your Consular Section appointment.

 

The OFC was set up by the US embassy to streamline and expedite the visa process. It's designed to make things easier and faster for applicants like you. It involves providing biometric data such as fingerprints and a visa photograph.

 

Firstly, you must understand how much it will cost you, what documents you must carry, and where the centre locations are. Knowing these details is quite important for a smooth OFC appointment US visa process. So, let’s proceed to the complete details of the blog.

 

What is OFC Appointment for the USA Visa?

OFC Appointment Meaning: The OFC full form is the Offsite Facilitation Center, where you need to book an appointment to visit and submit your essential documents along with biometric information for the visa process. You can consider it a pre-interview checkpoint for your visa.

 

OFC Appointment for the USA Visa 2024 Fees, Documents & Centres

 

To be exact, you will need to provide your biometric information, such as fingerprints and visa photographs, before your US visa interview. This information will be used for identity verification purposes. It's a significant step as it helps the authorities verify your application's accuracy and security.

 

The US embassy established the Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) to expedite the visa application process. They set this process as a kind of preliminary interview, getting your biometric data taken prior to your official visa interview.

 

Also, Read: F1 Visa Interview Documents

 

Why OFC Appointments are Necessary

  • OFC appointment for the USA Visa is required to get critical information such as fingerprints and photographs for your visa application.

  • Appointments help keep the process organised and prevent chaos by assigning specific times for each applicant.

  • By scheduling an OFC appointment, you essentially reserve your spot to provide the necessary information and documents.

  • Streamlines the process and ensures that everyone receives the care and attention they require at the Visa Application Center.

 

Fees Associated with OFC Appointments

Now that you have learnt about appointments at the Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC). Let’s have a look at how much you need to pay for this process. The visa application fee is USD 185, which is Rs. 15,323. You do not have to pay an additional fee for an OFC appointment.

 

The visa fee includes the cost of the OFC appointment. This means that by paying the visa application fee, you are also covering the costs of your appointment at the Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC). Henceforth, you only need to pay the visa fee; there is no additional charge for the OFC appointment.

 

Note: The consulate conducts the actual visa interview; the OFC centre only receives fees for processing visa applications and biometric data. These fees take care of the preliminary steps involved in getting a visa, promising that all the necessary paperwork has been submitted beforehand to the consular interview.

 

Also, Read: Most Asked Question in US Visa Interview

 

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Required Documents for OFC Appointments

Now that you are well aware of how much money you need to spend, you should also keep an eye on certain documents for verification before visiting the Offsite Facilitation Centre (OFC). Check out the documents below:

  • DS-16 form confirmation copy

  • Valid passport (8 months beyond intended entry)

  • Original form I-20 

  • Offer letter

  • OFC appointment confirmation printed copy

  • Visa application fee receipt

  • NVC interview letter copy (if applicable)

  • Two color photos (5 cm x 5 cm)

  • Original birth certificate and copy

  • Secondary evidence for incomplete birth certificates

  • Sealed medical exam results envelope

  • Police certificate for applicants 16+

  • Additional police certificate if the previous one is over 2 years old and the applicant still resides in the issuing country

 

How to Schedule an OFC Appointment?

Now that you also know what to carry with you, let’s take a look at the baby steps you need to proceed with scheduling an OFC appointment. Head down to the below points to book your slots for the OFC process:

  1. Login to Your Profile: You must use the same login credentials you used to pay your visa fee. Once logged in, you'll see your dashboard.

  2. Select "Schedule Appointment": You have to click on the Schedule Appointment button to begin the scheduling process.

  3. Schedule VAC Appointment: First, schedule your appointment at a Visa Application Center (VAC). At the VAC, your fingerprints and photo will be taken. You should ensure this appointment is at least one day before your visa interview at the Embassy or Consulate.

  4. Schedule Consular Appointment: Second, schedule your visa interview appointment at the Embassy or Consulate. Note that same-day appointments may be available for certain visa classes. The VAC appointment must be scheduled before the consular appointment.

  5. Required Information: You'll need three pieces of information to schedule your appointment:

    1. Your passport number

    2. The visa application fee receipt number

    3. The ten-digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page

  6. Complete the Process: During the scheduling process, you'll be prompted to select your visa type, provide personal information, add dependents (if applicable), choose your document delivery location, confirm visa payment, and finalise your appointment scheduling.

 

Rescheduling or Cancelling your OFC Process

Now that you know how to schedule your OFC process, you must also understand how to reschedule or cancel it. You can also reschedule or cancel your OFC procedure when you are unable to attend your scheduled appointment for the same, albeit with some important considerations.

  • Send an immediate email to support-india@ustraveldocs.com to reschedule or cancel.

  • Think about how long you might have to wait for the next available appointment time.

  • Before requesting a modification, make every effort to attend the initially scheduled date.

  • Visas for some categories of visas might be available the same month that NVC has booked your appointment.

  • If a visa becomes unavailable later, rescheduling may cause a delay in its processing.

  • DV applicants should note the numerical visa cap; visas must be given by September 30 of the program year.

  • Before requesting a rescheduling, check out the Visa Bulletin to make sure there are no unforeseen issues.

 

Therefore, rescheduling your interview requires you first to register your initial NVC/KCC appointment online. Rescheduling is only possible on dates after your initial appointment. So, careful thought and planning are required when rescheduling or cancelling your visa interview appointment.

 

Also, Read: F1 Visa Slots for Spring Intake in USA

 

Security Screening Procedures

Visitors to the United States Consulates must follow specific guidelines to ensure efficient security procedures. To speed up entry and avoid inconvenience for others, bring only the essentials, such as cash or something, in an unsealed plastic bag or folder.

 

Mobile phones and most bags/purses are not permitted inside, and there is no storage area for other items. Please follow these guidelines to ensure a smooth and timely process for all visitors.

 

OFC Centers

Now that you know about the OFC process, you must keep an eye on where to go for this procedure. The table below lists the cities in India with multiple Offsite Facilitation Centers.

Name of the State

Name of the City

Address Details

Maharashtra

Mumbai

Trade Center, Gr. Floor, G Block, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai – 400051 Trade Center, Gr. Floor, G Block, Bandra-Kurla Complex

West Bengal

Kolkata

Jasmine Tower, 31, Shakespeare Sarani (1st Floor) Kolkata 700017

Tamil Nadu

Chennai

Good Shepherd, No 82, Kodambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai 600034

New Delhi

New Delhi

S – 1 American Plaza (Hotel Eros Managed by Hilton),

International Trade Tower Nehru Place, New Delhi 110019

Andhra Pradesh

Hyderabad

1-8-384/385, Gowra Grand, S.P. Road Begumpet, Secunderabad 500003

Preparation Tips for OFC Appointments

Now that you learnt about OFC centres, you must also look for preparation tips for OFC appointments. Yet, it is highly crucial to ensure a smooth visa application process. Here are some essential tips:

  • Coordinate with Your Visa Interview: Schedule your OFC appointment to align with your visa interview. The OFC appointment precedes the interview, so ensure they are scheduled accordingly.

  • Submit Documents and Complete Biometrics: At the OFC appointment, you'll submit the required documents and undergo biometric processing. This step is necessary before your visa interview.

  • No Visa Interview at OFC: Remember, the visa interview doesn't occur at the OFC. It takes place at your local U.S. embassy or consulate.

  • Follow Security Guidelines: Leave personal items like your mobile phone and bag behind, as strict security measures are in place at the OFC. Expect thorough checks upon entry.

  • Third-Party Management: Understand that the OFC is managed by third-party organisations, not officials from the U.S. embassy.

  • Language Assistance: If needed, seek assistance from personnel who speak your local language at the OFC.

  • Visa Interview Waiver: Some individuals may qualify for a visa interview waiver, bypassing the OFC appointment. They can provide necessary documents at a local drop box.

  • Drop Box Program Notification: Eligible candidates for the Drop Box program will receive notifications once their visa application is processed.

  • Ensure Document Compliance: Carry all required documents to the OFC appointment. Failure to do so may result in rescheduling, causing delays in the visa process.

 

Thus, by following these preparation tips, you will be able to efficiently navigate your OFC appointment and ensure a smooth visa application process.

 

Also, Read: Check USA Visa Status Online

 

Step-by-Step Process: During the OFC Appointment

During the OFC appointment, you must present the following documents: your passport, a printed OFC appointment confirmation, and a visa application. You will also have your biometric fingerprints taken and a visa photograph taken.

  • Document Submission: Bring your passport, printed appointment confirmation from OFC, and hard copies of your visa application. These are necessary for the biometric process.

  • Biometric Process: For your visa application, you will have your fingerprints taken and your photograph taken.

  • Security Checks: Upon entering the OFC centre, you can expect thorough scanning and checking procedures.

  • No Visa Interview: Contrary to popular belief, the visa interview does not take place at the OFC centre. You will only need to submit documents and go through biometric processes.

  • Language Assistance: If necessary, seek assistance from personnel at the centre who speak your native language.

  • Third-Party Management: Remember, officials from the U.S. embassy won't be present. The entire process is managed by a third-party company.

 

After the OFC US Visa Appointment

Now that you are well-versed in what happens during the OFC process, you should also keep a keen eye on what happens after this procedure. So, after completing the biometrics and photographing process, you must attend a visa interview with a U.S. consular at your local U.S. embassy.

 

Here are brief details on U.S. embassies in India.

Embassy/Consulate

Address

Phone

U.S. Embassy in Delhi

Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi - 110021

91-11-24198000

U.S. Consulate General Chennai

Gemini Circle, Chennai 600 006

044-2857-4000

U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad

Survey No. 115/1, Financial District, Nanakramguda, Hyderabad, Telangana, 500032

From India: 040-6932-8000 From US: 011-91-40-6932-8000

U.S. Consulate General Kolkata

5/1, Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata - 700071, West Bengal, India.

91-33-6827-2400

U.S. Consulate General Mumbai

C-49, G-Block, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai 400051

91-22-26724000

Once you are done with the main visa interview, you will again be required to visit the OFC centre to collect your passport. Before getting your passport, your visa application must be approved, so you must provide a printed hard copy of the visa application.

 

Visa Interview Waiver

Now that you have complete information on the OFC appointment process, you should also consider whether you can waive this procedure. The authorised consular officers are permitted to waive in-person interviews and OFC procedures for specific categories that the Secretary of State determines to be in the best interests of the country after consulting with the Department of Homeland Security. The following are the changes' effects:

  • First-time H-2 visa applicants (temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers).

  • Other nonimmigrant visa applicants who:

    • Previously held a nonimmigrant visa (excluding B visas) within the last 48 months of its expiration.

    • Apply within 48 months of their most recent nonimmigrant visa's expiration.

 

Applicants must meet specific legal requirements to be eligible for an interview waiver. This policy takes effect on January 1, 2024, and will be reviewed annually until further notice. Furthermore, applicants renewing nonimmigrant visas in the same category within 48 months of their expiration date are still eligible for an interview waiver.

 

To qualify, applicants must:

  • Apply in their country of nationality or residence.

  • Have no prior visa refusals (unless successfully appealed or waived).

  • Present no apparent or potential ineligibility.

 

Based on specific circumstances or local situations, consular authorities may continue to require in-person interviews. Thus, you must visit embassy and consulate websites for detailed visa application information, operational status, and service updates.

 

Also, Read: Study in USA without IELTS

 

Conclusion

 To conclude, navigating the Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) process is of paramount for a successful US visa application journey. Understanding the procedures, required documentation, and potential waivers helps applicants be well-prepared. You can speed up the visa application process and enhance your chances of success by following the processes and instructions given.

 

We hope this blog based on the OFC appointment process has given you a better understanding of the two slots of US student visas, allowing you to speed up the visa application process. If you are still confused and seeking more information on this topic, we encourage you to speak with our expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC) for more profound insight. If you cannot travel to our offices, we offer online counselling services via our website. Contact us now at application02@meridean.org or call us at 1800-1230-00011. 

 

Contact our counselors for application details

FAQs

Q1. What is the purpose of the OFC appointment?

The OFC appointment is a mandatory step in the US visa application process, where applicants provide biometric data such as fingerprints and a photograph before their consular interview.

 

Q2. How much does it cost to schedule an OFC appointment?

There is no additional cost for scheduling an OFC appointment. The visa application fee covers the expenses associated with the OFC process.

 

Q3. Can I reschedule or cancel my OFC appointment?

Yes, you can reschedule or cancel your OFC appointment by emailing support-india@ustraveldocs.com. However, you must consider potential delays and visa availability before making changes.

 

Q4. What documents do I need to bring to my OFC appointment?

The required documents include the confirmation of the DS-160 form, passport, OFC appointment confirmation, visa application fee receipt, photographs, birth certificate, medical exam results, and police certificates, if applicable.

 

Q5. How do I schedule an OFC appointment?

To schedule an OFC appointment, log in to your profile on the visa application website, select "Schedule Appointment," and follow the instructions to select a convenient date and time.

 

Q6. Is the visa interview conducted at the OFC?

No, the visa interview takes place at the US embassy or consulate, not at the OFC. The OFC appointment is solely for document submission and biometric processing.

 

Q7. Can I request language assistance at the OFC?

Language assistance may be available at the OFC if needed. Personnel who speak your native language can provide support during the appointment.

 

Q8. Who manages the OFC process?

The OFC process is managed by third-party organisations appointed by the US embassy. These organisations handle document submission and biometric data collection.

 

Q9. Are there any security procedures at the OFC?

Yes, strict security measures are in place at the OFC. Visitors are required to undergo thorough scanning and checking procedures upon entry to ensure safety.

 

Q10. What happens after the OFC appointment?

After completing the OFC appointment, applicants must attend a visa interview at the US embassy or consulate. Once the visa application is approved, they will return to the OFC to collect their passport.

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