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If you are planning to study, work, or make a trip to the United States, then navigating the US visa application process is crucial for you. Like All other countries, the US government allows international candidates through visa applications.
You might be aware that you need to go through different processes, such as OFC, DS-160, I-20, etc., to get a US Visa. However, the OFC Appointment Process is one of the easiest and most important processes to complete your visa application.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of the OFC (Offsite Facilitation Centre) appointment. Understanding what OFC is, how to book an appointment, what documents you need, and what to expect during your visit will make your journey toward obtaining a U.S. visa much smoother, so read the blog carefully.
Before knowing the OFC appointment process in detail, let’s understand what OFC is. OFC full form is the Offsite Facilitation Centre, and it is a crucial component of the U.S. visa for the application process. It is not the visa interview but a mandatory preliminary step designed to collect biometric information, including fingerprints and photographs.
The OFC appointment is essentially your date with the biometric collection centre. It is a mandatory step for most U.S. visa applicants, including tourist, business, student, and immigrant visa applicants. This appointment is scheduled before your actual visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate.
Candidates who want to appear in the US Visa Interview must book a date in OFC to give their fingerprints and photographs. During the biometrics, they have to carry some important documents along with a confirmation page of DS-160. At the time of the visa interview at the consulate, applicants must present their passports as well as the stamped DS-160 form to get the OFC Confirmation Letter. The OFC Appointment process is used to enhance the security of the visa issuance process.
To prepare for your OFC appointment, you will need to gather a few essential documents, which are as follows -
Passport - Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended date of arrival in the U.S.
DS-160 Confirmation Page - The DS-160 is an online visa application form that you must complete and print. The confirmation page contains a unique barcode, which you'll need for your appointment.
Visa Appointment Confirmation - This is the confirmation of your interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Visa Application Fee Receipt - Proof of payment for the visa application fee, as per the visa category you're applying for.
Photographs - Carry two recent passport-sized photographs that meet the U.S. visa photo requirements.
Any Additional Required Documents - Depending on your visa type, you may need additional documents, such as an I-20 for students or a letter from your employer for work visas.
Booking your OFC appointment is a straightforward process. Follow these steps:
Step 1 - Visit the official U.S. Visa Information and Appointment Services website for your country.
Step 2 - Create a profile and log in.
Step 3 - Fill out the DS-160 form online and pay the visa application fee if you still need to do so.
Step 4 - After completing the DS-160, you'll receive a DS-160 confirmation barcode. Keep this barcode handy.
Step 5 - Schedule your OFC appointment by selecting a convenient date and time from the available options.
Step 6 - Provide your Biometrics by attending the OFC appointment and get the OFC appointment confirmation letter. Print it to appear in the visa interview.
Below, you can check the process that happens at an OFC Centre.
Step 1 - On the day of your OFC appointment, arrive at the OFC centre a little ahead of the appointment time.
Step 2 - Undergo a security screening similar to airport security.
Step 3 - Present your passport, DS-160 confirmation barcode, visa appointment confirmation, visa application fee receipt, and photographs for verification. Provide your fingerprints and a photograph.
Step 4 - Receive an OFC Confirmation letter.
Step 5 - Appear for your visa interview at the US Consulate on the day specified in your appointment.
Step 6 - Visit to the OFC Centre again. If your visa application is granted, then you will get your passport with a visa.
Understanding the biometric collection process is essential to alleviate any concerns. Here is a brief overview
Fingerprint - You will be asked to place your fingers on a digital scanner. This process captures fingerprints from all ten fingers.
Photograph - A high-resolution photograph will be taken, adhering to the U.S. visa photo guidelines.
Quick Process - The entire process is fast and non-intrusive.
With its large number of U.S. visa applicants, India has numerous OFC centres nationwide. Major cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata have multiple centres to accommodate the demand.
Check the information on OFC centres in India below.
Trade Center, Gr. Floor, G Block, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Bandra East
Jasmine Tower, 31, Shakespeare Sarani (1st Floor)
Good Shepherd, No 82, Kodambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam,
S – 1 American Plaza (Hotel Eros Managed by Hilton), International Trade Tower Nehru Place,
New Delhi 110019
1-8-384/385, Gowra Grand, S.P. Road Begumpet,
The OFC appointment itself does not have a separate fee. However, you will need to pay the non-refundable visa application fee as part of the application process. The OFC Appointment fee varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for, so ensure you pay the correct amount.
Navigating the U.S. visa application process may seem overwhelming, but understanding the OFC appointment process is a significant step toward your goal. Above, we have covered every detail of the OFC Appointment Process for US Visa. By gathering the necessary documents, scheduling your appointment, and knowing what to expect, you can streamline your journey toward obtaining a U.S. visa.
Q1. Is the OFC appointment mandatory for all U.S. visa applicants?
Ans. Yes, the OFC appointment is mandatory for U.S. visa. It collects the applicants' biometric information.
Q2. How long does the OFC appointment process take?
Ans. The entire process, from arrival to departure, typically takes about 30 minutes. However, wait times may vary depending on the centre's capacity and your appointment time.
Q3. Can I reschedule my OFC appointment?
Ans. Yes, you can reschedule your OFC appointment if needed. Visit the U.S. Visa Information and Appointment Services website for instructions on rescheduling.
Q4. Do children need to attend the OFC appointment?
Ans. Yes, children, including infants and minors, are required to attend the OFC appointment for biometric data collection.
Q5. What happens if I miss my OFC appointment?
Ans. If you miss your OFC appointment, you will need to reschedule it. Keep in mind that missing your appointment may delay your overall visa application process.
We hope you found this blog helpful and informative regarding the OFC Appointment Process. Still, if you want a deeper understanding or have any questions about the same, we encourage you to speak with our team of expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC).
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