The visa application process is pretty time-consuming and involves a lot of hassles. If you are planning to study in the US, you need a student visa along with a lot of documentation to successfully complete the form. Your documents and application will be assessed for accuracy when you meet with a U.S. consular officer. But before your appointment at the consulate, most visa applicants will have to schedule an appointment at an offsite facilitation center (OFC), if you wish to get the process done quickly. In this post, we will discuss how to book an OFC Appointment and the required documents.
What is the OFC appointment for a US Visa?
The OFC appointment for a US visa is a vital part of the proceedings for a visa. Read How to Apply for US Student Visa (F-1) [2022 Guide].
There are several Visa Application Centers (VAC) set up by the US Embassy across India which allow students to submit fingerprints and a digital photograph. For quick processing of visa applications, the US embassy has set up Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) where candidates give their fingerprints (Biometric) and visa photographs and submit documents before their US visa interview.
Students need to book an appointment to visit the OFC center which is followed by the stamping of the DS-160 form. Aspirants need to show their passport and the stamped DS-160 form at the time of the visa interview at the consulate.
Required Documents for OFC Appointment
- Passport: Current passport along with old passport, if any
- Appointment Confirmation Copy: once the appointment is fixed, an appointment confirmation copy is given. It is compulsory to carry a printed copy of the Appointment Confirmation to enter the OFC center.
- DS-160 Confirmation Copy: You also need to carry a printed copy of the DS-160 confirmation page to enter the OFC center. Without this, you will not be allowed entry to the center.
How to Book an OFC Appointment for US Visa?
Booking an appointment is mandatory in order to visit the OFC center. Your DS-160 confirmation page is stamped after you have provided your biometric details and photographs. You should show your stamped form and passport at the time of the interview at the consulate. You will need your passport number, a ten-digit barcode number on the DS-160 confirmation page, and the visa application fee receipt for the appointment.
The OFC appointment can be scheduled when the visa interview is scheduled. You should go to the website, http://www.ustraveldocs.com/, and choose the New Application/Schedule Appointment for this purpose on the left screen.
The OFC interview takes place just before your visa interview. The latter will not be held at the OFC facility but at the local embassy with the consular officer.
How to Reschedule, if Needed?
Once the applicant has made an appointment for an interview ( at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ ) and still wishes to reschedule, you can do so by logging in to their account and choosing the option called Reschedule Visa Appointment.
It must be kept in mind that the closing timeline is 48 hours for appointments. If you are unable to attend on the selected date, you have to reschedule or cancel the appointment at least three working days before the same. Or else, one will have to wait till the passing of the appointment date before you schedule a fresh one.
OFC Appointment Fees
There is no separate fee for the OFC appointments. The visa fees (USD $160) that you pay for a US visa include the OFC biometric fees as well.
OFC Appointment Centers in India
- Mumbai: Trade Center, Gr. Floor, G Block, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai – 400051 Trade Center, Gr. Floor, G Block, Bandra-Kurla Complex
- Kolkata: Jasmine Tower, 31, Shakespeare Sarani (1st Floor) Kolkata 700017
- Chennai: Good shepherd, No 82, Kodambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai 600034
- New Delhi: S – 1 American Plaza, (Hotel Eros Managed by Hilton), International Trade Tower Nehru Place, New Delhi 110019
- Hyderabad: 1-8-384/385, Gowra Grand, S.P. Road Begumpet, Secunderabad 500003
What to Expect at an OFC Center?
Once the OFC Appointment is booked, the question that haunts the mind of an applicant is what happens during an OFC appointment. What should one expect when the applicant gets there?
It should be noted that there is no such thing as a visa interview at an OFC center. All one has to do is to provide the documents mentioned earlier – namely the passport, the appointment, and DS-160 confirmation. You have to wait to be called for fingerprinting and the visa photo process.
There are strict security specifications at such centers. Before entering the office, you have to leave items like a bag or mobile. No item is allowed to be carried inside.
The entire process is done by third-party consulting companies. If any assistance is required before the OFC appointment, there will be someone to guide you at the center that speaks your local language. This is reassuring, in the case in which you need help or you have a question.
As the process is handled by a third-party company, there will not be any officials from the US embassy there. Furthermore, each person entering the facility has to go through a thorough checking and scanning process.
On a final note, remember that your visa interview isn’t the same thing as your OFC appointment, as it won’t take place at an OFC. You’ll have to go to the US embassy on a different date for the next phase of your application – namely the interview.
OFC Fingerprinting and Visa Photo Process
The fingerprinting process is quite an easy process also known as ten printing since it involves all your 10 fingers which are followed by clicking the photograph of the applicant and finally all set and done.
After completion of the formalities, one can leave the center. From here you have to go to a US embassy for the scheduled appointment date or visa interview. After attending the visa interview at the nearest consulate in your proximity, you (the applicant) need to go back to the same OFC one went in the first place in order to get the passport.
In order to get the passport from the center, you must have a copy of the DS-160 printed form with you. We would like to highlight that there are two separate visits to the OFC center – so bear this in mind.
What Happens After an OFC Appointment?
Once the OFC appointment is done, the applicant will need to attend the visa appointment/interview with the US consular at the local US embassy. After the visa appointment is conducted, you need to return to the OFC center. Then you have to collect the passport after furnishing the printed copy of your visa application.
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