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OFC Appointment: What You Should Know About It?
At a Glance
- OFC appointment is a requirement for most visa applicants before attending a Consular Sections appointment.
- Involves submitting fingerprints and a visa photograph for a simplified visa application process.
- Required documents: passport, appointment confirmation page, and DS-160 confirmation page.
- No visa interview during the OFC appointment; focuses on the collection of biometric data.
Each visa application process can be equally time-consuming and stressful. You have to gather a lot of documents, ensure that they are valid, not to mention that you have to double-check each piece of information to have some peace of mind. The odds are that this is how you’ve come across this article – while browsing for information about your OFC appointment. Hopefully, you’ll feel enlightened after reading this article!
What Is an Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) Appointment?
Starting with the basics, an offsite facilitation center (OFC) appointment is required by the law for most applicants. That is to say, before attending your appointment at the Consular Sections, you will most likely need to schedule an OFC appointment.
These centers are established by the US embassy in order to significantly simplify the time necessary for processing visa applications. Hence, when you attend this appointment, this entails the submission of fingerprints and a visa photograph.
As for the process of giving fingerprints, it is known as biometric. It’s also worth noting that you can’t simply go to such a center since you need an appointment beforehand. Evidently, you don’t go there empty-handed; you have to compile a range of documents, which we’ll enumerate below.
Documents Required for an OFC Appointment
When it comes to the documents needed for the appointment, you should come prepared. Here is a list of what you’ll need at your OFC appointment:
- Original passport – make sure you also bring your old and expired passports with you as well.
- Appointment confirmation page – it is compulsory to have a printed hard copy with you. In case you don’t have it with you, note that you won’t be allowed to enter.
- DS-160 confirmation page – once again, having a printed hard copy is compulsory, as you won’t be granted permission to enter without it.
What to Expect at an OFC Center?
This is another question most people ask: what happens during an OFC appointment? What should you expect when you get there?
Contrary to popular belief, note that there is no such thing as a visa interview at an OFC center. All you have to do is to provide the documents we’ve mentioned before – namely the passport, the appointment, and DS-60 confirmation.
Concurrently, note that you’ll have to wait to be called. Once you are called, what follows is the OFC fingerprinting and the visa photo process.
There are, of course, strict security specifications at such centers. To that end, before entering the office, note that you aren’t allowed to take your bag with you inside. The same goes for your smartphone or anything of the kind.
The process per se is simple and efficient and is usually dealt with by third party consulting companies. Most likely, if you need assistance before your OFC appointment, you will find someone at the center that speaks your local language. This is reassuring, in the case in which you need help or you have a question.
In addition to that, since the process is handled by a third-party company, you won’t see any officials from the US embassy there. Furthermore, it’s worth outlining that 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 the Visa Photo Process
As you might suspect, the fingerprinting process is quite straightforward and to the point. The process is also known as ten printing since it involves all your 10 fingers.
Afterward, OFC center executives will click your visa. This means you don’t have to worry about carrying visa photos with you. And that’s it! Easy and to the point, isn’t it?
Finally, you can leave the center. From that point onward, you’ll have to go to a US embassy for your scheduled appointment date or visa interview. After attending the visa interview at the nearest consulate in your proximity, you’ll need to go back to the same OFC you went in the first place. You have to return there in order to get your passport – no matter is the visa application has been approved or not.
Once again, in order to get your passport from the center, you must have your 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.
OFC Appointment Fees
Will you have to pay any fees for your OFC appointment? Usually, the visa application process is pricey, since each applicant has to pay a series of fees, depending on the country of residence and not only. Still, in this case, you shouldn’t worry about it, since the fee you’ll have to pay for the US visa interview also encompasses the OFC biometrics fees.
Are There Any Offsite Facilitation Centers in India?
There are several Visa Application Centers (VAC) locations in India. Essentially, these centers allow you to submit important biometric information: a digital photograph and fingerprints. As outlined above, note that prior to coming to such a center, you have to make an appointment. With that in mind, there are no noteworthy differences between making an OFC appointment in India or in any other country.
However, there are instances in which things might be different for Indian residents – for instance, when it comes to getting a newborn baby passport or getting an Indian passport renewed in America. This is why it pays off to get your facts straight from the beginning.
India OFC Locations
There are several OFC locations in India, as following: in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chennai. If you want to get the precise addresses for each location, you might access this source. It’s always best to get acquainted with various locations in your country, to see which location is most convenient for you.
Documents Required for OFCs in India
As we pointed out beforehand, the same documents that are necessary for any country are required for Indian applicants as well: your passport, the DS-160 confirmation page, and the appointment confirmation page. As you can see, attending your OFC appointment isn’t stressful or complicated, granted that you are prepared for it and know what to expect.
All in all, we hope that this article addressed the questions you had in mind when it comes to an OFC appointment. It’s always a good idea to do a bit of research beforehand, as in this way, you’ll know what to expect and you won’t have any unpleasant surprises.
The same goes for filing the I-130 form, which is part of the complicated process of getting a green card for a relative, the I-485 attorney fee, which is related to the adjustment of status, or the I-129F that allows you to bring a foreign fiancé in the US. So, most likely, the information you need for filing out any visa form can be easily found on our website!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is an OFC Appointment?
An OFC (Offsite Facilitation Center) Appointment is part of the U.S. visa application process that involves visiting an offsite center to provide biometric information, including fingerprints and a photograph. OFC appointments are typically required for most U.S. visa applicants.
What is the Purpose of an OFC Appointment?
The primary purpose of an OFC appointment is to collect biometric data that will be used for identity verification and security purposes as part of the visa application process. This information helps ensure the accuracy and security of visa issuance.
Who is Required to Attend an OFC Appointment?
Most U.S. visa applicants, including individuals applying for tourist visas (B-1/B-2), student visas (F-1), and work visas (H-1B), are required to attend an OFC appointment. Some categories of visa applicants, such as certain diplomats or individuals under the age of 14 or over 79, may be exempt from the OFC appointment requirement.
What Happens During an OFC Appointment?
During an OFC appointment, applicants are typically required to:
- Provide fingerprints of all ten fingers.
- Have a digital photograph taken.
- Verify their personal information and documentation.
The process is straightforward and is usually completed quickly.
Where Are OFC Appointments Scheduled?
OFC appointments are scheduled at designated offsite centers, which are separate from U.S. embassies or consulates. These centers are often located in major cities and are easily accessible to visa applicants.
How Do I Schedule an OFC Appointment?
Visa applicants typically schedule their OFC appointment through the official website or service provider designated by the U.S. Department of State. The appointment scheduling process may require providing personal information, passport details, and visa application information.
Is the OFC Appointment the Same as the Visa Interview?
No, the OFC appointment is separate from the visa interview. The OFC appointment involves providing biometric information, while the visa interview is a separate step where the applicant meets with a consular officer to discuss their visa application and eligibility.