Moving to USNewsApr 17, 2024

How to Settle in USA From India: Guide to US Visas

Indians have been moving to the US since the 17th century. They are an essential part of what makes the US great and are there to stay. In fact, they are not only staying but thriving. 

Each year, a lot of Indians purchase houses in the US, collectively spending billions of dollars and positively affecting the US real estate market and the US economy. They are, in part, what makes the US such a great country, and having more of them can only mean good things.

Out of all ethnic communities in the US (and there are a lot of them, as the US is a country of immigrants), Indians are, on average, the most successful ethnic group. They have the highest average income and are the most educated

In this article, we’ll talk about how to move to USA from India. We’ll tell you all there is to know about different types of US Visas that are available to Indian citizens. We’ll also share some of the most important things you should consider when moving to USA from India, with our main goal being to help you learn how to settle in USA from India.

Let’s start.

How to Settle in USA From India: Types of US Visas

When considering a move to the USA from India, it’s crucial to understand the different types of visas you may need. This knowledge can significantly increase your chances of approval. Here, we’ll outline the most common types of US visas available to Indian nationals.

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US Visitor Visas for Indians

Indians are eligible for two types of US visitor visas (i.e. non-immigrant visas). They are:

  • B-1 Visa — This is a business Visa that allows Indians to temporarily visit United States soil in order to engage in a short-term business endeavour (e.g., a business meeting, going to a business conference, etc.)
  • B-2 Visa — This is a regular tourist visa that gives Indians permission to visit the US solely for recreational purposes (i.e., as tourists).

The approval rate for B-1 and B-2 visas has increased significantly since 2018. As of the latest data, it went up from around 60% to close to 70%. Also note that before you apply for this type of Visa, you must correctly fill out the DS-160 form

US Work Visa for Indian Citizens

US work Visas are also known as immigrant-type Visas. The most common types available to Indian citizens include:

  • H-1B Visa — This type of Visa gives Indian citizens the legal right to live and work in the US for a period of one year. It can be extended to a maximum of three years. 
  • L-1 Visa — This work Visa is for intracompany transfers only. It allows Indians to move to the US, but solely to work in a US-based division of their current company.  
  • O-1 Visa — The O-1 Visa is reserved for Indian citizens who have shown remarkable skill or have made some significant achievements in their chosen field (e.g. art, science, medicine, business, etc.).

US Student Visa for Indians

Every year, around 250,000 students from India go to the US to study. They get there by applying for one of the following types of Visas:

  • F-1 Visa — This is a regular student Visa available to Indian students who wish to pursue higher education in the US. Before applying for an F-1 visa, you first have to get admitted to a US-based academic institution (e.g. college, university, etc.)
  • J-1 Visa — Popualry called the Exchange Visitor Visa, this type of US visa allows Indians to participate in an academic exchange program with the US. Typically, exchange programs are reserved for students but can also be for faculty members (i.e. professors).

The main US student visa requirements for Indian citizens include:

  • Getting accepted to an educational institution in the US
  • Filling out the appropriate forms
  • Having enough financial stability to cover the costs of studying and living in the US

Also note that, with a student Visa, you are eligible to get a US mortgage loan and buy US property. This is an important piece of information, as it is much more financially responsible to buy a home and pay interest on a mortgage loan (and build equity in the property) than to spend money on rent for the duration of your US stay (in most cases 3 to 6 years, depending on the length of the educational program).

US Family Visas for Indian Nationals

There are several different US family Visas for Indian citizens. The most popular ones are:

  • Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas — These visas are reserved for Indians who are immediate relatives of US citizens (e.g., spouses, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and parents). If you have a relative in the US, this would be the quickest path to getting a US Visa as an Indian citizen. 
  • Family Preference Visas—These types of visas are reserved for Indian citizens who have a more distant family relationship with a US citizen (e.g., cousins). 

Moving to USA From India: Main Things To Consider

Moving to USA from India is no easy task. To make it a bit less complicated, we’ve created a list of some of the most important things you should consider before you migrate to USA from India:

1. US Visa Requirements for Indian Citizens

The exact requirements to get a US visa as an Indian will, of course, depend on the type of Visa you’re applying for. But, for the most part, some general documents that you will most likely need to prepare include:

  • A valid passport and copy
  • Two passport-type photographs no older than 6 months
  • Various financial documents (e.g. bank statements, salary or wage, etc.)
  • A certificate that shows you don’t have a criminal record
  • A medical certificate (e.g. proof that you were vaccinated against measles)
  • Correctly filled out DS-160 form
  • Enough money to cover Visa application fees (roughly between $1,000 and $2,000, depending on the Visa type)

Just note here that not everyone who has the right documents and adheres to all of the requirements will be able to get a US visa. Because of that, some Indians try to get a US visa by first moving to a different country, getting permanent residence there, and then applying for a US visa. One example of that is the Indian community in the UAE. 

2. Learn About the Cost of Living

There is a vast difference between the average cost of living in the USA and India. For example, a single person can live on $350 per month in India. On the other hand, in the US, the average monthly cost for one person can range between $2,500 and $4,000.

So, before you start making moves and applying for a US visa, consider the increased expenses you’ll have to deal with in the States.

Some non-immigrant visas will allow you to work in the US. For example, on a student Visa, you’re allowed to work part-time jobs (up to 20 hours per week). 

3. Choose to Rent or Buy  

To settle in USA from India, you’ll have to find a place to stay. What you’ll essentially have to do is choose between:

  • Finding a place to rent
  • Finding a place to buy

When it comes to renting a house or an apartment, you won’t have many problems. Recent data shows that there are more than 50 million residential rental units in the US. On average, monthly rent in the States is around $1,500 (but can go up or down based on a specific state, city or neighbourhood). Renting is a good option if you need some time to get your bearings after the move, but it shouldn’t be looked at as a permanent solution.

On the other hand, buying a house in the US as an Indian is a much better long-term option. Owning a home can help you get a Green Card, but it will also give you some peace of mind and allow you to build your family’s future. Moving to another country is always difficult, and having a place to call your own can help you settle much more easily. 

The only problem with getting a house in the States is the cost. At the time of writing (April 2024), the average US home costs around $431,000, which is a lot of money (although it’s important to note that based on location, property prices can go down to less than $300K). 

How can this issue be solved? The answer is simple: mortgage loans. Thanks to the highly developed financial system in the US, a plethora of house loans are available to foreigners (with or without a Visa). The only thing you’ll have to worry about is having enough money to cover the downpayment (between 15% and 25% of the property’s value). And the rest, well, you can leave that to us. 

Need help getting a mortgage loan in the US as an Indian? Book a free consultation to learn how NRI can help you!

How to Settle in USA From India: Indian Communities in the US

There are close to 5 million Indians in the US. The first of them came to the US as early as the 17th century, and they have played a vital part in the development of this great country. Because of that, it goes without saying that there are a lot of Indian communities in the US. The most populous of them are:

  • New York-Newark Metropolitan area, with 715,000 Indians living there
  • San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Metropolitan area, with 450,000 Indians living there
  • Chicago-Naperville Metropolitan area, with around 240,000 Indians living there
  • Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan area, with around 235,000 Indians living there
  • Washington-Baltimore-Arlington Metropolitan area, with around 220,000 Indians living there
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach Metropolitan area, with around 200,000 Indians living there

Meet NRI: An Agency That Helps Foreigners Buy US Property

NRI is a one-stop shop for foreign nationals looking to buy US property. Including, of course, Indian citizens, who are some of the biggest buyers of US real estate. We help our clients during every step of the buying process, from introducing them to real estate agents to helping them obtain a mortgage loan in the US. Our mission is simple: get you the keys to your new house as fast as humanly possible. 

If you’re an Indian citizen looking to settle in the US and need help purchasing a house, NRI can help! Book a free consultation to learn more.

Founder & CEO
Luka Malkovich is a serial entrepreneur with years of experience in international real estate investing. As the CEO of Nonresident Investor, Luka’s mission is to educate foreign nationals about the US real estate market and help them secure funding and buy property in America. That’s why he’s using his expertise to turn the NRI blog into a knowledge hub for anyone interested in learning about US real estate. This article was written by a professional content writer in conjunction with Luka Malkovich. Luka has thoroughly reviewed this article and has given his final approval before publishing.

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