10 Tips from Incredible H1B Visa Stamping experience 2010 – Chennai, India

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 63 Comments

My friend  recently got his H1B visa stamped in Chennai, India.  He was kind enough to take time and articulate every step of the visa stamping experience  in an intriguing way.  Thanks to him for sharing his wonderful H1B visa stamping experience. As most of you, who got H1B petition approved in 2010, might be going for visa stamping, this experience will help you with process. Please share your H1B visa stamping experience with our readers as well. It will help others get a perspective. Send your experience  to email redbus2us(at)gmail.com

The start:

I flew from Bangalore on the 7.00AM flight to Chennai .I had an option to go to Chennai or Hyderabad but I choose Chennai as I had been there twice before for F1 and H1 stamping.

The day started with nice breakfast on the Kingfisher airlines. As soon as I got off the plane I went to book the pre-paid taxi and found 2 more guys trying to do the same. I just introduced myself and asked them whether I could share the ride . I was thinking I can calm my nerves talking to the fellow guys. They gladly agreed and we quickly went ahead and booked one car and boarded it outside. The driver spoke very little English and we had to resort to hand signals and  utterances.  We kind of had the time as our appointments were scheduled around 9:15 AM. We finally arrived at the Anna Salai flyover US consulate office.

I should say that everyone knows it has US VISA OFFICE or US PASSPORT OFFICE  and would recommend anyone asking address to ask for the same and not consulate!

Quack quack:

There was a quack outside roaming who generously offered help . I was trying to find a place to get some final bank statement printout as I had forgotten to get them. He started saying that he knows the only place which is open at that time but I knew from other people’s experiences there was one just across the street and I need to cross the underground bridge. The printouts came with out much drama. It was 9.00AM and I had a problem to deposit my cellphone and key chains which the consulate would not allow inside . There is a small cart left to the visa office where they seem to offer this new service for a nominal price. I just deposited all my valuables including my iPAD and went inside.

The Consulate :

There is signup place where I needed to show my appointment letter and passport. They validated and let  me go inside the door on the left.  The people inside were courteous  enough and I proceeded quickly to the first check where they were checking for all electronics/cellphone that I might have sneaked in. They also got a x-ray scan going on my documents , which I should say were many. They validated the DS-160 and let me in. I quickly went in and went the documents verification/arrangement counter. The person was least interested in people around and looked like been doing the job for a while . He quickly arranged all the documents in an order and gave back the stuff that was not needed . Then he asked for the new photograph of mine , for some reason I knew the photo I had uploaded would not make the cut and had it ready. I gave my photograph which he stapled on ds-160 and said next !  They were herding people like cattle  occasionally shouting as some people were confused and wandered around . I knew I had to get to the other building and took off to the next building on the right . It was quick and easy as I got through 2 more strong doors and went in .

The Nerve Wrecker :

Then came the final act , they were dividing people based on the visa category ! I had to stand in the H1B counter. There were other counters for parents, visitors people who needed language assistance . Counter 2 person was rejecting all business visa’s  but he was asking all valid questions like “Why do you need to go when you can interact with the people from here ?” and I heard someone saying    “I might be doing some technical work also !” , for sure his visa was rejected . I proceeded with caution on my counter . There were some rejections in my counter also but it was because the guy got nervous and started repeating lot of things and not answering  the question at all ! I was doing my best to hold my thoughts which were ranging from “I should have gone to Canada or Hyderabad to I should have just stayed longer in US than coming back for stamping “. My agonizing wait was ended as the person who had been rejecting lot of B1’s was done with one more rejection. I said to myself this is it I don’t care I get it  or not but I’m going to put my best effort . I walked towards his window but looked like he was sweating and wanted to use air himself near a lone fan in the corner. Well this was pleasant surprise but gave me a good opportunity to jump to the next counter where the lady was issuing more visa’s than handing out rejections.

I went close to the counter and smiled broadly and wished her “Good morning”.

She wished me back  “Morning !” and I asked ” How are you doing today ?” .

She said “Good ! How about you?” I said ” Fine, Thank you!” .

She asked for my folder and I gave all the documents which she quickly went over and asked “Where do you work ?” .

I answered that and the next question followed “What do you do ?” . I took up this opportunity to explain my work in detail in pretty layman terms.

She looked satisfied and asked for the offer letter which I gave and she asked that “So you are joining after you go back?” and I said  “Exactly !” .

At this moment she said “Congratulations, you have been granted visa! I see that you want it sent to Bangalore , so expect it with in few working days!” . I thanked her and left .

The exit :

I was out by 9.50AM and I had to wait for my new acquaintances to show up .I collected my valuables from the cart guy. Meanwhile  the new  friends came out and I came to know that one got in and the other one got a query to submit more documents. We shared our stories and called the taxi and went back to airport . I had booked the 6.30 flight which I had to change quickly to the 12.00PM flight by paying a small extra charge. We flew back and I went from airport to home only to find that I was speeding 100 on the 80 km ring road . I some how managed to get off with a small fine and TX DL !

It was quite an experience which lasted few hours but I thoroughly enjoyed it . I would recommend everyone who would wish to visit India and get stamped . Just know that the officers and quite reasonable and ask questions which are always in the context.

10 Tips  – Key Learnings :

I hope my experience would help others to plan their things out well

  1. – Always double check and get all documents before hand – A checklist would be handy and will make it a no brainier.
  2. – It’s fine to carry cell phone but just know you have to deposit outside or even better go with a relative.
  3. – It’s much more organized now than it was 5 years back !
  4. – The guys inside the consulate are friendly and doing their job best
  5. – Every case different so do your best with home work
  6. – Don’t ramble and arrive at the point quickly as the officer’s have less than 10 mins to say yah or nah !
  7. – Practicing/getting familiar with the general set of questions/answers might help
  8. – They have a new AC area for waiting for which they would charge a minimal fees and I think is worth the price if you have to wait a bit
  9. – Never panic ! understand the dynamics of the interviewer and try to adjust , so always give yourself some time to study the interviewer while you are standing in the queue
  10. – Smiling and being courteous always helps!

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Comments ( 63 )

  1. Anny

    Please Help…Really confused:(


    I am applying B2 visitors visa for my parents this month. My dad has a h1 visa rejection under 214b in 2001…will that have any impact on getting a b2 now?
    My dad does not even remember the details related to the rejection..like
    1) which visa they had filed for him in 2001
    2) why did it get rejected?

    I am presuming it to be h1 because his old passport has a stamp stating 214b h1 with date..
    is it ok if he does not have an idea about his prior rejection??or does he have to show any evidences??

  2. Ravi


    my question is related to this article. I’m travelling to India in Nov,2012. I need to go to visa interview for H1 stamping and my case is first H1b stamping i.e.., F1 to H1 & EC model. My employer is major MNC and I’m working offsite in US. My manager lives onsite at client location. I got my F1 stamping done in Chennai back in 2008 and being it as +ve sign I would like to go to Chennai for H1 as well. But I’m from Hyderabad and my passport has Hyderabad address as my home address.

    Being a resident of Hyderabad, can I attend Chennai consulate for first H1b stamping ? Can I put my actual Hyderabad home address & mailing address in DS -160 and attend Chennai consulate for Interview ? In interview, do they ask like why did you come to Chennai if there is an embassy in Hyd itself. I’m confused on all these. Any help from you is well appreciated.


    1. administrator

      I think you can go to Chennai consulate as well. However, you can check CFS (or whoever is managing visa processing in India) about this as rules often change.

      1. Tia

        Hi I have a question related to my H1B stamping –
        1. I am in the EVVC model would that be a problem?
        2. my client does not give any letters, my employer filed my amendment recently, and the vendor letters worked and my amendment was approved.
        3. all my documentation has been legal and in place.
        4. I am going to Mumbai for stamping and my H1b has validity till Oct 2015, would that be a problem? if iam going in Feb 2015?
        5. What exactly is PIMS? do we need to do it ?


  3. Rajkumar Rajput


    I am currently working as a Individual contractor for the company who has filed H1B petition for me. Will you please let me know about the chances i have to get H1b as i am working as a Individual contractor from last 6 months till now but for the same company who has proposed me H1b visa.

    Looking for your response.


    1. Shravan

      Hi Rajkumar, Is your Employer a small desi consultancy or big MNC. ?
      A lot of small consultancies are under scrutiny these days and your chances of 221g are more though you do a good interview. But if you employer is maintaining all docs legally then you expect it to be approved.

      1. Rajkumar Rajput

        Hi Shravan,

        Thanks for you reply. I am not working for consultancy. It’s direct client i am working for. And yes my client is directly maintaining all docs legally with a law firm in US. I have B1 visa also for US and have been there 3 times for short period around 3 weeks each time.


    2. administrator

      Rajkumar Rajput,
      Your past/current job as individual contractor will not impact the outcome of your processing. It will be impacted by your experience/expertise, employer credentials and offered H-1 position.

      1. Rajkumar Rajput

        Hi Saurabh,

        Thanks for your quick reply. And the experience/experise and the possible offered all are sync and the Garfinkel Law firm is doing all process for my visa.


  4. Rohit

    Hi Saurabh,

    My petition has been approved and now I need to go for Stamping. So just need to confirm can the Visa be rejected during Stamping stage or once your petition is approved you will definitely get the Visa?


    1. administrator

      Yes, that is possible. Petition approval doesn’t guarantee visa stamping, and there have been several instances of the latter getting rejected.

      1. Rohit

        Thanks Saurabh,
        I have one more query, 1 of my colleague got his stamping done in last week but the Visa he got is valid for one year only till 12 Oct ’12.
        I earlier heard that H1 Visa is valid for 3 years.

        1. administrator

          Usually the visa is approved until the petition expiration date. It would be surprising if your colleague’s petition would have been valid for 3 years but he got the visa for just 1. Also, was any SOW/contract submitted as part of the document submission? If yes, then what’s the end date of the SOW/contract?

          1. Rohit

            Thanks Saurabh,
            My petition is approved so how can I check the petition expiration date. till now I have not received the petition.

  5. Sunny


    I have 3 questions:

    1) After getting the H1B visa through “company A” then is it possible to transfer the H1B to “company B” even before going to US to work for “company A”

    2) Whether the company A can cancel the H1B at any circumstances ?

    3) Whether the H1B visa is valid if I resign from the company A before transferring it to company B ?

    1. administrator

      1. Read this article
      2. Yes, they can withdraw the petition and send the passport to consulate to cancel the visa stamp. You can still go for H-1 transfer even if the petition has been withdrawn. In case visa stamp is canceled, you will have to re-appear for visa stamping once the new petition has been approved. If visa stamp is not canceled, then it’s good until its expiration date.
      3. You cannot use that petition to enter US, but you can still use it to transfer to another company.

  6. Shaan

    Hi Red Bus Team,
    I dont have any questions to ask you. I just wanted to say BIG Thank you for your answers and suggestions to all folks who are confused with theor status or dont know the answer.
    I am very proud of your team who are helping people without any expectation.
    I wish you all the best…

      1. john

        Hi Sourabh,

        i am appearing for visa interview next week.
        My role has changed recently and also my location has changed . So i have got a new LCA . I went through the LCA and i could not find duties there.. Also the ones i have captured in the DS 160 are the roles that are prescribed as per my company norms in offshore. Currently i do not have client letter but have an SOW. This describes the project but does not explicitly brief my duties in that.

        Can i explain to the VO in case he asks specifications? Now my appointment is booked and also i have made travel plans. Please guide

  7. anand

    Hi All,

    My H1B petition is approved and my interview is scheduled in feb. My B1 visa was refused last year under 214(B) rule and I have mentioned the same in DS160. My concern is that whether its going to impact H1B approval? I don’t have the refusal letter with me, is it mandatory to carry it? Quite nervous for H1B, whats the success chance…

    1. administrator

      214(b) rejection is when a person was found to be potential immigrant. As H-1 is a dual intent visa (i.e. an employer can file Green Card for an immigrant on H-1), 214(b) rejection should not impact H-1 visa stamping.

      Do mention the rejection in the DS form. It’s not necessary to carry rejection letter, but in case VO asks about the rejection you need to answer to your best of knowledge.

      1. anand

        Thanks Saurabh…

        Can anyone share the chances of approval as I have to travel by Feb end…has anyone gone to Interview recently, whats the common questions??

  8. nina

    Hi Saurab:

    My visa was approved and now I have to go to the interview at the USA embassy in my country, Costa Rica. Do you or anyone have any idea of how the interview is conducted here and what are the chances of rejection? I ll appreciate any feedback

    1. administrator

      I don’t know of any experiences. During visa stamping they would look at following details:
      – your profile (education, experience, adherence to law etc)
      – employer’s credentials (adherence to law, revenue, size, wages etc)
      – H-1 job offer (salary, duties, required skill set etc)

      Based on above details, the officer will approve or reject the visa stamp.

  9. Aniruddha

    My friend received a 221 G in December 2011. After he submitted the documents, his visa was rejected. I am planning to apply for H1 in 2012. I am currently on F1 OPT and work for a Desi Consulting company. I must go to India Dec 2012 for marriage. What are the chances of getting the Visa stamping? Is going to Canada for stamping a viable option? I have heard a lot of horror stories regarding this and am really confused.

    1. administrator

      It varies from case to case. As you are working for a desi consulting company, chances of you running into 221g is higher. Check w/ your employer/attorney if they have all the documents to show your eligibility (including employer-employee relationship). If other employees recently went for stamping through same employer, then you can learn from their experiences as well.

        1. administrator

          There are things both in your favor and going against you. As you have done Masters in US, you can go to CA. However, you are working for a consulting firm and so going to CA for 1st stamping is not that recommended. If you change employer to a non-consulting firm then CA is definitely worth a shot. Check w/ employer if they have employees who have recently gone for stamping and what their experiences were.

          Even if you do decide to go to CA, have a back-up option in mind.

  10. Sun


    My H1b visa is approved, now am planning to take visa interview at consulate. I have been currently working with the company under a contract of 3 years in which they have a clause if i leave them before the completion of 3 years then i am not entitle to have a experience letter. I have told this to my prospective US employer that they will not issue any experience letter and also to my attorney about this. I have 4 years US bachelors equivalency. How do i respond to the question if VO asks me where do i work currently? and If i say yes then they might ask about the experience letter :/ Further, I have not told my current employer about this H1b. Please advise what should i do? I can’t sleep because of this question 🙁

    1. administrator

      You can be truthful to the VO. You can carry recent payslips to show that you are currently employed w/ that employer. If you have colleagues that can vouch for you, then you can give their references as well.

    2. Rajesh

      Why would anyone expect Experience letter from a company that ur still working, ALso in case if u had left the company recently, In india u would get experience letter only after some time i.e. it might talke around 30 days or so…

  11. Manasi

    Hi Saurabh
    My VISA interviw is done. and Visa officer said he requires 7 working days for a review. Inspite of me not giving answers properly they kept my Passport & said within 7 working days I will get to know. Visa officer said”I wish it gets approved. But I need 7 working days to review”. What does it mean? will it be approved? I don’t want it to get approved…


    1. administrator

      It is tough to say for sure if it would get approved or not. He kept the passport and didn’t issue 221g, which is a sign that he thinks he has all the necessary documents to review your application and there are chances that they will approve it (they don’t ask for passport if they think they cannot make the determination at that point or chances of rejection are high).

  12. Manasi

    My employer has applied H1 petion for me & it has got approved. Next step is to go for an interveiw. I want my VISA to get rejected. How can I do this?
    If I say I dont want to go to USA will they convey that through some papers to my employer? I don’t want my employer to come to know about it. pls help me

    1. administrator

      Don’t go for interview. Why even schedule one? Rejections would stick to your profile, so it’s better to avoid the interview if you don’t plan of working for the employer.

        1. administrator

          I assume if your visa gets successfully stamped, your company would ask you to fly to US or leave the job, and you don’t want to move to US.

          If you tell the VO to not approve your visa, he may ask the reason and put it on the file. I doubt he would put it on any letter that would be sent out to the employer, but he may put it in his internal system against that employer. Your employer may then ask you how the interview went and may become suspicious if he realizes that visa was rejected even w/o issuing 221g.

          If you do not tell the VO, and submit incorrect documents (or no documents), then the officer would issue 221g and ask you to submit those documents. Your employer would then like to know 221g details and address them. If you do not share the details w/ employer and do not submit any documents against it, then the 221g will die it’s own death within a year or so.

          Does that provide clarity?

          1. administrator

            Any action that you take in this regard carries certain amount of risk. It’s your call on what risk you want to take.

            Even if your visa gets approved, your employer cannot force you to travel to US. Or will he and fire you if you don’t oblige?

          2. Manasi

            yes, there are chances of me getting fired if I dont agree to go. Thats the reason I am thinking to be saefer side. If VISA gets rejected on its own then I dont have risk of losing the job.

          3. Manasi

            My VISA interviw is done. and Visa officer said he requires 7 working days for a review. Inspite of me not giving answers properly they kept my Passport & said within 7 working days I will get to know. Visa officer said”I wish it gets approved. But I need 7 working days to review”. What does it mean? will it be approved? I don’t want it to get approved…

  13. Vipin

    Hi, I have just got my approval for H1b and H4 for my wife. I was on F1 earlier and she was on F2. I am afraid for visa interview now is it going to be tough one like F1 ,what are the chances of rejection as status change is already approved in USA. Also what are chances for H4. And what kind of question usually they ask?. Please suggest. Thank you all… Its a wonderful post!!

    1. administrator

      Both interviews are tough, but for different reasons. On H1, as long as you have credible employer, real job and good background, you should be fine.

      Typical questions on H4 include:
      – What will you do in US on H4?
      – Do you plan to work there (trick question)?

      1. Vipin

        Thanks Saurav for your answer. I have two options from now either do not go back home and keep working as my status is already changed. Second I go (as I have already bought my ticker as its my bro’s wedding) and take a chance for interview. Another option is leave my wife here she would be on f2 status changed to H4 and I go and try my luck with H1 stamping so at-least we will be out of risk for H4 stamping. I am so confused what should I do?

        Thanks for your response. Its so nice of you !!

        1. administrator

          B/w H1 and H4, H1 always hold more risk of rejection. So if you go for H1 interview, and your wife continues to stay in US, and assuming your visa is denied, then your wife will have no option but to leave the country (when the visa is denied, consulate at times sends the petition back to USCIS for revocation). So looking just from interview perspective, I don’t think it hurts for her to attend the H4 interview along w/ you (if the trip is really necessary).

          Are you working for a consulting company? Do you have recent payslips from the company?

          1. Vipin

            Thanks a lot for your help Saurabh.

            Its a real company not a consultancy. I have been approved for change of status also. How this makes a difference on my case and I got my H1b directly from my F1 no opt I was on CPT. I am still enrolled in MS as I have not completed it yet(only project/Thesis is left). I have my last six months payslips(CPT ones). If my H1b stamping got denied can I still come back on my same F1 ??

            Thanks a ton!!

          2. administrator

            If USCIS approved your H1 along w/ COS, then I don’t think there will be too many questions asked during interview (especially given that your company is not a consulting company). If you have been maintaining legal status before you leave for India, have payslips, and documentation from the employer, there is little chance that you and your wife will face hurdles during the interview.

            When does your COS come into effect (H1 start date)?

          3. Madubala

            sorry for intruding, but this is really a nice discussion and same case applies to me and my husband.But roles are reversed here. I am the main applicant and my husband is on my dependent, F2. I am in almost same situation as above. My concern is how difficult is to get a guy on H4 does that makes any difference ? and I am also concerned about same thing as above. Would my F1 stays valid if I am not granted H4 stamping ( my COS is approved) . Thx

          4. Vipin

            H1 start date was Dec 15,2010 just 5 days back. Yes I am concerned to know this too does F1 stays intact if we get our H1b stamping rejected.

            Thanks a lot!!

          5. administrator


            There is not much of difference when husbands are going for H4 interviews. The questions will remain the same – what do you plan to do there on H4 etc. As long as one stays on the script, it should be fine.

            In case H1/H4 interviews don’t go well, you can come back on F1/F2 only if they are still valid; not in terms of visa stamp but in terms of full-time course. If you are no longer enrolled as a full-time student, then you cannot come back on F1/F2.

  14. Vijay Vasu


    I have been a visitor to this site for the last few months. I would like to thank you for your assistance and help. This definitely helps.

    I had a question. I will be very happy if you guys could help me out.

    Q1. My H1B was filed on 06 Aug 2010. I have a copy of the receipt with me with the receipt number. The case status was in ‘Initial Review’ from Aug 6, 2010 till Nov 6, 2010. However, on Nov 6, 2010 – I got a mail from the USCIS stating that the case status is now ‘Acceptance’ and that a new notification has been sent to my employers. Is the change from ‘Initial review’ to ‘Acceptance’ an usual step? Is there something to be concerned about.?

    1. administrator

      IMO it’s not something to be too concerned about. My experience w/ USCIS statuses has been that they are very lucid, and at times more than 1 status represent same stage in the approval process.

        1. Vijay Vasu

          Hi Saurabh,

          My H1B is approved. It was approved a couple of week ago. Now what documents do I need from my employer to start with the stamping process?

          Do you have any guidance on all the documents that I will need to get my stamping completed in India? Thank you…


          1. administrator

            Looks like you have already found the article on this website. But still, here it is

          2. Vijay


            One of my friend got his approval notice for H1B. He is waiting for H1B stamping.
            The challenge here , he got his B1 Visa was rejected in Feb2010. will that affect the H1B stamping ? please guide me

          3. administrator

            It may or may not depending upon why B1 was rejected. If the reason for rejection was false information then it would definitely impact the H1 impact. However, if it was rejected for reasons limited to B1, or reasons that are no longer applicable, then it shouldn’t impact.

            Also, ensure your friend remains truthful on the DS form especially against the question where they ask if any visas were rejected/denied in the past.

          4. Sunny

            Hi Vijay,

            Did your friend got visa ? In my case also the B1 got rejected earlier and now applied for H1B.


  15. D. Chandramouli

    “Always double check and get all documents before hand – A checklist would be handy and will make it a no brainier” – could you please give a suggestive check list? thanks in advance.

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