One of our readers, MSG, attended H1B Visa stamping interview along with his wife and kid this month in Mumbai, India and got their visas done. He wrote up his experience in very detail manner, it is very insightful. Congratulations to MSG and his family for getting visa and Thanks to him for taking time to write up a nice experience to share with our readers. You can share your experience with our readers here
This forum has helped me understand the whole process much better and I thought I should also contribute to the forum with my experience if that can help others. This is a rather long post where I am describing my whole experience from filling DS160 to paying the fees to VAC ( Visa Application Center, previously called OFC – Offsite Facilitation Center ) appointment and actual interview.
Filling DS-160 Form
Filled up the DS160 for me my wife and my son on 24th June 2013 after receiving my approved I-797. Filled up a couple of them due to some issues with photograph, missing details, etc. Finalized on the DS-160’s that I would use to schedule an appointment. Created a profile on ustraveldocs.com/in. The site is anti-user friendly and it took me some time to get acquainted to the interface.
Scheduling VAC ( Previously called OFC) and Visa Stamping Appointment
Tried scheduling an appointment and reached the page where they present you with options for payment. Selected the online payment option and it gives an instructions page with a unique account number for Bank of America where you have to transfer appropriate amount which is converted to INR from dollars. The forex rate is only valid till some date that is mentioned on the instructions. Transferred the exact amount to that account and within 2 hours, I got a mail from them stating my receipt no. and that I can schedule an appointment now. Had to go through the complete process for scheduling from the start and on the payment page, the receipt number was updated for all of us and had to just select the date and time for interview. Selected 3rd July 2013 – 10:30 am after which it prompts you to select a date for VAC appointment which has to be a date before your consulate appointment (all dates after and including the consulate appointment are grayed and cannot be selected even by mistake). Selected 2nd July 2013 and proceeded further and selected the time slot of 12 pm. At the end you get an appointment confirmation with bar codes for all the members. Print a copy of the same and carry with you to the VAC. I was lucky that when I paid the fees, the conversion rate was fixed at Rs. 58 per dollar which is now close to 62 per dollar. So I essentially saved 4 X 190 X 3 = Rs. 2280 by just applying a few days earlier 🙂 So apply early!
VAC Center ( OFC Center ) Process – 2nd May 2013
Reached US VAC around 12 pm which was my appointment time. There was a lot of rush outside and a queue was being followed. Asked the security guys and they asked me to join the queue. Couple of guys scanned our DS-160 confirmation pages outside and put the DS 160’s in the appropriate passports. They let my wife and son inside and asked them to grab a seat there. I followed the queue and we got inside where we were security frisked and then at a counter inside they took the DS 160 and passports. They scanned it and stuck a sticker at the back of each passport. Then a watchman was giving token numbers as per number of passports. No separate token for children. So we got 2 of them for 3 passports. There was a person inside who would announce token numbers and ask us to go to appropriate window for fingerprints and photograph. The whole thing took around 30-45 minutes since there was a huge rush. The person at the window just took a photograph of my son from me, put it on the window in front of him and took a digital picture of the photograph. No fingerprints for children.
Visa Stamping Day – Process at US Consulate Mumbai – 3rd May 2013
Appointment was for 10:30 am. Reached the consulate at 10 am and there was no rush outside. I was very happy and thought that there is nobody today for the appointment and we should be done soon. Went inside the gate and upstairs where a person took our passports and scanned the sticker that was put a day earlier. Then we were asked to go inside a room where they scanned our folders and passed us through the metal detectors. We were security frisked and then asked to go inside another door. This door opened up into a big open waiting hall which was covered from top. Here I got the shock. I saw around 100-150 people already waiting in a queue formation sitting on the benches. The person there asked us to go sit at the end of the queue. The queue started moving and we were only allowed inside the main interview room at 11:15 am. Here they scanned our passports and issued us one token for a family. Then we had to walk to Windows 40/41/42 to give our fingerprints again. After that we had to sit on chairs in the hall and wait for our token number to flash on the screen. We were about a hundred numbers away from our token number. Since it was a holiday the next day, most of the windows were closed. There were only 7 windows operating for visa interviews. There was a big group of theater artists that were blocking a window for a very long time. And there was a lady VO who was usually getting couples for interviews and she was taking long for each of them. Finally our turn came at around 12:30 and we walked to the window.
H1B and H4 Visa Stamping Interview with Kid
VO: Can I have your passports
Me: Here you go.
(Scanned the passports)
VO: Where are you working currently and for whom will you work in the US?
Me: Working for XXX currently and will work for YYY in the US.
VO: Can I have your petition?
VO: What is your highest level of education
VO: What will you do at this job?
Me: (Answered my roles and responsibility)
VO: What will be your salary in the US?
VO: How did you find this job?
Me: Found it online and applied. Company started the process later.
VO: Do you have a prior US Visa?
VO: Can I see your Visa?
Me: (Gave him my old passport with the visa. He looked at the passport and returned it back)
VO: How many times have you traveled to the US?
VO: When was your last trip?
Me: Feb 2013.
VO: How long was your stay?
Me: 4 days.
VO: For the interviews?
VO: Which city will you be working?
VO: Have you decided on your corporate housing?
Me: Not yet.
VO: Do you have relatives in the US?
VO: Do you have friends or family who will assist you with housing?
Me: Yes I do have friends who will assist me with finding a house.
VO: (Pointing towards my wife and son) Will your family travel with you?
VO: You visa is approved and will be sent out in 3 working days.
Me: Thank you and have a nice holiday.
VO: Thank you. You too have a nice holiday.
And then waving at my son bye.
No questions asked to my wife and no document looked at except for our passports and petition.