One of our readers, Pankaj has taken time to write up a very detail experience ranging from filing his H1B Visa petition to answering RFE and all the details related to Visa stamping, it is very well articulated. Thanks to Pankaj for taking time to write up and share it with us. Congrats to him on successful visa stamping. You can share your experience with our readers here
Background : H1B Petition to Visa Stamping – March to September 2013
Finally it all ended well, story which started in March, ended on a happy note on 20th September, when I received my passport with 3 years valid H1B stamped on it from New Delhi Consulate.
My petition was submitted in California center, with number WAC13136540**. Got to know that my petition was accepted in lottery around 20th April. I was feeling relaxed, but next bit of tension started after bit, that when will it get approved.
H1B Petition RFE – LCA Clarification – Curiosity on status – 15 days Approval
Finally after 2 months of wait on 13th June, RFE was issued on the petition. I tried contacting lawyers and my office mobility team to find out the reason, but by the time I got any success, RFE response was submitted on 19th June. Later on I got to know the reason, that in my LCA it was stated that 2 people will use this LCA, so the question that was asked was who all will use this petition. I become relaxed knowing it is not a complex question to answer for RFE. After this the next wait to see the petition in approved state started. I read it somewhere that it might take anywhere from 15 to 60 days for the petition to get decision after RFE response is submitted. I started looking for USCIS site to see if there was any change in the status.
Although I have applied for status update email alert, but out of curiosity I used to verify the status on their site. And to my surprise my petition got approved on 3rd July. So it was only around 15 days, in which my petition was approved after RFE response was submitted.
Receiving Documents from Employer
Now after it the next round of wait started to receive the document of petition. It took its own sweet time of almost 45-50 days. My company received it from the lawyer in states, but there was some arrangement to release the petition documents in 2 batches, and unfortunately mine was in second batch, that is why this delay.
Finally I received the petition document around August end, and after a mock interview with our mobility team, I was given a go ahead to fill the DS-160 form, and pay the fee.
Scheduling Appointment and OFC
My company was supposed to take the appointment using BEP priority. So after all of this my OFC was scheduled for 16th September, and interview for 17th September. I requested my interview to be scheduled in early morning, to avoid rush, as well as to get benefited with the good mood of VO. (This was my opinion, which might have been true as well).
Finally after reading at a lot of places, collected all documentation that I could have, over the weekend, was ready to face the music.
H1B Visa OFC Appointment at New Delhi
At OFC on 16th September – Documents required was DS-160 confirmation letter, appointment letter and passport. OFC center was just outside Nehru Place metro station on violet line of metro train. No need to worry for OFC, as the only question they ask for are DOB and place of birth to make sure that the information in DS-160 and passport match with what we are telling them. It takes only 1 minute to get done with it. At OFC center they put a sticker with bar code pasted on the back of passport. which is to be used in consulate on the next day.
US Visa Consulate – Process outside and inside, before the Visa Interview
At consulate on 17th September, my appointment was scheduled for 8 AM. I reached the consulate at around 7 AM. They let us go inside only around 7.30 AM. In the queue they asked us to take out passport, appointment letter, DS-160 confirmation letter, and BEP letter. They stapled all of these documents on the back of the passport. I think for H1B category, I was second in the queue. Once again after going in, got a token number, which was to be used throughout the process. Because of the early morning process, the consulate was not fully functional, so there was a long queue for getting the finger prints done. Again when the window to do finger prints scanning opened, I was 2nd one in the queue. It finished within 1 minute. Finger prints scanning was done at OFC center as well as in Consulate. The US lady at this window was courteous and polite, she asked me to wait in the waiting area in front of the counters. All but 1 window was closed at that time. I was eagerly waiting f or the screens to display my token number. Only 1 window opened after a while, waiting area was also not over occupied at that time. I was not feeling nervous any more. The person who had token number before me went on the only opened window, and I was the next one in the queue. I was trying to listen to the questions being asked from the gentleman in front of me.
Documents list for H1B Visa stamping
I had a B1 visa, on which I went to US for 8 weeks, 3.5 years back. I was sure there is going to be a question from there. I was carrying all sort of documents, which includes,
- I129 Copy
- LCA Copy
- BEP letter
- Past organization relieving letter
- Experience letter
- Degree Certificate, mark sheets
- 10th and 12th mark sheet
- Marriage certificate.
Finally I reached on the counter, in front of the polite VO. He asked only for my passport, which had I797, BEP letter and appointment letter stapled on the back of it. No other documents were asked from me.
H1B Visa Interview Questions by Visa Officer
Questions that he asked are (not in the exact order)
- Company that I will be working for?
- Salary in US?
- How long I have been associated with this company?
- Where will I be going? (City, on my response he said that he has not heard of that city, I told him the state afterwards)
- To whom I would be reporting?
- Will anybody be reporting to me?
- My roles and what I will be doing there.
- Then he asked me for my old passport which I lost, he asked how did I lose it?
- He asked for was there any visa on that, I got confused, I told him yes, then I realized that he was asking for my old passport, so I corrected myself and told him that I have an old visa on my current passport, nothing was there on the lost passport.
- Then he asked me have you been to States?
- On my response of yes, he asked me the purpose of going to US? He was just making sure that I do not mention that I went there to work. I was expecting this, as the same question was asked from the earlier candidate too.
- Are you married?
- For how long?
- Will she be going with you?
That was it, after it he told me that your visa is approved, please wait for the system to be updated. After 1 minute or so, I was done with it, he said thank you. I left from there with a big smile, and went on to the courier guys to submit my form and fee.
I was out of consulate by 8.20 AM.
Check H1B Visa Stamping Status Online
By that same evening I was able to see the status of visa as “Issued” on CEAC website. (https://ceac.state.gov/CEACStatTracker/Status.aspx?) Finally I received the passport on 20th September (as I was OOO on 19th September, and Blue Date guy will not hand over the passport to anybody else).
I received the visa for the validity same as my petition validity of 3 years.
All this while this site has helped me a lot, so I thought to help back to the community.
For this year, I have rarely seen any 221G reported from any of the forum and from any of the consulate. So all the best guys, and no need to be worried for the VO interview.
Good luck all.