One of our readers Srija has gone through the new OFC processing that was introduced for US Visa stamping. Thanks to Srija for sharing her experience with our readers. You can share yours here
Background – New OFC Process for US Visa Stamping
The H1B visa stamping process has undergone some change recently. Sharing my story with you to ease the nerves of the aspiring candidates 🙂
Under the new process, you have to set aside 2 days (mostly consecutive days) to complete the entire process. On the first day, you need to go to the Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) for your finger printing and a photograph. OFC is opposite to Apollo Cancer Hospital in Teynampet. You absolutely need not go there more than 15 mins in advance, unnecessarily sweating in the queue will only dampen your spirits and your photograph 😉 and even if you are a little late, it’s ok….so plan your journey accordingly.
Process Inside OFC center for American Visa
Once inside, you will be given a token, might have to wait for about 10 mins for your token number to be called and then will be asked to give your finger prints and pose for a photo. They will stick a barcode on the back of your passport which is a confirmation of your completion of the processes at the OFC. That’s all for this day.
Process at US Consulate for Visa Stamping
The next day, the bigger and the final one, requires you to go to the US consulate at Anna Salai. Please make sure you do not carry anything except the required documents and some cash, you will not be allowed to take them inside and there is no provision to store the items. After the security check, you will be guided towards a counter where they will bundle your DS160 confirmation sheet, your BEP letter and your passport together. Next you will go to a counter where you will be asked to give your finger print (this, i think is for validation…just like signature verification). Then you will be asked to sit and wait for your turn. You are called within 10-15 mins and assigned a counter where you wait in a queue after 2-3 candidates. Here is how my interview went:
H1B Visa Stamping Questions :
Me: Walking towards the counter smiling
Me: Hello Sir
VO: How are you?
Me: Am good. How are you doing today?
VO: Fine. Thank You
VO: For which client are you travelling?
VO: Can I see your petition?
Me: Sure. This bunch contains the approved I797. Passed on the bundle containing the approval notice at the top and the petition, client letter, mark sheet photocopy, etc. tied together.
VO flipped through the entire bunch
VO: Your visa is approved and you will get back your passport in 3-5 working days.
Me: Thank You
VO: Have a nice day
Me: Thank you so much
So my interview was as short and pleasant as that. But there were people who were asked a few more questions, but all standard ones.
Process after US Visa Interview at Consulate
After this, you need to go to another counter and fill up a form if you want your passport couriered to your office. You will need to pay 300 bucks per head (600 for you and your wife). Please keep the exact amount ready.
That’s all and you are ready to take off 🙂
Tip: There are many staffs all over the place and they are very polite and ready to help you always. All in all, it’s a very pleasant and smooth experience and having divided the entire process into 2 days, the average wait time has come down considerably.