Home » Visas » USA » US Visa Stamping Experiences » H1B, H4 Experiences : Regular, Dropbox from September 14th to September 20th, 2021

H1B, H4 Experiences : Regular, Dropbox from September 14th to September 20th, 2021

Below are User experiences for September 2021, starting from September 14th to September 20th, 2021 for H1B Visa and H4 Visa for both regular visa stamping and Dropbox. You can check US Visa Stamping Experiences for the entire collection


Experience 1: H1B at Kolkata

Booked slots on 30th Aug for Biometrics on 31st Aug and Interview on 9th Sept. Huge thanks to the telegram groups for timely updates on the slots!

Biometrics: 31st Aug 8:30am in Delhi

I reached the center 30 mins before my slot and I was let in. The process itself was pretty smooth and straightforward. I was asked to show my documents and my biometrics were taken.
Docs required for VAC: Passport, DS-160 confirmation and Appointment confirmation.

Interview: 9th Sept 9am in Kolkata.

I reached the consulate at 8am and surprisingly, I was let in right away. After security check, I was directed to a waiting room, where there were ~7 people before me. 2-4 interviewees were called into the interview room at a time. One thing that I liked about the consulate in Kolkata was that it’s pretty small and so, you won’t know the interview results of more than 3 people in front of you.

There were 2 active interview counters. My VO was an American male.

Me: Good morning, officer! How’re you doing?

VO: Great, how are you? Please pass your passport and I-797

Me: Passed

VO: What does your company do?

Me: Explained about our technology. VO asked a few more follow up questions.

VO: What’s your salary?

Me: answered

VO: Asked about my J1 visa from 2 years ago.

Me: answered

VO: Where is the company located?

Me: answered

VO: Do you work for any end client?

Me: No, I work for the employer. I slyly slid in why we fall under NIE 😛

VO: A lot of typing later… your visa is approved with NIE! You should get the visa and passport in a couple of days.

Me: Thank you so much, officer. Have a good day!

Me: Let out a huge sigh of relief and walked back to the hotel!

I wasn’t asked to show any document other than my passport and I-797. I think it mainly depends on how you answer the questions. My guess is that VO didn’t ask for the NIE letter because I answered about it in a previous question. However, it is always good to prepared for the worst case.

Very sorry for the delay in writing this, but I’ll be happy to answer any other questions you may have!

P.S. I was very lucky to find a slot in Kolkata. I heard Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai are not approving NIEs. So, if you get a chance, try to choose either Delhi or Kolkata for your interviews.

P.P.S. Be relaxed before you go to the interview. The waiting room in Kolkata has a nice AV about US with some great music to vibe to!


Experience 2: H4 at New Delhi

5th Biometric and Interview on 7th Sep 2021. Passport arrived on Sep 11th at Chennai with NIE approval.
Docs asked in biometric appointment:

  • DS160 confirmation
  • Appointment confirmation
  • Passport

Docs asked in Interview:

  • DS160 confirmation
  • Appointment confirmation
  • I797
  • Passport
  • Marriage Certificate

Interview Questions:

  • Who is your spouse employer and client?
    • spouse Role
    • Where are you going to stay in usa?
    • When did you get married?
    • When your spouse left to usa?
    (No NIE documents and supporting documents asked during interview)
    Congratulations visa is approved . You will receive the email passport in 5 days. Welcome to United States of America.

Experience 3: H1B at Hyderabad

Sep 13 ofc 10 am, Hardly it was for 5mints

Documents asked:
Ds160
Appointment conformation
Passport

Sep 14 interview:

Time 8:15am

They started sending 8 am slot people along with them i was there we were the first batch

I got the counter no 14 It was Lady officer she was friendly and polite

VO : Good morning
Me : Good morning mam
VO : How are you honey
Me : Am good mam , how are you
VO : good , pass me your passport
Me : pssed
VO : how long have you been married
Me : answerd
VO : where is your spouse
Me : In USA
VO : okay can you show me your marriage certificate and photo album (show them through window)
Me : showed and she said very beautiful pictures
VO : can you show ur spouse i94 copy
Me : Showed
VO : where is he working which state
Me : mentiond the state and city he is working at
VO : His annual salary
Me : mentiond
VO : she was typing in the system and mentioned we are keeping your passport will update you for the pickup, Thankyou have a good day
Me : Thankyou mam , Have a good day


Experience 4: H1 + H4 (Spouse+2 Kids) with Dropbox at New Delhi

DS-160 Chennai
VAC – New Delhi
Appointment on Sep 8th

Timeline:
Sep 8 : Doc Submitted
Sep 9 : Recieved
Sep 10: Admin Processing
Sep 13: Afternoon got NIE letter from consulate to email id
Sep 13: Evening got the Status change to Issued
Awaiting the passports at Chennai VAC

Common Docs
-Appointment confrmation page with the MRV reciepts
-DS-160 confirmation page for H1B & Dependants
-One photo for all applicants as per Specification

H1B Docs in addition to common docs:( All Docs photo copy only )
-Latest I-797
-Previous I-797s
-Positional Confirmation letter from Employer
-NIE letter from Employer

Had the End client letter, but they did not take it, Keep it handy
Same goes for I-129 Pettition docs, Keep it handy

H4 Spouse Docs in addition to common docs( All Docs photo copy only )
-Principal applicants Latest I-797
-Principal applicants Previous I-797s
-Principal applicants latest VISA copy
-Principal applicants positional confirmation letter
-H4 Previous I-797s

H4 Kids docs in addition to common docs( All Docs photo copy only )
-Principal applicants Latest I-797
-Principal applicants Previous I-797s
-Principal applicants latest VISA copy
-Spouse latest Visa Copy
-Principal applicants positional confirmation letter
-H4 Previous I-797s
-Both Parents Passport First and Last page

Have individual bunches so that its easy to handover the docs as when the VAC officer requests them,
THey are very patient and co-operative, so don’t panic and stay calm,

Photos are one rejection point, please ensure photos are per specification

Good Luck n All the best


Experience 5: H1B with NIE at Mumbai

Google maps took me to some wrong location first. Realised there is no consulate there. Thankfully I had left early enough to still reach the correct location on time.
Reached at Mumbai Consulate General at 8:30AM
My appointment was at 9AM
Interview started at 9:45AM
Charge to rent a locker for phone – INR 200/-

During the interview:
-I submitted passport and I-797 to the interviewer.
Q. – ‘What is your role ?’
Q – ‘How long have you been working for the employer?’
Q – Then she Asked me to explain the role again (because I guess it was not clear enough to her.)
I made sure that my description proves that the job is critical. But I could not finish the speech I had prepared in mind because she gestured me to stop speaking in the middle of it.
Q- What is your designation/ position?
Q- Where did you do your OPT from?
Q – Asked a follow up question related to the description of my job role
Q – When did you come to India?
I told her when and why
I was waiting for her to ask about NIE but she did not. I tried to say “I have NIE letter”. But I could only say “I have” and then she gestured me to stop speaking again.
Asked me to put 4 fingers on the fingerprint machine.
Said – “your visa is approved with NIE”


Experience 6: H1B with NIE at New Delhi

Delhi, F1 to H1B through Counselor Processing

Documents asked at VAC –
DS 160 confirmation
Appointment confirmation
Passport

At Embassy –
Passport and I 797

Questions asked :

  1. What are your responsibilities ?
  2. Do you work for the petitioner ?
  3. What’s your Job title ?

After this, I told VO that I have NIE letter as well, but he said it’s not required.

  1. Where did you go for Master’s ?
  2. Are you married ?
  3. When did you graduate ?
  4. What did you do after graduation ?

The whole interview lasted 5 minutes max.
I was in the embassy for an hour.


Experience 7: H4 at Kolkata

Took a really long time to get an appointment- worked with a middle man to get the appointment- got VAC in Delhi and appointment for today 14th Sept Kolkata.

VAC:
It was for 4-7 min process
Documents required: DS 160, Appointment letter and the passport.

Appointment today took exactly 1 hour from entry to interview to exit. Appointment was for 9:45 am, I reached by 8:45 am and was out by 9:53 am.

Interview process-
Interviewer: Good morning!
Me: Goodmorning!
Interviewer: please share your passport and I 797
Me: (shared the document)
Interviewer: please put your 4 fingers forward (similar to biometric)
Me: put my right 4 fingers for scanning
Interviewer: Is your husband in India/USA
Me: He’s currently in the states
Interviewer: Please share his passport copy
Me: shared the printout
Interviewer: When did you get married?
Me: shared the date
Interviewer: please share the marriage certificate
Me: Shared the registered copy
Interviewer: You visa has been approved with NIE and here is a letter for your personal consumption and use

The interview itself was 1-2 mins.


Experience 8: H1B with Dropbox at New Delhi

After spending weeks trying to schedule an appointment, I joined the H1b/H4 Visa Dropbox slots and Thank god (or the friend who sent me that link).

I had my DS-160 filled with Hyd location. Paid the MRV fee but was not able to find a slot. So with the group’s help, I booked an appointment at Delhi for Sept 8th 12:00 PM. DID NOT update the DS-160. Left it as it was.

I work in IT sector and my client is of HealthCare sector.

Sept 7th: Flew from Hyd to Delhi on Air India. No RT-PCR was asked.
⁃ Metro was right outside Terminal gate.
⁃ Used Paytm to buy a ticket to Shivaji Stadium, towards New Delhi. Costs you 50.
⁃ Stayed at The Park as it was 10 min walk from the VAC. It costs you 5000+ per night.

Sept 8th: Went out and got a 2X2 photo and couple of prints from a shop behind the gas station across the Metro station. There are agents outside if you need to find a copy/photo station. And there are bunch who can help you with DS-160 modifications as well.

Sept 8th 11:30 AM: The security lets you in only 30 min prior to your appointment. Not anytime earlier. Documents carried are below and all of these are a MUST as the guy at the counter inside specifically asked for each of the below documents.
⁃ Appointment confirmation
⁃ DS-160 confirmation
⁃ 2 Passports, current and older one (all passports with any previous stampings basically)
⁃ Copy of current I-797. There was no gap for me so did not carry the previous one.
⁃ Copy of just expired Visa.
⁃ Employment confirmation/verification letter.
⁃ Employer NIE letter
⁃ Client NIE letter. Told the guy that I work at end-client location and have a letter from the client as well and it may strengthen my case. He asked to pass on that document as well.
10 min and I was out by 11:40 AM. long before my scheduled time 🙂

Sept 9th 11 AM: Status changed to Application Received.
Sept 10th: Same, no change
Sept 11th-12th: Weekend
Sept 13th 11 AM: Status changed to Administrative Processing
Sept 14th 10:30 AM: Received NIE approval mail.
Sept 14th 12:30 PM: Status changed to Issued.

Now I await to pick up my passport from Hyd pickup location.

I hope this helps calming someone’s nerves and gives them some pointers. Good luck and hang in there.


Experience 9: H1B at New Delhi

Quite similar to a lot of shared experiences in this group It’s quite redundant now. Thanks to the Dropbox slot group without which I wouldn’t have been able to book a slot.

My previous visa was issued by Kolkata, so I had applied for an NIE to Kolkata embassy in July, but my previous H1B had expired, but Kolkata embassy approved the NIE. Got the NIE email. Filled DS-160 for Kolkata but found a slot in Delhi. I did not include the Kolkata NIE approval in the Dropbox appt for Delhi.

Timeline:

Aug 30: luckily got a slot got Sept 2 at Delhi embassy
Sept 2: Dropbox appointment, submitted documents,
Sept 3: CEAC Status “Application Receiced”
Sept 4,5,6: weekend and Labor Day
Sept 7: CEAC status “Admin Processing”
Sept 8: CEAC status “Issued” but did not receive an NIE approved email.

Sept 8: Passport tracker “Passport still with embassy”
Sept 9: passport tracker “Received from consular section and processing for delivery”, email tracker says “In Transit from post”
Sept 13: no status changed, sent mail to support-india@ustraveldocs.com asking what happened to my passport, they sent me a bluedart tracking number.
Also got a call from BlueDart to pickup.
Sept 14: picked up Passport, it has NIE annotation, thankfully.

Sept 15: leaving for SFO tonight from DEL.

I came before the travel ban and was stuck in India for a long time🙏🏻


Experience 10: H1B at New Delhi

USA to India Travel (9/6/21)

  1. United Airlines, San Francisco (SFO) to New Delhi (DEL). Obtained Negative RT-PCR test report at Santa Clara County Fairgrounds testing center (Sample on Saturday morning, result on Sunday night). Filled out Air Suvidha one day prior to departure time.
  2. Baggage Check-in and TSA check at San Francisco International was over under 20 minutes.
  3. 2 meals served in United Airlines. Pleasant flight.
  4. Arrival in New Delhi. Immigration at India will be over in less than 10 minutes. Passport and Air Suvidha (mobile version works too) asked.

New Delhi Biometrics (9/9/21)

  1. Took a cab from Hotel (to Shivaji Stadium Metro Station. The VAC centre is inside a full fledged Metro station along with other countries’ VACs.
  2. I reached an hour early to the appointment time. I was let in only half hour early. Was made to wait in the waiting area inside the Metro station.
  3. The appointment got over in less than 10 minutes. Only Drop Box applicants were being asked to give photographs. Since mine was a first time H-1B, they took my picture and biometrics.

New Delhi Interview (9/10/21)
Reached the Embassy 45 minutes prior to the appointment time. They let me in. I had no electronics whatsoever, so did not spend extra time at other places.
Absolutely no one inside the Embassy near the Consular processing section (this is the section of the Embassy that processes visas). I was the only one, nobody in front of me. Went directly to a counter where they check for documents like I-797 and passport. After the document check, I was sent to a counter with the consular officers.
VO : Please pass the passport and I-797.
Me : Passed the documents. Also tried passing the NIE letter I was carrying and asked if he wants to take a look (just to establish that I have NIE letter with me in case he wants to see)
VO : No need, I’m good.
VO : I’m just gonna ask some routine questions. You might already know the drill (at this point I kinda realized that the VO was super chill)
VO : What is your title name at your company?
Me : Software Development Engineer.
VO : Were you on F-1 status before?
Me : Yes
VO : Did you work for the same employer on OPT?
Me : Yes.
VO : Did you study in the US before your Master’s degree?
Me : No
VO : Which school did you attend in the US?
Me : Told my University name.
After I told my University name, VO was super familiar with my college football team and the city’s football team as well. We had a good chat about the teams and NFL preseason games I went to.
VO : Alright, I’m approving you visa and also approving the National Interest Exception. You will get you passport within a week. Gave back the I-797 to me.
Cut to 9/15/21 : Received my passport with the visa stamp at Bangalore. Visa annotated with “NIE under all P.P.S on Novel Coronavirus”

Takeaways :

  1. Book appointments only in New Delhi if you do not have a US Citizen kid or do not qualify for other similar exceptions. Else there is a pretty good risk of 221g due to travel ban.
  2. Try to let the visa officer know that you have the NIE letter. Don’t wait for them to ask you.
  3. Please follow (1), cannot stress this enough. Good luck!

Experience 11: H1B at New Delhi

My ds160 was set for Hyderabad, but was accepted at Delhi. I updated new ds160 on the cgi portal 3 days before the appointment date.

Travelled from hyd to Delhi.
Stayed at Samrat hotel.
Ordered food through Swiggy. Food was pricy and not too good at the hotel.

Vac on sep 13 and interview on sep 14.

Vac appointment was at 11.
Reached at 10:15. Had to wait till 11 to go inside the Shivaji metro station. Huge line outside. Many people waiting for Vac for other countries as well.
Went in at 11:15 for biometrics. There’s a storage facility opposite the US VAC centre, was charged 200rs for a bag.
Only 2-3 people at the US vac centre.
Came out in 5 minutes.
Docs asked: passport, ds160 confirmation and appointment confirmation.

Consular Interview was at 9:40.
There’s a phone storage opposite the embassy, was charged 50rs.
Went in at 8:45, many people waiting for the interview.
There is food inside for kids like Pringles, you need to purchase it.
Had biometrics and photo taken again, there was an issue with the system.

5 counters were working, almost all of them were approving visas, unless couldn’t explain their answers.

I had counter 18, middle aged indian.

Questions asked:
Asked for passport and I797.
Tell me about your job?
Answered company name, location, duration of work, role and responsibilities.

Are you single?
Highest degree?

Congratulations your visa is approved with NIE.

I come under government critical infrastructure and IT.

Just be clear and to the point. Came out at 10.

Travelled using Uber after landing in Delhi, use meru it’s just outside.


Experience 12: H1B with Dropbox at New Delhi

Sep 3: Submitted documents (including company provided NIE letter)
Sep 4 to Sep 6 (holidays): No update
Sep 7: No update
Sep 8: Application Received: Last Upd: Sep 8
Sep 9: Application Received: Last Upd: Sep 9
Sep 10: Application Received: Last Upd: Sep 10
Sep 11 – Sep 12(holidays): Application Received: Last Upd: Sep 10
Sep 13: Administrative Processing: Last Upd: Sep 13
Sep 14: Received NIE approval email. After about 2 hours status change to ‘Issued’
Sep 15: Passport status updated to ‘Passport has been received from the consular section, and is currently being processed for delivery’
Sep 16: 9:15 AM: Received Passport (although Passport Status still showing ‘Passport has been received from the consular section, and is currently being processed for delivery’)


Experience 13: H1B with Dropbox at New Delhi

10/9 Dropbox appointment. Submitted old + new passport, I797 copy, DS160 confirmation, Dropbox appointment confirmation, employment verification letter with current role mentioned in it- they will highlight your role in this letter, employer provided NIE letter. Mine NIE was working in IT for a healthcare client.

If you have luggage while attending appointment, security will allow you to use outside counters instead of going into the VAC center.

There is a photo studio in a gully next to the petrol pump, right opposite to Shivaji metro station. It’s a small alley way so make sure you don’t miss it. They might charge Rs 200-500 for 8-12 pics but you can’t go wrong with those.

13/9 status updated to application received
15/9 Administrative processing
16/9 received NIE email and status changed to Issued.
Waiting for the passport to be returned.


Experience 14: H1B at Kolkata

My case –
My last visa was stamped in Canada so I was not sure if I am qualified for Dropbox . Confusing info there . So I chose to go for full regular appointment. I got lucky and found a Kolkata slot just last week ( thanks to group like this)

VAC

  • uneventful.
    Tip- They allow you to carry mobile phones in off mode and can leave your backpack outside .
  • don’t come early . Just 10 mins before is more than enough as they don’t let you in .

Consulate

  • He asked me what’s my qualifications and then smiled & chuckled and said your visa is approved ! No other questions asked.
  • Said approved with NIE for 12 months
  • no NIE letter was asked by him. I offered but he said not required .
  • I landed to India last week . But no quarantine or vaccination related questions asked .

Tip for Kolkata( with all due respect to locals 🙂

  • Had some bad first time experience with cabs & hotels etc. My fellow applicants also shared similer stories of being swindled & taken for ride.
    — Plan for bad roads & heavy rain and combination of rain and bad roads!!
  • Be careful where you stay . I suggest stay at walking distance from consulate if you come to Kolkata . My first hotel was horrible but second Airbnb actually much better & safer .

I am waiting now for my formal NIE approval & passport .

Good luck with your appointments.


Experience 15: H1B + H4 (Spouse+Kid) with 221g, Dropbox at New Delhi

7/19: I got lucky to find a slot for dropbox at Delhi VAC for August 5, 2021.

7/19: Raised emergency request based on USC kid missing 12month and 15month vaccine along with school year missed for my elder son.

7/22: got an email in evening that my EA has been approved.

7/22:While booking Emergency request I was getting an error that your group size is greater than current allocation.

7/23: Called customer care next morning and they confirmed that my EA is approved, request is valid till 7/26/2021 and I must go between between 10 AM and 3 PM, got the confirmation email from USTravel Docs while on call with them. Took the printout of the same email.

7/26: Reached VAC at 11:00 AM, submitted following documents:
a) H1B:
Passport
Email appointment confirmation (EA)
Original appointment confirmation
DS160
1 Photo
All I797’s photocopy
NIE cover letter (USC kid)
Birth Certificate copy
US Passport copy
Employment verification letter
Latest VISA copy
b) H4 spouse:
Passport
DS160
All previous H4 I797’s
All current and previous H1B’s I797’s
1 Photo
NIE cover letter (USC kid)
Birth Certificate copy
US Passport copy
Employment verification letter
Latest VISA copy of H4 (don’t remember about this one)
c) H4 Kid:
Passport (Current and old with US VISA stamp)
DS160
All previous H4 I797
All current and previous I797’s of H1B
Photo
NIE cover letter (USC kid)
Birth Certificate copy
US Passport copy
Employment verification letter
His latest VISA copy (don’t remember about this one)
Latest VISA copy of H1B (Primary applicant)
Passport copies of both the parents with pages having demographic information.

7/27: status change to application received.

7/29: Status changed to Refused.

8/3: Got all the passports back with 221g yellow slip asking for following documents:
a.) LCA
b.) Full Petition

8/4: Reached New Delhi VAC center around 1 PM and submitted the additional docs and my passport as well as spouse and Kid passports (both H4). This time VFS didn’t take any other docs except those were mentioned in 221g.

8/30: Status changed from refused to Administrative processing for all 3 applications.

9/8: My wife’s application status changed to refused from AP.

9/9: She got an email to come to Embassy, New Delhi for fingerprints.

9/10: reached Embassy at 8 AM, did the finger printing and status updated to Admin Processing immediately after the process was finished.

9/10: Same day in evening my status changed to Refused again from Admin processing.

9/13: My wife’s and Son’s application status (both H4) changed from Admin Processing to Issued.

9/15: Got dependents passport with stamp and my passport with a 221g asking me to appear for fingerprints at Embassy (not VAC center)

9/16: Went to Embassy again this time for my fingerprints. Weird why they didn’t call us together. Status changed from Refused to Admin Processing right after fingerprints was done.

9/17: VISA issued around 1 PM.
Waiting for the passport to be delivered at home.


Experience 16: H1B at New Delhi

Timelines:
Got consular dates for 24 and 27 sep i hyd location
constantly checking for the updates about Hyd consulate .. Hearing all delayed and edge case scenarios about Hyd consulate.. I still had gut feeling to go with Hyd only as my company is solid MNC in its sector..

My client requested for early dates so just looked at cgi portal on sep 12 to get early dates.. luckly i got 15 and 16th Dec ( got dates because it rained heavily and most of them canceled their appot)

Sep 15: Bio metric done in just 5 mins.. I didnt see any crowd .. you can take bags and mobile inside VAC .. no need to deposit mobile to counters in delhi VAC you just need to switch off it.. please dont deposit you mobiles there they will loot you

Sep 16: Go as early as possible because my appointment is at 10 but reached by 7:45 .. Here you have to deposit mobile they will charge 50rs and if u are carrying bag they will charge 50rs more.. but you can carry open bags like the one we get at dmarts
security asked to go inside though my appointmnt is at 10 because of less crowd
8:10 security check completed
8:15 waited inside the hall till they allow us to move to next counter
8:17 counter number 3 — verified my i797 and passport and sent insde
8:20 asked to wait for my turn
8:30 security told to wait at counter 12
8:32 H4 infront of me rejected due to lack of NIE letter
8:36 my vo is surprisingly indian
8:37 VO: pass your passport and i797
VO: which company
me: answered
VO: salary
VO: how many years of exp
VO: are you married?
VO: how do u wualify nie
VO: where do you stay
VO: where do you work client or emplyer
and had some friendly question
VO: I am approving your visa with NIE

Sep 17: 2pm status issued


Experience 17: H1B with Dropbox, NIE at New Delhi

Visa Dropbox appointment for Sep 7 at New Delhi.

Approached company lawyers to help prepare NIE Draft on Aug 12. Due to the number of NIE requests they are receiving these days, they only took up my case on Aug 26. Meanwhile I drafted a 2.5 page letter myself as a start. Once the lawyers responded, it took them another 7 business days to complete the ‘onboarding’ process and then they reviewed my draft of NIE letter instead of drafting it afresh. I received the NIE Letter from lawyers and signed by employer just in time for my appointment on September 7th.

For the Dropbox appointment I carried all the documents listed in the appointment letter. I had prepared another personal NIE letter in addition to the employer provided NIE letter. But personal NIE letter was not accepted during the appointment as it was not in the list of documents.

On Sep 8th status changed to Application Received. On Sep 9th to Administrative Processing. On Sep 10th morning I received NIE Approval email and later in the day status changed to Issued.

Passport with H1B visa and NIE annotation was delivered on Sep 15.


Experience 18: H1B at Kolkata

Received my passport with visa stamp 🤩🙏 I work in IT domain as developer

H1B 1st time, lottery 2021, cap 2022

13 September Biometric Kolkata VAC @11:30 AM
14 September interview Kolkata consulate @8:30 AM

Interview questions : in order

  1. Will you be working at employer or client location?
  2. What is your role and responsibilities?
  3. How much salary offered ?
  4. Are you married ?
  5. Do you have kids ?

VO response: ” your visa is approved with NIE, you will receive your passport in 6 days. You will have to pay 650 rupees during delivery. “

Status transition :
14 September, 2 hours after interview “REFUSED”
14 September, 10 PM , “Administrative PROCESSING”

15 September, no status change since last change

16 September, “ISSUED”

18 September, Received my passport with stamp

For nie , visa says : “NIE UNDER ALL P.P.S ON NOVEL CORONA VIRUS “


Experience 19: H1B at New Delhi (3rd Attempt)

First time H1B stamping approved in third attempt in New Delhi. First attempt in June in Mumbai refused. Second attempt in Aug in Hyderabad refused.

Attempt One (Mumbai on June 2)
VO : Who is your employer
Me: Answered
VO: Did you do masters?
Me: Yes
VO: How long did you work on your STEM OPT?
Me: About 3 months
VO: What are your roles
Me: Answered
VO: You know there is a travel ban in place now rite?
Me: Yes
VO: So what are your plans on travel.
Me: I will wait for a while else I will travel via third country (I was not very active in this group and was under assumption that visa would be stamped without the NIE)
VO: Alright. Are you working from home now?
Me: Yes
VO: Cool. Just keep working from home and we will call you back after the travel ban expires. (Passed a 221g slip stating the consulate would call be back)
Me: OK. Thank You

Attempt Two (Hyderabad on Aug 3)
VO: Do you have children?
Me: No sir
VO: Are you with the [Employer name]?
Me: Yes.
VO: I see you were in Mumbai before. Why didn’t you contact them? They could have done it for free.
Me: I am not aware of that at all. Last time when I went there, I was not aware of the NIE. This time, I got the letter.
VO: Alright. You could have done it for free. You paid an additional $160 for this. That’s fine. we will still do it for you, not a problem. Well, at least I will try to do my best.
VO: What do you do sir?
Me: Answered.
VO: Why are you an NIE?
Me: Firstly, because it qualifies under two categories. Financial services sector and Information Technology sector. We look out for threats and then try to remediate them..(VO interrups)
VO: That’s ok. (starts writing the case number on the 221g sheet. Pasted a sticky note with “NIE” written on it). We will determine your case in a couple of days and let you know. Thank you
Me: Do you need the NIE letter sir?
VO: Nope.
Me: Thank you, sir

After two weeks of waiting, the passport was returned with no stamp and 221g inside.

Attempt Three (New Delhi on Sep 16)
VO: What are you Roles?
Me : Answered
VO: Can you pass me your client letter
Me: Gave
VO: So you have been circuiting all over India. You have been to Mumbai, Hyderabad.. (Laughs)
Me: Yes sir. First time I was not aware of the NIE, second time it didn’t go well and now I have all supporting documents for the NIE. As my dad lives here, I booked a slot here and it’s been 5 months I have been waiting to go back to USA. My client is also waiting for my arrival.
VO: I know it is frustrating. Alright I am approving your visa.
Me: Thanks a lot sir.

Note: After taking advice from multiple Immigration lawyers (US and india), I learnt that H1b is a dual intent visa. Multiple attempts for interview will look desperate but it is not a problem and is a safe option. It does not portray as a potential Immigrant.

Alternate Travel Plan Tried by my friend after refusal in Mumbai
Step1 : Emailed Nepal consulate that he needs his first time H1b stamping done
Step2: Receives an email from cgifederal support confirming if he wanted to schedule an interview for first time H1b stamping in Nepal
Step3 : He confirms
Step4 : support tells that they need to port the existing profile from India to Nepal cgi portal.
Step5: He confirms and they port it in 24 hours
Step6: Logs in the Nepal portal and realizes the payment for the appointment slots should be done in person at the bank and cannot be online. Calls the bank but no use
Step7 : Travels to Nepal, makes the payment in person. No visa necessary. Can use either passport or Aadhar card or voter ID to enter.
Step8: Books the slot in next 4 days and appeared for the interview.
Step9: After the quarantine period, goes to airport to board USA flight.
Step10: Realizes that we cannot travel from Nepal to other country if you are visiting from India. So returned to India and travelled to Mexico. No visa necessary for Mexico as there is a US visa stamped
Step11 : Quarantined in Mexico for 2 weeks and traveled to USA.

Note: There is no harm in contacting and asking third country for interview. I believe you can try Bangladesh and Sri Lanka


Experience 20: H1 + H4 (Spouse+Kid) with Dropbox at Chennai

My application status changed to Issued (after a week). Yet to collect passport.

Required Documents Listed in Dropbox confirmation Letter:

1.Prior visa in the same class which is still valid or expired within last 48 months. (applicable for H1,H4,L1Individual,L2)
2.Photocopy of current I-797 (applicable for H1,H4,L1Individual,L2)(If issued for dependent)
3.Photocopy of previous I-797 (only if the last visa stamped on the passport and current petition have a gap of more than one year) (applicable for H1, L1Individual)
4.Principal applicant’s current I-797’s copy (applicable for H4 and L2)
5.Principal applicant’s previous I-797 only if the last visa stamped on the passport and current petition have a gap of more than 1 year. (Applicable only for H4 and L2)
6.Principal applicant’s photocopy of current I-129 (Applicable only for L2 Blanket)
7.Principal applicant’s last visa copy (Applicable only for H4 and L2)
8.All previous I-797s for the applicant. (Applicable only for H4 and L2) (photocopy)(if available)
9.Principal applicant’s position confirmation letter (original/copy) from employer/petitioner. (Applicable for H1, H4, L1 Individual, L2)
10.Employment letter specifying why the applicant qualifies for a National Interest Exception (NIE) or proof of relationship that the applicant is not subject to the PP.

I prepared and took all docs mentioned in the list for H4(Sposue and First Child) and H1 but they did not take any of H4 I797 docs since all of us applied together and they said it will be just based on H1 petition.

If you are just doing H4 then better to go as per the docs mentioned in the appointment confirmation letter

For me, these are the things they took

  1. Appointment confirmation letter
  2. Ds 160 for all 3
  3. 1 photo for all 3
  4. Current Passports of all 3
  5. Current and previous I797 of primary applicant (H1)
  6. Birth certificate and passport of US child in lieu of NIE
  7. Employment verification letter

At the document collection center, they asked for NIE even though I gave birth certificate and passport of USC child. I clarified that its either NIE or proof of relationship. (referring to point # 10).
After discussing internally, they accepted after a minute. IF you want to play safe, Prepare NIE letter and submit that as well.

Another thing to note (which is applicable in my case) is It is mentioned that for Kids under 14 to be eligible for dropbox, both parents need to have valid visa.
In my case, all of us do not have valid Visa. At the counter, I asked about this and they said it is applicable only when the dropbox is applied for the Kid separately.
Since all of us applied together, this criteria is not applicable and then kid is also eligible for Dropbox.


Experience 21: H1B with 221g at New Delhi

Got 221g in Mumbai on July 6th with a comment needs NIE on the slip and was told that due to PP can’t issue visa by the VO.

After reading through the success stories approached the friends and decided to go for fresh in person interview for Delhi.

Filled in form and got regular appointment in the immediate week with a gap of just 3 days (Was so fortunate & Lucky – Thanks to my master Shirdi Sai Baba)

VAC : Hyderabad – 15th Sep
Interview : New Delhi – 17th Sep

Questions:

VO: Good Morning
Me : Good Morning Sir
VO: Are you married
Me : First question on my marriage & Kids (felt bit relaxed ) Yes and exchanged lil casual talk.
VO: I see your visa was refused
Me: Explained the story of refusal and said I have Employer given NIE letter.
VO: Can you pls pass it on
Me: Handed over
VO: Why is it so critical and which sector does it fall under
Me: Explained with very confidence (Tip – Use words like critical, access to personal data, security, compliance etc…whichever is applicable for your profile)
VO: DO you work for end client
Me: Yes
VO: What do they do
Me: Explained
VO: Designation
Me: Answered
VO: Salary
Me; Answered
VO: OK, give me a min I need to update here
Me: I could sense it was approved by his expressions
VO: OK sir, I’m approving your visa and you have a good day
Me: Thank you sir, you have good rest of the day.

Note: I have seen a person in front of me who re appeared after 221g got yellow slip (As per my observation he tried to be over smart with visa officer and his language was not so good). So, please do not give any un necessary information (when he was asked client letter, he also handed over his ID card and VO was like with a look I don’t need it). However, explain in detail about your Job description and why do you fit for NIE.


Experience 22: H1B with 221g at New Delhi

April 29th – Dropbox appointment at Hyderabad
June 7th – Received 221g white slip and nothing was checked – Apply via NIE or wait for the ban to be lifted was mentioned.

Received NIE from my employer on August 25th.
Sent NIE email to Hyderabad consulate, but no response for 10 days. Sent a follow up email and they mentioned that they will not issue any new visas.

Reapplied as a Regular appointment at Delhi with a new DS 160 application.
Sept 19th – Biometric at 15:00. Location is at the backside underground of Shivaji Stadium Metro Station – Smooth and straightforward process – Locker facility available there itself for Rs. 200.
Sept 20th – Interview at 9:10. There was a long queue before me and it took approx. 40 – 45 minutes from initial security check to the actual interview – Private backpack and cellphone storage facility available at the initial security check for Rs. 50.

VO was a female and had refused the visa for the previous applicant.

VO: Good Morning
Me: Good Morning Officer.
VO: Pass me your passport
Me: Passed
VO: Pass me your I797, Employment Verification Letter, and NIE letter
Me: Passed
VO: Looked at them. What do you do in the US?
Me: Told my role/title and responsibilities at my company and the clients I work with.
VO: How many clients does your company have?
Me: Answered. (And I work with X number of clients and gave their names and which sectors they belong to)
(Pause)
Me: When did you graduate? (Ex-F1 visa holder)
VO: Answered
VO: What field of study did you graduate with?
Me: Answered.
VO: Is this your first time visa stamping.
Me: No, this is my extension with the same company.
VO: Your visa is approved with NIE
Vo: Asked me to place left hand 4 fingers on fingerprint machine.
Me: Thank you officer.
Me: Officer I have a follow up question. Will I get NIE annotation on my visa or I will receive NIE approval email.
VO: You will get it in an email.
Me: Thank you officer.

(Requested premium delivery of passport)

Thank you everyone for sharing their experiences.


Experience 23: H4 at New Delhi

Today my H4 visa was approved. The interview process was a breeze 😊

ME – Very Good Morning Sir.

VO – Good Morning.
Please give me your passport.

VO – Please place your left 4 fingers for fingerprints.

VO – Please give your wife’s I797 copy.

VO – Does your wife still work for the same Employer?
ME – Yes

VO – What’s her designation?
Me – Soln. Spec.

VO – Do you have a Kid who is US citizen?
Me – No. My Son is a Indian citizen who currently resides in US with his Mom.

VO – I see that you recently travelled to India. Did you travel alone?
Me – Yes. I had to travel bcoz of a family emergency.

VO – I see that your previous Visa Category was H1B. So are you aware that you can’t work on H4 visa?
Me – Yes Sir! I plan to work only after my H4 to H1B COS is applied and approved by USCIS. Until then I won’t work.

VO – Since your Wife is in US. Your Visa is approved. I see that you need a NIE. I will request the same.

VO – Your NIE is approved for multiple entry to US for 1 year from Sep 27th.

Me – Thank you so much sir!!

In the excitement, I left my old passport at the counter and started heading swiftly towards the exit 😁

VO – Excuse me sir. Excuse me!!
Please ensure you don’t leave any documents at the counter.
Me – Very sorry about that. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

VO – Np. Have a good day!
Me – You too!!

I was not asked to provide any NIE request letter whatsoever. All that the VO asked was my passport and my wife’s I797 copy. That’s it.


Experience 24: H1B at New Delhi

Booked a slot a week back, telegram groups really helped.

I am from Mumbai but booked for delhi since I heard approval rate is high there. As far as I could hear, they approved all H1s in front of me and in the next window two – about 6/7 applicants

Sector – IT and finance, 3 years of experience. Highest degree – BE in CS from India

Interview –
Officer – pass passport and i797

Whats your role – software engineer
What does the employer do?
Do u have a client – yes and named the client
What does the client do?
Client letter? – I did not have a letter fom them, told her I have SoW instead and she asked for that.
She confirmed with me that the client and employer both fall under NIE ( IT and Financial services)
Salary?
Highest degree?
How many years have I been working with employer?

She was typing something, so meanwhile I mentioned if she wants to see my NIE. She said she understands I fall under NIE so doesnt need the letter bur appreciated that I came prepared with it.

Approved with NIE.


Experience 25: H1B at New Delhi

Had a visa F1 to H1B first time interview at Delhi in Dec 2019 but got issued a 221 asking for employers past 3 years federal taxes and all employees list and details.

My employer wasn’t comfortable sharing these confidential details.

Then COVID hit and consulates shut down and my application got expired since I didn’t submit these documents. Trump’s proclamation banned entry of first time H1B. Tried my luck by interviewing again in February 2021 at Mumbai consulate but got rejected again since I didn’t qualify for the Trump’s proclamation ban exception.

Booked a May 5 2021 visa slot again but it got cancelled due to the COVID wave. And then President Biden’s ban started from May 2021.

Again booked a October 13 start date, but thankfully could prepone it to September 10 at Delhi consulate. Thanks to the Telegram group for the dates.

Interview at Delhi was super smooth. My company falls under the critical sector : Food and Agriculture
Questions:

  1. Have you studied in the US?
  2. Where have you studied?
  3. What does your employer do?
  4. What do you do for the company?

Then said “You clearly work for the Food industry so I’m approving your visa with NIE.”

Got my passport at home in 5 days and booked a flight back to US 2 days later.

Immigration at Chicago was a breeze. He just asked me 2 questions:

  1. What company do you work for?
  2. What do you work as?

And FINALLY CAME BACK IN THE US yesterday after 22 months!!


   

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