First of all, a big thank you to all the members for sharing their experiences. Your posts really helped us prepare for the visa interview.
-- OFC Appointment: May 14, 2013 at 4:30 pm [Done is 20-30 minutes. There were some problem related to missing Surname in my passport, but I was prepared. Read more details below].
-- Consular Appointment: May 15, 2013 at 10:00 am [visa approved after a short interview]
-- Wife received her passport with H4 visa stamped on May 17, 2013 in Pune.
-- I received my passport with H1B visa stamped on May 23, 2013. My passport was with US consulate for almost a week while my wife received her passport in just 3 days. During this week, passport tracker used to show the status as – “Your passport is still with post.” While visa tracker used to show that my passport is undergoing "administrative processing".
OFC Appointment: May 14, 2013 at 4:30 pm:
We reached OFC around 4 PM. They do not allow you to take any electronic device (like mobile) inside. All you need here is your passport (both husband and wife) and DS-160 form barcode. They will scan the DS160 barcode and put a sticker behind your passport. Then they issue you a token and ask you to remain seated. You’ll be then called for a photograph and finger print. That’s it. We were done in 20-30 minutes.
Consular Appointment: May 15, 2013 at 10:00 am:
We reached there at around 9:00 am and had to wait outside. They let us in at 9:45am. Again you can’t carry electronic devices/mobile etc. with you. After security check, they make you sit outside under the shade. We went inside after about an hour. There they verify your finger print and give you a token number. Our turn for interview came after 30 minutes. About the interview, it was a short one. The only documents VO asked for were passports and original I-797. She asked me the name of the client, my current Indian salary and salary being offered in US, my designation and my education qualification. She asked general questions to my wife - how many people attended the marriage, when did you get married, whether marriage was arranged or love, how did you guys met. She then congratulated us for our marriage(as we were recently married) and asked me one last question - what's her favorite dish, which I answered. She then told us that our visa is approved.
Existing B1 Visa and multiple US visits:
I have 10 year multiple entry B1 visa. I was afraid that they might cancel my B1 Visa (as mentioned in few posts by other members) but they didn’t. I think they didn’t cancel my visa because the date of expiry of my B1 visa is well beyond the date of expiry of my H-1B (my H1B expires in Feb 2016 while my B1 expires in April 2016). I was also concerned that they may raise issue about my multiple B1 visits in 2012 and 2013 (almost 5 months in total) but they didn’t. I have read about few cases where they have canceled B1 visa citing the long duration of stay in US. Nevertheless, I was not too much worried about this because all my B1 visits were purely based on business reasons and I had proof for the same.
Filling up DS-160:
I don’t have any surname printed on my passport. My full name – XXXX YYYY is printed under “given names” on my passport. On top of this, my existing B1 visa and H-1B petition has YYYY as my surname and XXXX as my given name. So I filled up two DS-160 forms with following details:
DS160-1: Given name : XXXX, Surname: YYYY.
DS160-2: Given name: FNU, Surname: XXXX YYYY [FNU stands for First name un-available].
I first gave them the first DS-160 form (as described in DS160-1 above) which they didn’t accept as asked me to “go to a cyber café” and fix the error. Then I gave them the second DS-160 (as described in DS160-2 above) which they accepted. This saved me the hassle of going to the cyber café and getting my DS160 fixed. In case of any confusion – don’t take any changes, fill up as many DS160 as you want and take the bar code printout of all the forms with you. You can give them whichever you like based on the situation. This saved me lot of time and money.
Trackers [In-case your visa is approved, please use following trackers to track your passport and visa. Note that there are two different trackers, one for the passport and one for the visa !]:
-- Passport tracker : Please use following link to track your passport - http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-passporttrack.asp
-OR- send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
with your passport number is subject.
-- Visa tracker: https://ceac.state.gov/CEACStatTracker/Status.aspx
- You will need your DS-160 application number.