07/12/2014 08:52 AM
I applied for fresh H1B petition under regular cap through a reputed product company in USA.
I attended the H1B visa interview in the month of June. This is my experience at Chennai Consulate:-
16th June: OFC appointment at 8:30 am. Reached OFC around 8:10 am and joined the queue that was for 8:30 am. As others have mentioned on the forum, nothing complicated here, just carry DS-160, Appointment Confirmation and Passport. Biometric scan and photo gets over in 5 min once you enter the building. Thought of checking out Consulate area so hired an auto and went. Consulate is around 3 Km from OFC. Saw a huge line of people standing outside and another short line on the other side. Confirmed with security guards about when to come and where to join the queue for Visa interview etc and went back to hotel.
17th June: Visa appointment at 10 am. Reached at 9:30 am and joined the queue. By 10 am still people with 9:30 am appointment were in the queue outside which meant it is going to be long wait outside in Chennai hot weather. It was 10:45 am by the time I was let inside the Consulate. First there is a security check and once that is over I was let inside the Consulate building. Once inside first they stick the token to the passport. After this headed to the waiting area where a person directed to a window for the bio-metric verification immediately. Once that is done waited for my token number to be displayed on the screen. After 10 minutes my token number appeared and joined the queue at the designated window. There were three people in-front of me. Had to wait for another 15 min for my turn. People before me were for student and business visa and all were getting approved.
VO: Good morning, Can I have your approved petition and passport please.
Me: Good morning officer and handed over the petition and passport.
VO: I see you are going to join ABC company, and right now you are working in XYZ company. How long have you been working with XYZ?
Me: Answered appropriately.
VO: What will be you work at ABC company.
Me: Answered appropriately in one sentence.
VO: Please wait for a moment. (And he went inside and came back). Do you have your old petition?
Me: This is the first time I have applied for H1B Petition.
VO: (Went inside again) When are you planning to enter United States?
Me: Coming October.
VO: (Went inside again) Yours is a unique case, generally we don't get fresh H1B applicant this early but you have done good by coming early. We will take your passport and return to you in two to three weeks time because we don't issue H1B before 90 days from Oct 1st , i.e July 1st. VO handed back the approved H1B petition and kept the passport.
Me: Visa is approved right?
I left the window rejoiced :-). Sat down at a nearby bench, placed the documents back in folder and started walking back to the exit. While crossing the window I looked back to see who is next, and saw no one at the window but VO discussing with two Indian officers and then he called my name to come over again.
I went to the window.
VO: Sorry sir, we can't hold your passport for so long. I am going to give you this document and you need to return the passport along with this document after July 1st at our OFC center. You don't need to come to consulate again.
Me: I am from Bangalore, can I submit the passport in Bangalore VFS?
VO: Yes, you can do that.
Then I saw him taking a blue slip and writing down something. I was worried what it will be about. I had seen many people telling about dreaded blue slip and I was in shock. I was thinking my case was going to 221g additional admin processing. But all my documents were clean, and could not understand why a blue slip. He wrote down case number and something else and handed blue slip and passport back.
Without looking at the documents I asked:-
Me: My visa is approved right?
VO: Yes, everything in the system is OK, you just need to return the passport along with the passport after July 1st.
I walked out of the consulate and hired an auto back to hotel. While on auto I checked the blue slip and saw case number is mentioned and a check box is ticked which is for other category and he had written " return along with passport after July 1st 2014". Very worried for next 2 weeks about the next course of things. Checked my status everyday on the CEAC website and it showed admin processing :-(. During this two weeks started reading more about 221G cases and checking how much time it takes to return the passport after submission.
July 2, 2014: Went to Chennai and submitted the documents at OFC, thought of not taking any risk by submitting at the Bangalore VFS. For submitting documents at OFC there is no need to appointment, and can just walk-in. Took token for document submission inside OFC and waited. Officer called and submitted 221g submission form, passport, original DS-160 and Blue slip. He asked VO said only to submit the passport (he looked confused)? I told him the visa interview story. He took some time and asked me when I filed DS-160. I told him a month back. He told it should be a week old one, you need to get a new DS-160. I told him there is no change in any of the info on DS-160 do I still need a new DS-160. He went and talked to another officer and came back and told it is OK if nothing is new. Confirmed with me that nothing is changed and verified my phone number, email-id and place for document pick up(Bangalore VFS). He gave me an acknowledgement and told it will take 3 working days to get back my passport.
I knew it is going to be a long 3 working days for me as I submitted in Wednesday July 2nd and July 3rd was working, July 4th and 5th Consulate will be closed for US Independence day and july 6th will be Sunday. So max I can know my status only by next Wednesday July 9th.
Checked the status on CEAC website July 3rd morning 9 am and it showed case updated on 3rd July which means documents were received by Consulate, but state was still admin processing.
Got a mail on July 8th around 12 noon that my passport was collected from consulate and ready for pickup. I was worried about the status and quickly checked CEAC website and it showed ISSUED on 7th July. Felt a huge relief that finally Visa has been issued.
Collected passport from Bangalore VFS on 10th July . Took the acknowledgement given by OFC, and government issued ID card xerox.
If the documents are correct and sponsor is genuine then there is no need to worry. Be confident.
All the best to everyone !!!