I had my L1B Blanket Visa approved at the Chennai Consulate on 11 Jan 2016 and would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone on this forum who have helped me in the process by sharing their visa experiences.Keep up the good job guys.
I want to share my experience for future applicants.Here goes -
1. Biometrics at the Chennai VAC - 11 Jan 2016(9.00 am)
The Biometrics center(82, Kodambakkam High Road, Numgambakkam,Chennai,600034) is located in a same building as a Samsung service center and entry is on backside(on Subbarayan Street).If one enters the Kodambakkam High Road from Nungambakkam high road, in about 600 meters, the VAC is located on the right side of the street. If one enters Kodambakkam High Road from Valluvar Kottam junction, then this building will be to the left.
The queue is formed on the Subbarayan street, in front of their main gate and they put up a notice( just beside where the security guard stands) to indicate for what time slot, that queue is. Generally, they will allow the queue formation half hour before the time slot. I had mine scheduled at 9.00 and directly joined the queue at about 8.30 am. Soon we were let in. Please keep one copy of your PAI letter, DS 160 confirmation page printout and your latest passport ready, for the biometrics.
In the first floor, after standing in a couple of short and swift queues( where the PAI & DS 160 details were checked with the information in passport) I was directed to a counter where my photo and fingerprints were taken. They will attach a sticker to the backside of your passport(please ensure that your DS 160
confirmation number matches with that number in the sticker) and you are done for the day or you can proceed for your PAI at the consulate(if it's in the same day). My PAI was scheduled at 11 am , so I left for the consulate immediately. The entire proceedings at the VAC will take around 20-25 minutes once you are allowed inside their premises.
2. PAI at the US Consulate - 11 Jan 2016 (11.00 am)
As pointed out by someone in the forum earlier, there are quite a few queues which are formed outside the Consulate,and it can be confusing as to where we should stand first. You need to join the queue formed near the Oxford University Press first, where your PAI details will again be checked and then move on and join the queue formed on the other side of the Consulate main gate for a security check.
You can refer to this link for the list of objects which are allowed/not allowed inside the Consulate - http://chennai.usconsulate.gov/security-restrictions.html
It's better to keep your mobile and even wallet at your home/guest house, just carry some cash with you for your convenyance . I saw some people were even asked to hand over their wallet to any known person outside.
Once inside, I was asked to hand over my documents file for a security check. They dont allow any closed envelopes , and for open ones, they will stamp it as "Checked" after scrutinizing the contents of the same. Next, I was helped out by the visa support team to arrange the documents in the required order. For the L blanket applicants, you are required to make 3 sets of 4 pages of I-129s along with the first page of I-797. I was asked to mention my name and Passport number on the backside of both the Demand drafts in pencil.Keep your passport and DS 160 confirmation page(which was stamped and checked at the VAC earlier) ready too.
Once the documents are set in the order, I moved on to join the queue outside the main consulate building where we were soon led in to join another queue for DD collection. They will provide a receipt for the same and ask you to move on the next counter for verfication of your details and fingerprints.
Finally, you are ready to face the Visa Officer, for your moment of truth.There will be a queue for that as well, and depending on the volume of applicants on the day, it can take upto 45mins - 1 hour of wait before you can actually face the officer. This will be a single common queue where people of all visa types are waiting for their turn and often can overhear what questions are being asked to other applicants. There were 12 interview counters and I had to wait for close to an hour before I met the officer at counter 25. He seemed to be a relaxed and friendly person.
1. VO: Good Morning, How are you ?
Me: I am doing good, How are you?
2. VO: I'm fine...Please give me your documents
Me: Handed over the 3 sets of I129s + I797 , DS 160 confirmation page and my passport
3. VO :(Taking a cursory glance at my I129s)So you work at XXXXX ?
Me : Yes
4. VO: How many years with XXXXX ?
Me: XXX years with my current company, out of a total of XXX years.
5. VO: Where are you going to?
Me:(Failed to hear it correctly) Pardon me, can you please repeat?
6. VO: Where are you going ?
Me: XXX city, XXX state. I am going on a project of XXXX client.
7. VO: How Long will you be staying there?
Me: XXX months
8. VO: Did you say XXX months i.e. XX years?
9. VO: What is your specialization ?
Me: XXX proprietary solutions of my organization, which I myself have designed and developed. (Started
explaining it pretty well, but he was busy typing something in his computer, so he missed out some part)
10. VO: (Looking at me) I'm sorry, can you please repeat.
Me: Explained the business problem context of the tools in 2 lines. (Was about to continue with the
business benefits of the same, when he interrupted)
11. VO: So did you develop this tool ?
Me: Yes , I have designed and developed this tool. I was the principal architect who designed the solution
12. VO:(Noting down the points in his PC and cross checking with my form) Is this soluiton built specifically
for this client ?
Me: This solution is proprietary to my organization .However, it can be customized and enhanced for any
client, as per the requirements. A customized version has already been deployed for one client in India.
13. VO: So you have already implemented it for one client here in India?
14.VO: So what will you be doing on this tool in US ?
Me: (Spoke about further enhancement, customization and deployment across different lines of business
over a span of XXX months in XX phases.)
15. VO : What will be your US salary ?
Me : XXX k USD per annum (in my opinion, a salary greater than 100k definitely helps)
16. VO: What is your Indian salary ?
Me : INR XXX lakhs per annum
17. VO: (Typed vigorously for about 30 secs as I waited with bated breath) YOUR VISA IS APPROVED !
Please take these 2 sets along with you. One copy, you need to hand over to your company HR and
the second copy at the port of entry.
18. Me: Thanks officer. Have a great day ahead !
Confidence, Eye contact, preparation for all sorts of questions related to your Visa type are the cornerstones to crack this process. Write down all the possible questions and answers in a notepad/word doc and start rehearsing it whenever you can at least a week prior to your PAI. This will help you immensely. And finally have faith in GOD !
All the best everyone !