I would like to thank Administrator of Immihelp and Peace999 for all their guidance.
My parents and I applied for a B2 visa to the US which got approved. The tricky part from what I understood was that I am single, my father has retired, my mother is a housewife and my elder brother is in the US since the past 10 years. From what I read on this and other forums it made us a potential immigrant in eyes of the Visa Officer (VO)
Quick pointers which should help everyone:
1. When you fill your personal details in the login page for scheduling your appointment, the details should match with your DS 160 form. Name is where I believe most people would end up making a mistake:
a. Let’s say your Given name on passport is XXX YYYYY and your surname is ZZZZZ
b. While filling name in the registration page there are 2 fields viz First name and Last name
c. Most of us will fill XXX in first name and ZZZZZ in last name which is WRONG
d. You must fill XXX YYYYY in first name and ZZZZZ in last name. This is true for your dependents as well travelling with you
e. I realized this only after I called their Call center for some other purpose and they highlighted this mistake to me
2. If you are applying for a Visa with your family, at the OFC you can hold documents for everyone while your family members after their security check can sit inside waiting for you. In my case I was holding my parents documents while they were seated inside and I stood in the queue to take our token
3. If you are applying for a Visa with your family and most of you can speak good English while there is only one person who needs a Hindi interpreter then go ahead with English as the language of interview. At the consulate request for Hindi interpreter to the person allotting tokens and he will tell you that you can request the same to VO. In most cases VO will tell you to interpret
4. If you are paying your Visa fees via NEFT then you need to first add Bank of America to your account. While adding, select “Current” as the type of account. After making your online transfer, within 2 days you will receive a mail with Receipt no. In fact the Receipt no will automatically appear in your account
5. When you check wait time on www.ustraveldocs.com
it may show 3 days but in reality the actual wait time could be higher. In my case it showed 4 days but once I paid my fees and decided to book my appointment, the next interview date was after 12 days
6. Many applying this time of the year would want to know if you can carry your umbrella inside the Consulate? Yes, you can. Standard umbrellas which are upto 1.5ft in length can be carried but those long stick like umbrellas are not allowed
My experience – OFC
1. Carry your latest passport, appointment letter and DS 160 confirmation page
2. In 30 mins our work was done. This includes waiting in queue to fingerprint and photograph
3. Don’t go too early as you will have to wait till your appointment time. We reached 15 mins before our time
My experience – Consulate
1. Officer will check your latest passport, appointment letter and DS 160 confirmation page
2. Once inside after security check, there is a waiting lounge where another officer will check your passport
3. You will then enter a huge hall where you will be directed to a counter where a Token number will be pasted on your passport. After this you will be directed to other part of the hall where you can see multiple counters where interviews are happening and lots of people waiting for their turn
4. Your fingerprint will be taken again to verify your identity and you will be told to be seated
5. Above each counter there is a screen where current token number and next in queue token numbers will be displayed. In between few counters there is a large screen where new token numbers with respective counter number would be displayed so keep an eye on this
My parents are dependents on me so I decided to take the lead and answer. This may not be a bad idea as this could be a bit of a stressful experience for old people. Nevertheless VO are always smiling and comforting.
Gave my passport to VO
Me: Good morning Sir!
VO: Good morning, how you doing?
Me: Doing well sir, thank you. How about you?
VO: Doing good
VO: Why you want to go to the US?
VO: What does your brother do?
VO: Is he married?
VO: Which visa is he on?
VO: What is the duration of your trip?
VO: What do you do?
VO to my dad: Sir, what do you do? Have you retired?
VO to my dad: Where did you work last?
VO to my dad: What were the products?
VO: How many siblings do you have?
VO: Who will fund this trip?
VO: What’s your income?
Golden words: Your visa is approved!
No question was asked to my mother. We paid 300 per person at the courier counter and received our passport with 10 years visa.
Last few tips:
1. Plan early and don’t rush into booking your appointment
2. Keep at least 2 days gap between OFC and Visa appointment and don’t book last slot of the day. At OFC if you are told to make some corrections in your form and get a new print out then you will have loads of time otherwise it will be extremely stressful
3. If you are going for genuine reasons apply for your visa without any fear and be confident that your visa will get approved
4. Of 100% chance, there is a 50% chance of success, 25% chance of rejection (221g) due to lack of documents and balance 25% chance of rejection (214b) if you are seen as a potential immigrant
5. If you manage to ensure you have all the documents, suddenly your chance of success becomes 75%. Potential immigrant depends on your answers. So practice hard, read experiences of other people and prepare your answers
Be honest and be confident!