The experience shared on the Immihelp forum helped me with my preparation, so I am sharing my experience in the hope that someone else might benefit from it.
I don't hold any other US visa, and this was my first time applying for an L1B Blanket visa. On XX March 2023, I had my biometric appointment at 8:30 am at the Chennai VAC. My wife and I were dressed casually since it was just for biometrics. We arrived at 8 am, and the security guard at the entrance allowed us inside the premise after verifying our appointment time.
Once inside the building, the staff asked us to go to the first floor and keep the following documents:
The queue on the first floor moved very quickly, and we moved to the second floor, where they did a security check and allowed us inside. At the counter, the staff verified the details entered on DS 160 to our passport. After this, we moved into another queue and then directly to the biometric queue. Once at the biometric counter, the staff took biometrics and stamped DS160.
We had to carry the stamped DS160 to our next day consular interview.
Here are a few tips based on my experience:
• Do not reach the venue early as they won't allow you inside the premise earlier than 30 minutes to your appointment time.
• You can carry your mobile phone, but it should be in switched off mode.
• Avoid carrying a large suitcase or bag. However, I did see others carrying small handbags, etc.
• It is advisable to carry all the documents etc. in a transparent folder
The whole process was very quick, and we were out in 20 minutes.
On next day, I had my interview appointment at 8:30 am at the Chennai Consulate. My wife and I were dressed semi-formally with formal shirts and trousers. We reached the venue at 8 am, and there were already a few people in the queue outside the consulate. However, after showing our appointment, a staff member allowed us to go ahead. There were 2-3 points where they checked our documents and passports, etc. After the security check, we were moved into a hall where the staff was giving instructions on the documents, etc. Based on my L1B Blanket visa type, the following sets of documents were required:
• VAC Stamped DS160 of primary applicant
• 2 sets of all eight pages of I-129S
• 2 sets of the first page of I-797
• Original Passport of primary applicant and dependent
Once the documents were sorted, the staff bundled the papers with the passport and asked us to go ahead. We moved into another building where the staff asked my wife to wait in the seating area as I went ahead and made the anti-fraud fee payment. I used a credit card, and it worked without any issues.
Once the payment was done, I joined my wife back in the seating area, and the staff asked us to stand in a queue. After 20 minutes, we were asked to move into another area where the interviews were happening.
As we stood in line, we could clearly hear the ongoing interview conversations. At the first counter, they verified our documents and passports and asked us to go back into the interview queue.
As we stood in queue, we could see VO interviewing the person ahead of us with a smiling face. It made us feel calm and comfortable that VO seems to be in good mood. :)
Within 5 minutes, it was our turn.
The visa officer requested our documents and passports and greeted us. Here is a summary of the interview:
VO: Are you applying for L1 A or L1 B?
Ans: L1 B
VO : Let me interview your wife first. ( This shocked me a bit as I was not expecting this!! )
VO to my wife : What is your highest qualification Ans - XXX
VO : Thanks, you can go back to the seating area or you can stand here. My wife decided to stay back.
VO started interviewing me :
VO : How long has it been with the current employer ? Ans : XXX years
VO : For what client are you going to work ? Ans : No client as it is internal project
VO : What are you going to work in US ? Ans : Explained the project
VO : Why were you the only one selected among your colleague for this project ? Ans : Explained my specialized knowledge and my experience
VO : What would you be your salary in US ? Ans XXX
VO : thank you, Both your visa are approved. You should receive passport in one week. Please carry stamped I-I129s at the port of entry.
Overall, the interview lasted only 5 minute.
We were out of consulate by 9.10 am.
Few Tips :
1. Do not reach early to the venue as they won't allow you inside the premise earlier than 30 minutes to your appointment time
2. Do not carry phone, electronics, car key ( remote ) , smart watch etc. We just carried cash, cards, documents along with us.
3. Prepare your answers for specialized knowledge in crisp 3-4 sentences
4. Be calm and avoid listening to others interview
5. It would be advisable to practice the sample questions as it will give you enough confidence to answer them in front of VO
6. Book your stay near consulate as you can walk and reach consulate and will not have hassle of carrying phone along with you for booking cabs etc.
7. Book early slots as there won't be any backlog from the earlier slots. As I could see that after us, queue was becoming long.
I checked my visa status on the evening of the interview day and it was Approved. After 2 days, it turned to Issued and on the same day evening, CGI portal showed that passport is with delivery team. I received passport 3 days after the interview.
Overall, I would say it went smooth however, I prepared well anticipating tougher Interview questions.
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