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L1A Blanket Approved
Hello all today we would like to share our experience regarding our L1A Blanket visa interview that was scheduled on 4th March 2024 at Chennai US consulate. Well our biometrics was scheduled on the 21st of February and there was a gap of almost 12 days for our Visa interview. We are from Hyderabad and we reached Chennai a day before for both our OFC and VAC interviews. We stayed at The Belstead hotel and it was around a kilometre for both the OFC appointment centre as well as the VAC. Would like to share our experiences on this forum since these experiences really helped as a lot in our visa journey as well.

Our biometrics was on the 21st of February at 1:00 p.m. Indian standard time and we reach there around 12:30 p.m. as soon as we reached, there was a huge line ahead of US and security was sending people based on the time slots. Biometric appointment is really hassle free and would just take around 10 to 15 minutes overall, provided you carry the below relevant documents on that day.

1. DS 160 confirmation page of primary as well as any dependents. People get confused weather to carry the entire ds160 or just the confirmation page, you just need to carry the confirmation page.
2. One Appointment confirmation page would be required for all the primary and dependent applicants. You don't need to carry 3 sets of documents just one copy of appointment confirmation page for all the applicants (3 people in our case) would suffice.
3. Original passport of primary and dependent applicants. The name mentioned in your DS 160 and other details would be cross check with your passport details and only then would be allowed further. So make sure there are no mistakes in your Ds 160 and those match with your passport.
4. You do not need to carry any photographs as the biometrics officer would take one at the time of the OFC appointment. If your kid is also accompanying his picture would also be taken and no need to bring any copies of his photos. My kid was 10 years old and 4 and half feet in height so even though we carried his photographs the biometrics officer took his photo as they'd take for any adults.

Note: If you are kid is not accompanying you then you should bring his photographs. No fingerprint will be taken for kids below 16 years of age. Even if the accompany you for the OFC interview their fingerprints would not be taken and would be waived off.

You may want to wear a professional attire as this photo would be printed on your visa application, if your visa is approved. This entire process took around 15 minutes.

Please note that you would be requested to turn off any electronic devices including your mobile phones and smart watches.

The entire biometric team is not from the US government but is outsourced to a third party company in India, so don't expect any Americans at the OFC appointment.

So we took our return flight to Hyderabad on the same day and reached Chennai back on the 03 March for our Visa interview.

4th march was the D-day and we could not sleep the prior night, no matter how much ever tired I was travelling all the way from Hyderabad to Chennai. We straight at the same hotel and our visa appointment was scheduled at 10:00 a.m. we reached the consulate by 9:45 a.m. and there was a huge line in front of us. People who are scheduled at 11:00 a.m. slot were also being sent inside. I was expecting the security to only allow people based on there slots but to my surprise they were allowing 11:00 am slot candidates as well.

There is a person outside the consulate who would check your appointment date and time and allow you inside. Once we are in front of the gate, we will be allowed to go inside in batches and there would be a security where you will be checked thoroughly. This would be similar to an airport security where you will have to put all your belongings in a tray, including the blazer that you are wearing. Once your through the security, you will be allowed to go inside where there is person who who will check documents specially for L1 Visa types. The person will help you put the require documents in order and put a rubber band around it. The required forms would be two copies of I 129 s, two copies of i797 first page, DD for the anti fraud fee, and passports of all primary and dependents. Then you are allowed to join the q and enter into a separate building where the actual visa interviews would happen. All other visa types wood join the q but L1 applicants need to go to a counter where your DD would be collected and give us a receipt in lieu of the same. The anti fraud fee would be around 500 USD and an additional 4500 USD if your company falls under public law 113 and 114 (this is needed if your US employer employs more than 50 people in the United States and if 50% of them are in non-immigrant category).

He would then ask me to join another counter where another person would collect the documents, check some details in his computer and give us back those documents and then would ask us to join in the interview queue.

The line was very huge and be ended up waiting for almost 30 minutes before hour turn came in front of the visa officer. Since many people were there the air conditioning was not sufficient enough and everyone started sweating. I was in my blazers and it was more suffocating for me. Nevertheless I was more concentrated on my interview that was yet to take place. There were two people standing in front of me one was applying for a H1 and another was a l1b applicant. The visa officer asked questions to the H1 holder and he answered them swiftly and in about 3 minutes he was as to give us fingerprints and then a visa was approved. The person in front of me who was l1b applicant was also asked few questions on where he was working how long he was working what is his technical specialisation etc and he was also approved a visa in about 3 minutes. Finally came our turn where I was as the below questions:

As soon as we reach the counter :

We: good morning officer
VO: morning
We handed over the documents and passports to the visa officer. Remember these were put in this rubber band and we handed over as is.

VO: how long have you been working for your company?
Me: I am working for xxxxx company for 5 years and 3 months now.

VO: what would be your designation in the US?
Me: my designation would be manager.

VO: how many direct and indirect reports do you have?
Me: officer I have 5 direct reports, 2 of them are already in the US, 2 in Mexico and 1 in India. I have 25 indirect reports.

VO: out of these direct reports do you have any managers who report you?
Me: yes officer, out of these 5 people, I have 2 people who are managers and another 2 who are deputy managers.

VO: what is the designation of the person home you report into in the US?
Me: I report in to an AVP ( Associate Vice President).

VO : Is this your wife and child? (Looking at them)
Me: Yes, Ma'am.

VO: please put your left hand four fingers on the scanner. (This is when you know that your visa is approved :) )
Me: I placed them

VO: (to my wife): please put your right hand four fingers for me please.
My wife : She placed and had to retry the second time for a successful recognition.

VO: (The Golden Words) Your visa is approved.

She then stamped the I129S forms(one will be retained and the other stamped one will be given to you).

She also keep the stamped I129Ssafe as this would be required at the time of port of entry in the US.

Me, my wife and kid : Thank you Ma'am. You have a great day ahead. Returned her a smile and came outside.

Note: I have observed many applicants asking the VO for the passport pick up time frame and place of pick up etc as soon as they are approved. Remember guys it is you who are filling the DS 160 or if you are taking anyone's help to fill the DS 160 make sure you understand that it is clearly mentioned at The end of the DS 160 application, at the time of payment page, you will explicitly mention your passport pick up address or courier. It would be dump on yourself to ask the visa officer this question about your passport pick up and the timeline.

I also understand many would comment to not call the visa officer sir/ma'am. That is okay has long as you give respect they don't mind. Have seen visa officers calling the applicants respectfully "Sir" at the end of the questions. As long as there is mutual respect given and taken the student be a problem.

If you are going to any Visa interview especially for managerial visa like L1A, remember to maintain a proper attire. It is advisable to wear a blazer for your interview. H1b and L1B applicants are not required to wear a blazer but it would always look professional, if worn. First impression is the best impression guys. We saw a person wearing a hoodie and coming for a interview, he still got approved though. Point here is that he may have multiple other supporting factors which override his attire. So if you are applying for the first time, dress professionally.

No electronic device would be allowed inside so book your cabs/autos whatever from your hotel room and note down the OTP etc and put your phones inside your hotel room. You can carry your wallet and water bottle. The security would also ask you to put your what about your outside but if you have a kid a accompanying, they would allow it. There is water facility available inside the visa application centre if you are thirsty, you can go have some water there.

One major tip would be to maintain your calm and listen to the questions properly and respond. Do not panic, give answers fully and not in one word answers wherever possible. Be truthful. Read these forums, experiences, learn from these and you only have ONE SHOT at this, so give your 100%. I understand you can always reapply but that will raise a concern in VO's mind as to why you were rejected earlier.

No supporting documents will be checked guys. Always better to carry, but 99% of the time, those will never be checked. Hope this interview experience helps someone somewhere in someway ;)

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