This forum has helped me a lot to prepare myself for questions and possible answers in my case. I also got some tips which I'll share at the end of my post.
My Biometrics was scheduled for 1st Dec 9AM and my visa interview was scheduled for 3rd Dec at 11.30AM.
Biometrics was pretty straight forward. We were in and out in less than 15 mins. (Phones are allowed here but have to be switched off)
Documents: Passports, appointment confirmation, DS160 confirmation, photos for kids
Visa appointment: We reached the Consulate around 11.10 and were let right in after looking at the appointment confirmation page.
Routine security check once we were in (Phones are not allowed here, not even smart watches)
Then the lady asked us to arrange our documents in 3 sets for I129S and I797 and keep the passport, DS160 (primary applicant only) and fraud fee of $500 at the top of the stack.
My wife and I sat down on a chair and arranged that neatly in less than 5 mins after which she checked and asked us to move on to the next building where the actual interviews were going on.
Please note: There are washrooms and drinking water provided here.
My wife was asked to sit, while I was asked to go to another counter to pay the fraud fee and get a receipt. Since I was the only one at the counter, that took less than 5 mins too.
There were only 3 windows open that day, one was focusing on F1 only and others were generic. After paying the fee, I handed over my file to my wife and used the bathroom and had a glass of cold water and came and sat beside her again.
Little did we know, we both were sitting right in front of the VO who was going to interview us, which we realized when the guy mediating pointed us to the counter.
He asked me to wait in a circle for my turn and my wife was asked to sit and join me once my turn comes.
There were 2 young girls at the counter and both their parents were in the US on L1/L2. Not sure which parent was what.
They had come for their L2 stamping. They were being asked questions about the name of the company their parents work and they locations, etc. I wasn't directly looking at them or the VO for obvious reasons and acted like I was checking my file for all the documents in order ;) Their visas are approved and the VO asks me to come up.
I look back at my wife and ask her to join me and we both walk together towards the counter.
Greeted the VO good morning and how are you doing today? (VO sipping water and greets back as she swallows the water/smiles)
Questions asked and my replies:
VO: Future designation in the US
Me: Senior Project Manager
VO: How many direct reportees?
Me: 2 managers and I have budget to hire 2 more managers as the project is ramping up
VO: How many years with your company?
Me: Total 8 yrs
VO: Have you been on a H or L visa before?
Me: Yes, I have been on H1B for 6 years before
Then she made sure I have completed more than 12 months outside the country – I confirmed I’ve been here for the last year and a half
VO: City and state where you’ll be working?
VO to my wife: Are you a homemaker
VO to my wife: How old are your kids?
Wife: They are 10 and 8yrs old
Golden words: Your visas are approved, you should receive your passports in a week. Safe travels!
Me to VO: Thank you and have a nice day officer!
VO: Thanks, you too!
When we stepped out and looked at the time, it was 11.35AM (my appointment was at 11.30AM). My wife and I were obviously overjoyed as we took an auto back to our hotel. I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott by the way which is 10mins away from both the VAC and Consulate.
As far as documentation goes, I had taken support letter from my organization, marriage certificate, 3-4 photos of the wedding, kids birth certificate, last 6 months payslip, India tax returns and Form 16, 1040 for US tax returns for 2020, resume, offer letter, etc; but wasn't asked for anything.
What I read previously on this forum for L1A was to leave your hairs undyed. I have a few graying hairs on the side, which I left as is :)
Also, I borrowed a suit and tie from my friend which also helped me with some brownie points I guess
Since my interview was on Friday, the status for me was showing as Administrative processing all weekend and on Monday (6th Dec) afternoon the status changed to Issued.
I got my passports by Blue Dart at my home in Mumbai Tuesday (7th Dec) afternoon. I paid 650 per passport / 2600 total.
Visas stamped on all 4 of them until Dec '24.
I hope this experience helps.
Be confident in your answers and take a deep breath while walking to the VO and keep eye contact at all times even if the VO is staring at her computer, typing away.
Lastly, I repeat that your attire matters. I saw folks wearing jeans, T shirts, chappals and sandals instead of shoes, etc which does not look professional obviously.
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