L1B Individual Interview experience at Kolkata US Consulate
I have been reading this forum for almost a year now and I believe the diverse contents in this platform can indeed aid an applicant. To cut it short, I am simply going pen down my experience as an L1-B applicant. I filed for L1B Individual petition on September 14th 2019 under Premium Processing Program. The original petition had a highly detailed support letter, stating my fine grained job duties at India and the proposed duties in US, there was too much technical information laced in every paragraph to establish the fact that it requires specialised skill to deliver on the US role, also attached patents, designed docs that I prepared, training presentations, customer interaction emails, product brochures etc.
However, USCIS issued an RFE on September 29th seeking some clarification on some presumed discrepancies and this was the toughest period to see through. For example, the RFE asked for salary information of peers to establish the fact that I am indeed specialised among the lot. I can't divulge much information on the RFE since it demands classified information about the company. In summary, we worked on the RFE with my supervisor, did several passes with my director and the final cut was reviewed by our top management. Took our own sweet time, to prepare all the necessary artefacts and responded to the RFE on December 23rd 2019 and the law firm/attorney did a great job in establishing the case citing the L1B Memorandum issued by USCIS in 2015.
Since it was a week of holidays in the US and most part of the world, the case wasn't moving on the USCIS website for almost a week, but on Jan 6th the petition got approved.
I opted for the Kolkata US Consulate while filling-in the I-129 form, so the I797-B notice of action mentioned the Consulate Notified as Kolkata.
As for the interview, the questions were pretty much common with L1 cases. We arrived at the Consulate well ahead of the appointment time. I wasn’t carrying anything other than the documents and passport, but I was stopped at the gate for carrying my car key which was remote controlled. So I had to get rid of that first. Entered the consulate at around 9:30am, appointment time being 9:45am. The wait was long in a waiting area, close to an hour after which we entered the interview wing. I believe they were understaff early in the morning with only 1 interview counter operating and another counter to scan the passport barcode.
VO: Your passports please
Me: Handed over the passports (mine and my spouse’s) along with the I-797B Notice of Action.
VO: Who is sponsoring this L1?
Me: <My company name>
VO: Why an L1?
Me: Explained that I posses specialised knowledge in the product, gained over last 3 years.
VO: What is specialized about your role?
Me: Told about my skillset in Computer Networking, Virtualisation and Systems Programming. I also made a point about how these skillset available in the industry is applied in a unique way for our product.
VO: How many people worked in this field within your organisation.
Me: 4 people comprises of the core networking team in our company in India.
VO: Only 4 people knows about this technology in the entire company.
Me: Yes, we being a startup only my team knows about the core module.
VO: Is any of the 4 members in US
Me: I said NO, all of them operate as part of R&D India
VO: What is your highest qualification
Me: Post graduate.
VO: What about you madam, what is your highest qualification and which field
Spouse: She told about her post graduation degree in Data Science. (The VO at this point seems to be have recognised this term and didn’t ask her any further questions)
VO: Why did you choose to be here for the interview.
Me: I told him I was visiting my parents in my hometown and I choose this consulate.
VO: That’s sad, you have stay away from your family.
VO: Can you repeat about the specialised knowledge you just mentioned in Computer Networking.
Me: I reiterated the terms, Software Defined Networking and Virtualisation
VO: Typed these terms in his computer.
VO: Which state in US and what’s you salary.
Me: Mentioned the state and my salary per annum.
VO: Did you ever apply for an US VISA erstwhile
Me: I revealed that I applied for B1 VISA at Chennai Consulate in the year 2017
VO: Do you still hold a valid B1 VISA.
Me: No, my VISA was denied then.
VO: Your L1 VISA is approved and it will be ready for your pickup in 5 business days.
After leaving the premises at around 11:30 am, I checked the US Visa application portal, it showed the status as ‘Issued’ immediately. I received a pick up notification the very next day through email.
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