First and foremost, I want to express my gratitude for this fantastic forum and all the individuals who have shared their experiences. This forum stands as the ultimate source of information (across the entire internet) for preparing for your L1 visa.
Important Note: I'm mentioning this as it wasn't easily found on the internet. If you are applying under the L1 A/B blanket petition, the only consulate that processes your Visa application is Chennai. So, when filling out your DS 160, please choose the Chennai consulate.
Now, here's how it went for me and my family (which includes my wife and 12-year-old daughter).
On September 14th, 2023, we had an appointment at the Chennai VAC center for biometric and photos at 10:00 am.
We were staying at Taj Coromandel, and our office had arranged for a cab. We set out at 9:40 am and reached the center at 9:50 am. There was a queue outside the building, and we had to wait for about 5 minutes before the security guard called for applicants with a 10:00 am appointment. (No need to arrive earlier; in fact, it's wise to get as close as possible to the appointment time, as it reduces wait time).
On this day, we needed to carry our DS 160, passports, and appointment confirmation. It's essential not to bring any backpacks; just take your document folder. Backpacks are not allowed inside, and you can bring your mobile phones, but they must be in switched-off mode.
We swiftly entered the building and proceeded to the 1st floor. Our documents were checked at a counter before we were allowed to proceed for biometrics and photos. We waited in line for about 5 minutes and completed the process promptly. I had brought passport photos for my daughter (as I had read on this forum that they ask for them for children below 14), but they weren't needed as my daughter had her photo taken at the VAC center.
We were done by 10:30 am, and the process was very smooth and efficient.
On September 15th, we had our U.S. Consulate visa interview at 11:30 am.
I made sure to follow the same approach of arriving close to the appointment time, so we reached at 11:20 am. To my surprise, there was no queue at all, and we were immediately allowed in.
Upon entering, there was a security check which went quickly because we only had our document file with us. Mobile phones and electronic devices are not allowed, and there are no locker facilities, so it's best to leave them at your hotel.
After the security check, there was a counter where they asked us to arrange our documents in a specific way (thanks to this forum, I had them ready in the required sequence). The required sequence is as follows: Your passports, DS-160, I-129 (8 pages), I-797 (only the 1st page) - 2 sets. Interestingly, all the other documents provided by my organization were not required throughout the process.
We were then directed to another building on the same campus. I expected a large crowd, but to my surprise, it was relatively empty, which was a relief.
I was then asked to pay the Anti-Fraud fee of 500 USD at a counter, and once completed, our documents were checked again at another counter (either counter 8 or 9). All of this took just 10 minutes.
Next, I was directed to proceed to the interview. There was no queue, and I simply informed them that I was there for the L1A blanket visa. A staff member escorted us to an interview counter, which I believe was counter 18.
There was a family in front of us who had just received their approval, and the officer at the counter seemed to be in good spirits. Here's how my interview went:
Me: "Good morning, how are you?"
Visa Officer: With a big smile, "I'm good, how are all of you doing? Is this your family?"
Me: "Yes," with a smile, and I passed over our documents.
Visa Officer: "Which visa are you applying for?" (asked before looking at the documents)
Me: "L1A under a Blanket petition and L2 for my Wife and Daughter."
Visa Officer: Started looking at the documents and asked while typing on the screen, "Which company do you work for?"
Me: I answered.
Visa Officer: "What's your designation?"
Me: I answered.
Visa Officer: "How long have you been working with this organization?"
Me: I answered.
Visa Officer: "What will be your salary in the US?"
Me: I answered.
Visa Officer: "How many direct reports will you have?"
Me: I answered.
Visa Officer: "Do you have Hire and Fire responsibility?"
Me: I answered.
Visa Officer: "Do you manage a Budget? How much?"
Me: I answered.
"Now to my daughter, How old are you?"
My daughter answered.
Visa Officer: "To my wife, Do you currently work anywhere?"
My wife answered.
That's it! We were then asked to scan our right-hand four fingers, one by one. The Visa officer mentioned, "Your Visas are approved, and you will receive them in a week's time."
The entire conversation lasted only about 4 to 5 minutes.
We exited the premises at 11:50 am, with content hearts and gratitude. We returned to our hotel, thanking Lord Ganesha.
An important note: There is natural anxiety surrounding the Visa interview process. However, it's just like any other conversation. Please feel comfortable, and going through this forum will help you anticipate the questions. There's no need to spend hours and hours on the internet.
Our Visa status on the portal shows approved, and it later turned to issued. We are yet to receive the physical visas.
I wish you all the very best, brothers and sisters.
Today there was starus change in my I 129 application mentioning 'Notice Explaining USCIS Actions Was Mailed'. What does this status mean? Does anyone have any idea?
Below is the status for my case reflecting in USCIS website -
On September 11, 2023, we began reviewing your Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Receipt Number SRC2322650014. We mailed you a notice informing you of the action we intend to take on your case. Please follow the instructions in the notice and submit any requested materials.
I have a l1A OFC and INterview scheduled on the same day at 830 AM and 11 AM respectively. Some people tell me there should be at least 1 day gap. If anyone has done both on the same day and can share their experience that would be great.
Working in a well know european MNC for last 20+ years,I was not sure if i wanted to move to US at this stage of life but finally deicded to give it a try and taking internal transfer to US. Our company law firm prepared documentation and made it available with me 3 days prior to visa interview. I was bit nervous before the interview.
Got biometrics and visa interview slot in chennai, went with my spouse as our son is below 14 and didn't need to be in person. Stayed at the Park hotel. Not a great a hotel to stay but it was close to US embassy in Chennai and food was good.
30th AUG: Went to Biomtrics center 1-2 km away from Hotel. Walkable but, took an auto, paid 100Rs. There was along que. Finished the work in two hours and returned to hotel
1st Sept: prepared 2-3 hours goin through documentation and immihelp forum. Walked to embassy, reach right on appointed time. Was let in quickly.
As soon as we entered,there is a security check, after securoty chck tehre was a hall, where a lady asked visa type. Upon mentioning L1, she gave an instruction sheet and asked us top arrange our document. We need to arrange two sets of I-129(8 pages),I-197 first page,passports and DS-160 of applicant. It was checked by her and a rubber band was put in this set of documents by this lady and then we were asked to go to main building to pay fees.
There was a long que infront of main building, up on seeing the docuemtns with rubber band, folks there asked if we are L1 and let us in immediately. Went inside this main building through doors and we were asked to sit before being asked to go to payment counter to pay $500 fraud detection fees. AFtre paying, we had to go to a counter nex counter to get the documents checked again.
Atfer this, we were asked to join a que and in 10 minutes we were asked to join small line infront of one of the 10 available counters. There was one person before us and he was applying for B1. VO took 5-7 minutes interviewing this guy who is young lab and a journalist. He was granted visa,After him VO waved at us.
ME: Good morning
VO:GM, How are doing? asmed me to hand over the passports/documents
Me:Good, how are doing?
VO:You have only one child( i didn't get this , had to ask him to repeat)
VO:You work for Nokia
VO:How long you have been working for NOkia
VO:(While checking something on computer and arranging documents i handed over)How many people report to you
Me:I am a fucntional manager, I don't have reportees
VO:What is your role
Me:Mentioned my role
VO: Stamped my I129 and handed it back and told your visa is approved and you will get them in few days
ME:Thank you, good day
Whole process was less than 5 min.
I have seen some of L1 people wearing blazers, ties etc,. I got bit nervous with it as I was just went in forma office wear. There was L1B guy infront of me who was young and went in casual wear and didn't carry any documentation than just Passport,I129,I797,DS-160 and appointment confirmation letter. We carried three sets of documents given by our law firsm, which wasn't needed at all.
If you are from a known MNC who do not process L1 routinely, you don't need to worry much. Go with confidence and Visa will be done. Don't need spend much time preparing or visa interview.
L1B - Blanket Approval - Chennai - Approved - 1Sep2023
VAC - Location Chennai
My VAC was scheduled for 30Aug2023 at 8:30am.
In case you reach early do not hesitate to check with Guard and they are very kind people they will let you go if it is not challenging.
Nothing much to be done on this day it took about 10-15 minutes to have the process completed for me. Early morning slots are better since the day only gets hotter and if you have to stand in que outside the center it could be uncomfortable.
Procedures mentioned in other Blogs so will not go in detail.
Visa Interview - 1 Sep 2023 - Appointment 8:30am
All 8 Pages of I129s - 2 Sets
First Page of I797 - Note: In case You have multiple pages, listing all your entities across globe, They asked for only first page so I would suggest along with stappled bundle of I797 keep 2 copies of First page of I797 since initially they would ask only for first page. The reason for keeping 2 copies is, it is difficult rather looks difficult to separate first page from stappled bundle of I797.
Pay your Anti Fraud Fee of 500USD.
Move to another counter to verify docs
Stand in Que for Interview.
> What will you do in USA?
Answer: State your Specialization as opening statement and describe your R&R in 2-3 sentence.
> Overall Industry Experience?
Answer: 15 Years(This is when VO got comfortable about my eligibility, I assume since after that he hardly looked at me and started going through my forms)
> What will be your Salary in USA?( I heard it as my Stay in USA and Started Responding However VO Corrected me about the question)
> What is your Job Title?
Answer: XXX.(My Was Too Long VO was like can we just have 2 words its a very big title) I was smiling at him as he asked me to keep my four fingers of my left hand on the scanner so kinda Happy.
He was saying few things while he picked approved stamp and stamped both my I129s so I was so engulfed in joy that I was just smiling so not sure he said meanwhile. :)
Handed Over signed, stamped 1 copy of I129s to me and I left the window.
> Be confident. We being Modest about our skills and hesitant to praise ourselves as an Expert of our Skills but always remember you are great at something because of which your company is paying lot of money to have your Visa applied and approved so SAY IT.
> Do not Volunteer Information, answer precisely what is being asked.
VO are also very Kind is what I observed at other windows.
9:15 AM Slot, though you are late that's all fine, they will still take you in.
Going directly to questions..as its all the same process.
VO: Is it L1 A blanket or Individual
VO: What do you do?
ME: I manage 4 Devs...it was just 1 line answer
VO: You have rejected visa this year?
VO: I see it right here man
ME: Oh you are talking about the H1B, yeah it was from a different company...by the time I finished, your visa is APPROVED He Said
(Background: I had a H1B filed from a different company in 2020, I've tried to get that visa stamped this year through drop-box but it was rejected, and by the time I thought to book the slot for H1B I had the L1A approved).
I had my L1A individual visa interview on 7th Aug in New Delhi. Morning 9:20am slot - went together with my spouse and 2 kids
1. Visa Officer (VO) - Which company is sponsoring your visa?
Me - Provided the name
2. VO - Why is your company sending you to the US?
Me - Explained him my role and work I do in Supply Chain
3. VO (to my wife) - How long have you guys been married?
Wife - Answered
Smile from the VO.
Long pause of 1-2 mins -- with some strange facial expressions :) Finally handed over a Yellow slip 221g.
VO said - "We are putting your case on admin hold, nothing to worry. You will hear back in couple of days. Safe travels to the United States". This last line gave me some form of assurance but no clarity.
8th Aug - No updates on the visa portal. Status shows "REFUSED"
9th Aug - Got an email from Visa office where they asked for a copy of I-797
10th Aug afternoon - Status changes to "Approved"
11th Aug afternoon - Status changes to "Issued". Got an email that our passports are ready for pickup.
Overall, I can say interview went really well. Very friendly discussion. Not sure what was the Admin hold for. Nevertheless, got my 221G cleared in 4 days after the interview. Let me know if you have any questions.
Successful Visa: L1A (with individual petition) + two dependents L2 at New Delhi
05/27: I accepted a new job in USA with managerial role.
06/26 L1A Individual Petition filed (Premium processing).
06/30 Petition approved
07/10 OFC and Visa interview appointments booked
08/01 OFC appointment at New Delhi
08/08 Visa interview at New Delhi, Visa is approved
08/11 Passport received with Visa stamping
My case is L1A with individual petition. So I797B is must for visa interview. Childbirth certificate and marriage certificate is needed for dependents.
My dependents are spouse (L2) and young son (age 1.5 year, L2). My wife speaks only basic English, so we applied visa simultaneously to make things easier for whole family.
Previously I had B2 visa for 10 years, but it was expired in 2022. I had prior experience attending OFC and visa interview for USA.
OFC appointment (08/01):
Shivaji Stadium is an underground metro station, similar like shopping mall. There are VFS Global for different countries (USA, China, Belgium etc.). Most people at OFC are Indian, and Hindi/English works to communication. They have guided very well. OFC took around 20mins. Our appointment was at 5.45pm, so not so much rush. Mobile phone can be carried but keep it silent. Good to carry needed document only. At OFC only DS160 confirmation, passport and appointment printout is asked. Fingerprints and photos are taken, but for minor fingerprints is not needed. For minor, photographs (51x51 cm as per USA visa requirement) is needed. Photographs will be given back once VFS capture minor’s photo.
For OFC, The Park hotel is booked. From there, Shivaji stadium is around 1km, Auto Rickshaw fare is 50/-. Connaught place is like 1km from OFC (Shivaji Stadium).
Consular Visa interview (08/08):
That is USA embassy in Chanakyapuri area. There is no car parking, you need to have auto/taxies. We have booked Diplomate Hotel which is in same area (distance 1.4km, Auto Rickshaw fare 50/-)
Interview timing 9.50am
We reached to destination around 9.15am. There is huge crowd (most are F1 students in my opinion). Because of child, we carried small water bottle and diaper bag (transparent, and very small zip pocket). Security treats us nicely and they asked us to cut the queue and proceed ahead. Having a young baby, this was an advantage. We attended the interview, and we were out in in 35-40mins. Visa interview took like 5-7 minutes. At the same time, baby was crying, and my wife needs support what question was asked (language issue + baby is crying), so not easy to concentrate. Visa officer was nice and tried to finish the interview as soon as possible.
Questions asked (not in order):
Who has applied what visa? (To understand who is the L1 candidate, and who are dependents).
About the company (answered in one/two lines)
Salary in USA
No. of people reporting in India and USA
Designation in India
To my wife:
How long have you been married?
Do you know each other before the marriage?
(I replied we had arranged marriage, and Visa officer asked more in details about this.) Even last question was asked to my wife, but I tried to answer. My wife needs to understand what is asked. She prepared for few questions to answer in English. But since baby was crying a lot, it was not easy situation to handle. Visa officer asked me if my wife knows her right in USA. I replied, she is learning all these things (USA, life, people, culture etc.).
Before starting the interview, Visa officer asked the passport and later on I797B (because I have L1A individual petition).
Finally, Visa officer mentioned, your visas are approved, and passport will be delivered in five days. We thanked her. Visa officer was female and sensed how difficult it to attend the interview when baby is crying.
My kid keeps crying until we moved out of embassy. And then, he is stopped 😊. The visa officer repeats the question whenever we could not hear her due to child’s crying.
At 10am, we were back in hotel, so this was very quick visa interview process, and the end result is – we were all happy with approved Visa. When we were back to hotel, I took time to understand how everything took place, and asked my wife, did she hear that our visas are approved or not. She replied, she did hear the same.
I chose to write this experience so family with young child get more confidence and they prepared well. Passport with stamped visa were received on third day via Bluedart. INR 850/ was the delivery charges for one passport.
L1B, L2 VISA approved - 3rd Aug in Chennai Consulate
Firstly, I will utilize this platform to express my gratitude for the immense help I received to understand the entire process , different experiences and also the pattern or questions. Now its time to reciprocate.
30th July' 2023- VAC
I, my wife and daughter reached the destination at around 1400 hrs as biometric was scheduled at 1430 hrs. A small queue of 15 -20 mins and you are let in. I will say its a fairly simple process. Just carry your DS 160 form, Passport and confirmation letter. Note that the passport details ( name, DOB, place of birth etc) are verified, hence be extremely cautious. In case of discrepancy, you may go downstairs, where they do the correction. I overheard this when it was told to an elderly couple standing in front. Mobile needs to be switched off. They attach a sticker and you proceed towards biometric. Pictures and biometric of both hands and you are done for good! The complete process from leaving hotel ( Courtyard by Marriott, Anna Salai) and back to hotel was done in around 1 hour 15 mins.
3rd Aug- Consular Interview- 0830 hrs.
The D DAY!
We reached their at around 0800 hrs. The security outside checked the details of DS160, passport and we were asked to be in the queue. Please carry MASKS as it is compulsory and sellers outside will loot you ! We paid INR 60 for 3 disposable masks ! Then as you enter the premises, a security check follows. A security and an attendant sitting just opposite the security inside helps to arrange the documents ( I-126S, I-797, passports) and you proceed towards the main building.
Always ask L1 Visa as there are queue outside the main building but L1, L2, H1B etc have separate entry.
We went inside the main building, paid the Anti Fraud Detection fee of 500 USD. Only International CC or DD are allowed. After that they re-verify your documents and then you stand in the queue. There were around 100-150 persons however it took us not more than 10-15 mins to reach to interview window.
While the interview is going on for another applicant, be focused and calm.
OUR INTERVIEW PROCESS:
Me: Good Morning Officer! How are you doing today?
VO: Good Morning! I'm fine, How are you?
Me: I'm fine officer.
VO: Documents and passports pls.
VO: So you are applying for L1B? And you are working for XXX?
Me: Yes you are right!
Few chit-chats on my organization!
VO: Since when you are working?
Me: 16 years
VO: 16 years! Thats way too long ( I realized my job is half done, since from her expression- I could see an awe struck feeling)
VO: Whats your specialization?
Me: Explained in three- four lines
VO: What will you be doing in US?
Me: Explained again in two-three lines in lay man terms
VO: So its installation and debugging
Me: I explained that its not that
VO: So its installation and debugging, right?
I thought not to persuade further and mentioned- almost like the same
VO: Where will you be going?
Me: Dallas, Texas
VO ( to my wife): Are you working Mam?
VO ( to my daughter): Which grade are you in in?
Daughter : Sorry? Grade?
VO: Very sorry dear! I mean class!
Most of the conversation was while typing but she was a very jovial lady with a smile.
Asked my wife to put her right hand fingers! ( I knew that success is here). Then asked me to do the same.
VO: No biometric for less than 14 years !
She kept the passport aside, stamped the I-129S and told that your VISA is approved and your passport will be delivered in 7 days.
With a content heart, we reached hotel by 0925 hrs!
1. No mobile, smartwatch, keys, or any smart devices allowed.
2. Dress does matter
3. Keep a smile
4. Be confident and optimistic
5. All ears to officer while the discussion. While the voice comes clearly and loudly, dont get distracted by others.
Best of Luck!
I checked at 1030 in website and it was showing approved right away.
As this forum has given me so much so its my time to reciprocate. Heres how it goes :
Arrived half an hour before the appointment time and was let in. DS 160 confirmation, appointment and passport verified.
Total duration 30 mins
Arrived an half before the interview. Long queue but inside for L1B blanket visa was comparatively very swift. Every where specifically called L1b blanket to come forward.
Once payment was done, the officer was really polite headed to the verification in another counter and then joined the queue for interview.
Lady ahead me visa got rejected who was with her child so felt nervous before approaching the officer.
Me: Good Morning Sir
VO: Good Morning. Pls confirm your name
VO: Looking into the screen.L1 A or B
VO: Applying for renewal or 1st time
Me; Didnt understood so he repeated and confirmed first time
VO: (meanwhile in another counter L1B interview was going and can clearly listen to the ques, he also was repeating ques once the other counter lady was asking
VO: Where will you go
Me: Sorr sir didnt understood as i though hes saying "taxes" :)
VO: Repeated "texas"
Me: Sorry sir Didnt understood
VO: (3rd time) Houston is in Texas
Me; ohh Sorry Sir dint get you :)
Me: answered but reverted that Correction in Ds160 form needed for amount but he said its ok
Vo: How long
VO :Do you have a wife
Me: Answering about wife and children (cut short in between)
VO : (looking on the screen) why only you
Me : Answered
VO : (Looking on screen and stamping doc .looks like not much interested in my answer and made a decision)
Me; Trying to peak and read the stamp
VO: Approved next time you travel be sure this visa is stamped and not tourist Visa
Me: (happy) Thank you
Disclaimer: Please note that the experiences presented are submitted by visitors to our website. Individuals’ experiences may vary, and you should interpret each individual’s experience at your own risk. Do not make a decision solely based on an experience posted here. We do not endorse any individuals’ experiences, and we are not liable or responsible for consequences stemming from your use of the information presented within any individual’s experience.