Mine is a question rather than an experience. Please pardon me if this is not the right forum to ask.
My company is planning to send me to the US on L1B Visa (mostly probably blanket). While I am excited to go to the US, I am a little skeptical about the current Covid situation and the availability of Visa slots. I am hearing that the latest available slot is somewhere in Sept/Oct 2022. Is that true? Can some one here please help me check this and is there any way that I can check this myself? (my processing is not yet started and I currently do not have an account in cgifederal)
I'm sorry if my question is too naive, I am new to all of these and hence struggling a bit. Also, this information is helpful to me because I have another offer in India which is pretty decent. I'm just afraid to lose it waiting for US Visa considering the current situation.
Hi, my wife was the primary applicant for L1A blanket. Me and our 6 year old daughter accompanied her for the interview on 16th December.
- Our appointment was at 10 am, we reached at 9:45 and were allowed to enter straight in.
- After security check, we went to a desk where we arranged our documents.(They asked for only 2 sets of I129, I797)
- We then went straight into the interview building, we were asked to skip all queues (Not sure it was because of L1A blanket visa or our daughter)
- After waiting for 5 mins, my wife went and paid the 500$ fee
- After another 2 mins we were asked to stand in front of a counter for the interview
- Below is how the conversation went, it was a lady officer and she was very cheerful and smiling. We were confident but a little nervous.
VO - Hi, good morning
Wife: Good morning
VO: (Looking at my daughters mask) Oh nice, there are cars on your mask. So cute!
We all had a nice laugh
VO: Please hand over your documents
VO: (After a min) Please handover passports of your family as well
VO: Which visa are you applying for?
VO: Have you travelled on an L or H visa before?
Wife: Yes, on an H1 before
VO: have you been in India for a period of 12 months after that?
Wife: Yes, I came back in 2014
VO: Which city are you travelling to
VO: What will be your designation
Wife: Manager - Product Development
VO: How many people do you manage?
Wife: I am a functional manager so I will manage multiple teams but they don't report directly into me.
VO: Got it, and what is the budget for the project?
Wife: 5M USD
(After this answer the VO was convinced, and I knew she will approve it)
VO: How old are you? (to my daughter)
VO: So thats like grade 1?
Wife: Yes, she is in Sr Kg now
VO: And sir you work in XYZ? (to me)
VO: Great your visas are approved, safe travels!
Wife: Thanks Officer, have a good day
We entered the consulate at 9:45 and exited at 10:15!
We were confident of getting the visa, but we never thought it would be this smooth!
Thanks a lot to people in the forum for helping us.
First of all, thank you very much for all the inputs and experiences shared on this forum. Many of them were very useful.
I went for L1A blanket visa interview in Chennai along with L2 petitions for my wife and 2 kids.
I had VAC appointment on Dec 9th at 11:30 AM and consular interview appointment on Dec 10th at 9 AM.
The VAC experience was rather straightforward. You can carry mobile for VAC interview, but need to keep it switched off. VAC is on 1st/2nd floor of the building. You have to take stairs.
The handling was very cordial. Initially documents were checked and all DS-160s were placed in respective passports. Then we were led to the biometrics windows based on the ticket number given at the first window. Here DS-160s and passports were verified. Some basic questions were asked like full name and DOB. Then photos and biometric data was collected. We had to bring passport size photo for our 1 yr old son but the one we brought was not accepted. They need a 2X2 photo but we took the same photo we used for his passport application, which was not appropriate. The good news was that the reviewer told us that we could take the right photo directly to the visa interview. Fortunately, on the ground floor of the same building there is a center for photocopies, photographs, etc. We took his 2X2 photo right there and left. The whole experience was probably around 30-40 min.
For the visa interview we went around 30 min early at 8:30 AM. There was a line outside the consulate and we were sent to two levels of lines outside the building before we entered it. Then there was an airport style security checks. Everything was ok except that we had a small bottle of hand sanitizer with us which they did not allow. But more importantly, they will not dispose it themselves. They asked me to go out and throw it well outside the building which I did. Then I went back into the building skipping lines.
After the security check, we were led into a room where a lady wanted documents placed in a certain order - 3 sets of I129s, first page of I797, primary applicant passport and primary applicant DS-160. Then we were led towards a second building. There was a long line with social distancing. But curiously (and fortunately!), L1A visa applicants were asked to skip the lines and directly proceed towards the visa interview windows and sit. After sitting for maybe 5 min, the attendant asked me to go and pay the visa anti-fraud fee which I did at a corner window (specifically for this). I paid with credit card and returned to the sitting area to my family. After another 5 min or so, we were asked to stand in line right in front of the window we were all the while seated. The earlier interview going on was also on L1 and it was approved and then it was our turn. The interview went as below:
Me: Good Morning
VO: Good Morning
VO: Can I have your passport please
Me: (I gave my earlier set I had prepared)
VO: Can I have rest of the passports as well
Me: (I gave the passports of my family)
VO arranged the passports, I-129s in certain order and started looking something on the computer and typing.
It must have been 2 min where he worked on the system without talking anything (but it looked like it went on forever!)
VO: So how long you have been working with XXXXX
Me: 3 yrs 3 months sir
VO: Of these how long have you been a manager
Me: 2 yrs
VO: What is your salary in US
Me: 1XX,XXX + Variable Pay
VO: How many direct reports in your new role
Me: I am asked to hire 5 reports sir
VO: How many indirect reports
VO: Total how many reports in your next role
Me: 14 sir
VO: Do you have hire and fire authority
Me: For direct reports, yes.
Then he typed something on the system and asked me to verify my biometrics
Then he spoke to my wife and asked her about her highest qualification which she told him. He seemed to glance at the monitor to verify. Then he verified her biometrics as well.
VO: Your visa is approved. But (XXXX) your son's photograph is missing
Me: (getting ready to submit it)
VO: Oh I cannot accept it here but go to window XX and submit. Please do comeback after doing that.
VO handed all passports back to us.
Then we went to the other window, submitted the photo and my son's passport. the photo was scanned and returned. I think the info was uploaded on the system. Then we returned to the original VO window where another family was being interviewed for L1B and eventually theirs was approved.
Then we again went to the window
Me: Hello sir
VO: Hello, There you are again
Me: We submitted our son's photo (and handed passport)
VO: (checked the system) Can I have all the passports please for stamping the visa
Me: (handed over)
VO: your visas are approved. you are set to go. safe travels.
Me: Thank you sir. Have a nice day.
VO: Thank you and you too.
1. Be well prepared. Being confident is important and confidence will come from preparation. I had prepared 2 1/2 pages of potential questions and my replies and practiced multiple times.
2. Be confident when you speak. take a deep breath(s) before going to the window.
3. Understand beforehand what the visa requirements are and how your application addresses them.
4. Dress professionally and comfortably. I wore a neat shirt and trousers, shoes etc. I did not wear blazer as sometimes at visa interviews it causes some discomfort (from my past experience with another class of visa)
5. Be friendly without being unprofessional.
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.
This forum has always been helpful for every visa interview i have attended.
Here is my experience for interview scheduled for my family of 3(myself, spouse, kid).
Biometrics - Dec 5th, Chennai:
Documents required was recent passport, DS160 confirmation page, Appointment confirmation page, photograph in case of any kid
Was done with entire process in 10 minutes.
Consular Interview - Dec 6th, Chennai:
VO: Can i have your passport?
Me: Handed over passport.
VO: Is it L1 blanket or individual
VO: what will be your salary?
Me: XXX,XXX USD
VO to spouse: What is your highest qualification madam?
VO: Your visa is approved!
This forum has been a great support and help for all the visa applicants, and I am no exception, have gone through the past experiences shared by different applicants and here is my turn to give it back and share my experience.
I had attended my L1A (blanket) visa interview on Dec 3rd, 2021 in Bern (Switzerland), and it was approved, though I have applied for visa interview in India back in March 2020 which got cancelled during Covid time and I moved to Switzerland few months back.
I have received earlier appointment for Feb 3rd 2022, and then i logged in on appointment page on 30th Nov and saw that there is a slot open for Dec 3rd. I have rescheduled appointment for Dec 3rd at 8:45 AM.
It was overall great experience in USA Embassy, we reached there at around 8:40 AM , I went along with my family , Its a very small setting with just few windows , first window they checked all my documents and arranged them in right sequence and asked me to pay the fraud fee at another window and come back for finger scan once I completed the fee payment and finger scans, have proceeded o the Window where consular officer asked following questions
1. Asked me to share visa fee receipt, passports and documents
I have handed over all documents to him
2. What is my Job Title ?
I answered with my Job title with confidence
3. Which location are you going to in USA?
I answered the city and state name
4. Are you applying same category of Visa as earlier ?
I said yes as I had L1A visa in past from my previous employer and he looked in system and checked and said oh yes you had lots of L1 visa earlier
5 How many people reporting to you ?
I answered 25, he asked all of those are direct reports to which I clarified no only 6 are direct reports and rest are indirect reports
6. Question about kids - how old are they ?
I answered with age of my kids, to which he mentioned I also have two daughters of similar age
After this he kept entering in system for few minutes and told us everything looks great and I am approving your visa , you shall get it by mid-next week, after this he kept all passport and gave me one copy of i-129 with approval notice and stamp.
This is it guys.. overall experience was very pleasant, everything was completed within 30 minutes, we were out by 9:20 from Embassy.
Now when I am checking the status , it is showing that 'Administrative Processing' and I am assuming that this will change on Monday as I have visited Embassy on Friday and I should be all set after that
Thanks a lot for your feedback and inputs shared on sample questions and experiences.
I had my L1A blanknet interview scheduled, felt nervous in the start as I noticed that the person before my interview was rejected (L1A) and a student was rejected for F1.
Here is the detailing of my interview.
VO: Good morning
Me: Good morning
VO: How Old are you
My son: 13yrs old
VO: So you are a grown up boy
VO: What is your name
My son: He told his name
VO: you studied in US
My son was about to start telling his study history starting from KG, however the VO didn’t pay attention to his inputs
VO: What is your name
My wife: She said her name
VO: So you were in the US before on which VISA
My wife: H4
VO: Do you know on which VISA are you going now
My wife: L2
VO: so xxxx is your petitioner
VO: Who is your client
Me: told the client name
VO: Where is your client office
Me: told the address
VO: What is your salary
Me: told the salary updated in i129s form
VO: How long are you in your company
Me: told him the duration
VO: That’s a long time
VO: You were in the US before on H1
Me: Yes, I updated the time period that I was working in the US, and what I did
VO: What is the designation of your supervisor
Me: Shared the information
VO: How big is your team
Me: Explained about the offshore and onshore capacity
VO: What is your line of sight
Me: Project management
VO: How many resources you hired in last year
Me: told him the total no of resources I recruited
VO: Only this much resources ?
Me: I said, yes, and justified the reason for the count
VO: What is the budget for last 12 months
Me: told him the no
VO: So, you have this big no for a small team
Me: Yes, it is for 3 years
VO: I was asking for 12 months
Me: Sorry, it would be less than that. Gave him the no divided by 3
VO was checking few information on his system and stamped the seal as approved and updated the VISA validity date in the i129S.
But, when he gave me the stamped i129S form, he mentioned that he has to check with his supervisor as he feels that my data would not be sufficient to interpret for L1 VISA.
VO gave me another slip, which was telling that your VISA is approved, and your passport will be shipped to the address mentioned in the application.
VO did not say the application is either rejected or approved, but told me that I will get the passport in a week of time.
I had a lot of preparation on the frequently asked questions, however I felt that the questions asked by VO are completely new to me 😊, however I tried to manage them
One more point, the VO did not even look at me while talking or asking questions, he was showing interest in updating data in his system, but I had confidence on my communication.
I am still not sure if I am going to get my passport with VISA stamped or NOT,
Can some one share help or info, if you had seen these in the past.
I had my L1A blanket interview completed today. The VO stamped i129s as approved with the Green slip telling that my passport will be delivered to my address, however he pointed out that he still has to check with his supervisor on the approval status.
What would happen here as I got i129s form with approved and mentioned with dates till approved.
L1B Blanket appointment cancelled from Chennai consulate
I had my L1B blanket appointment (Chennai) scheduled for 7th Feb 2022. Last Monday, I received an email from the consulate that this appointment is cancelled due to the current pandemic situation. I am not sure how exactly it got cancelled when the covid situation is actually improving in India and my appointment was in Feb 2022 which is almost 2.5 months from now.
Did anyone else face a similar issue? Please advise.
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