Firstly, a huge thanks to the forum members for their help and support all thru thus far, which has helped me to prepare and finally have my L1A individual visa approved.
Here is my detailed experience on the VAC and the interview process - I went solo.
17 Feb, 2021 - VAC appointment:
- Reached the VAC center about 30 minutes prior with all my documents. Documents included were the appointment confirmation page, DS, 160, Original & a copy of i797, stamping packes.
- I was sent inside the building 15 minutes prior to the appointment time.
- Though mobile phones can be carried in switch off mode, once cannot carry their smart watch even if it is turned off. I had to take a locker in the ground floor and deposited it along with my watch, wallet etc., as i thought of making use of what i pay (INR 50) :P
- The VAC officer in the counter greeted me and took my passport, DS 160, appointment confirmation letter.
- After verification, she asked me for my i797 and i produced it - After verification, I was sent inside the other room where the biometrics are collected.
- I was called immediately to my allocated counter as there was no much rush when I went there.
- First it started with the fingerprint - Due to the COVID-19 guidelines, they asked me to wipe the scanner once before the fingerprint scan was done - This was done and once completed, I wiped the scanner again for others safety, sanitized my hand and took the photograph.
- The entire process took about 5 minutes and I was outside in less than 20 minutes.
18 Feb, 2021: Consular Interview AKA D-Day:
- My appointment was at 8 AM and I reached there by 7:20 AM. Usually everyone suggests to be there almost on time to avoid the wait but I took a cue from my previous B1 interview and went there a bit earlier. The advantage was to stay relaxed and see people and kids who would make some adorable things which may soothe one's mind. This also gives you an opportunity to go thru your documents for one last time in peace.
- We were called to the entrance by around 7:50 AM and due to the COVID-19 safety measures, the queue seemed like huge since social distancing was in place but there were hardly 15-20 people.
- Without much adieu, finished the security check and we were made to wait in the hall, again with a socially distanced manner. After about 2-3 minutes of waiting, the people were asked to proceed towards the main entrance.
- Again there was a queue but we were made to stand in a socially distanced manner in the ramp and in hardly about 10 minutes entered the main building.
- I seemed like the only one for an L1A or work related visa. All the others seemed like visiting parents or spouses or business people - I was the fourth in the line inside the embassy and the queue manager from a distance, gestured me to come in the front and I was wondering if he was calling me and gestured if it was me and he reconfirmed.
- Once i started to walk front, he gestured me to a counter in the side and this moment made me nervous because the person returning had a green/ blueish green notice in his hand - I was wondering if it was a 221g and cursed that guy for sending me to a counter which I was nervous about - LOL, I was wrong (I will be told at the end). Reached the counter and here is how it went:
Me: Good Morning Officer.
VO: Very good morning sir (with a nice smile)
VO: Can i have your passport please?
Me: Sure officer (And slipped my passport inside the counter).
VO scanned the passport
VO: So, you are here for a L1A?
Me: Yes officer
<VO starts typing in the keyboard>
VO: You work for ABC? I'm curious what does ABC stand for?
Me: Told the expansion
VO: Ah ok (we both had a bit of laughter).
VO: Are you travelling solo?
Me: Yes officer, i'm travelling solo.
VO: (After looking at my B1) So you have travelled to the US before - Where did you go?
VO: And where are you travelling to the US now?
Me: Answered (same location)
VO: Ah ok, same location.
VO: What is your designation? I see you are a manager - ZZZ. Let me guess: YYYY stands for xxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxx
Me: (With a smile and a sense of friendly notion) - No exactly, it is xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxx. You are almost right.
<We had a crack of laughter, VO Continues typing with a smile again and her smile disappears>
VO: I am getting some issue on my system. Please wait for few minutes and I will be back.
Me: Sure officer (With a confident thumbs up gesture).
<VO left the counter and was talking to someone and checking on their system - this was a nervous period for me as i was not sure of what was happening>
VO: Sorry about that.
Me: Not a problem officer (Again with a smile behind the mask and a thumbs up gesture).
<VO continues to type and save something and finally it was all good and her smile returned>
VO: What is your salary in the US?
Me: 1ZZZ00 dollars
VO: What is your intended duration of the stay.
Me: 3 years
VO: Ok, please place your left palm on the scanner (The moment i had a sigh of relief).
Me: Sure (Officer finished scanning).
VO: Your visa is approved and passed over the green notice stating that the visa was approved.
Me: Thank you officer - Have a good day.
VO: You too, have a nice day.
I came outside the main building, took a breath of fresh air and that feel of - Yaaay, I got my Visa made me a bit emotional.
19 & 20 Feb, 2021 - Administrative Processing.
21 Feb, 2021 - Issued
23 Feb, 2021 - Received the passport
You can read more about my journey at https://www.immihelp.com/forum/usa-l1-l2-visa/723593-l1-a-individual-premium-processing-need-help-on-queries