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Successful CP at Chennai
Personal experience – IV interview at Chennai

I am a retired engineer. Together with my wife, I appeared for the Immigrant Visa interview at Chennai on 30 April 2002.

Our cases ( my wife and I) were sponsored by my daughter, who is an US citizen. Our cases came under the IR5 category.

During the past few months, I was a regular browser of the which gave me a lot of information to prepare the docs and anticipate what is required at the interview. The ‘ personal experiences ‘ of a few CP’ers were really elaborate and they were of immense help.

Arranging the docs

I found it extremely helpful in arranging the docs in the proper sequence as required by the US Consulate ( refer to the information in Packet 4). I made the following files ready.

File 1 – containing –
1. Appointment letter
2. Form OF 230 Part I ( signed)
3. Form OF 230 Part II (unsigned)
4. Marriage certificate ( Original + Copy)
5. Wedding photos - 3 off
6. Birth Certificate ( Original + Copy)
7. Evidence of financial support from sponsor -
a. I 864 – from daughter
b. Tax returns for the past 3 years (2001, 2000, 1999) – (Copies)
c. Letter from the employer
d. Bank statement
e. Naturalization Certificate ( Copy)
8. Photos ( for immigration purposes, as specified in the Packet 4 letter) – 3 off
9. Proof of relationship – (Original + Copy)
10. Medical report
11. IRS 9003 form
12. Police clearance certificate ( Original + Copy)
13. Passport

File 2 – containing the same documents for my wife.

The above two files will be submitted to the consulate officer.

1. Where nothing is mentioned, it is only the Original document that will be submitted
2. There is no need to submit the X- ray along with the medical report.

File 3 – containing one copy of the docs submitted in files 1 and 3. These may not be required at all ( as was in our cases), but it is recommended that we have some extra copies of the docs we are submitting.

File 4 – containing the miscellaneous papers like corespondence with the US Consulate, copy of the petition filed by the sponsor ( to the INS), and any other supporting docs for the date of birth etc.

I arranged the docs with proper tags for easy reference and placed the files in transparent folders – one folder for each file. It is not recommended that the papers are stapled together as that will cause inconvenience for the consulate staff to separate them. I used the Gem clips to hold the papers. Each file of papers are then held together in a bunch by the large clips available in the market.

Procurement of the docs

It will be helpful to start collecting the required docs a few months ahead of the anticipated date of interview. I have seen a few people at the interview not fully equipped with all the docs required. The following docs are to be procured:
1. Birth certificate – For people of my age group, it is likely that they do not have the birth registered at the municipal office. An endorsement from the municipality (check the place of birth in the passport) has to be obtained that the birth was not registered. This will be an easy job and can be done in a few days time. Then an affidavit has to be made by the parents regarding the date and place of birth of the applicant. If the parents are no more, any elderly close relative (who has knowledge of the date of birth) can sign the affidavit. Together with the endorsement, this affidavit will serve as the birth certificate.
2. Marriage certificate – This can be obtained from Registrar of Marriages in about 15 days time. It is not necessary that we have to obtain the marriage certificate at the place of marriage. This can be procured at the current place of residence. If the Registrar’s office is contacted, they will give the details of the procedure to be followed. We submitted copies of the old wedding photos for obtaining the marriage certificate.
3. Wedding photos – If we have a photo, we can submit the copies. In fact the US Consulate returned the copies of the (black and white) photos I submitted.
4. Proof of relationship – We have to submit originals (and copies) of the documents to prove the relationship of the sponsor with the applicants. If the sponsor is a son or daughter, the best evidence is the birth certificate of the sponsor from the municipality. Otherwise we can also submit any school records like X class certificate, degree certificate etc where the names of the parents are mentioned. As a last resort, affidavits can be made from close relatives who have knowledge of the birth of the sponsor to certify that the sponsor was born to the applicants.
5. Police clearance certificates (PCC) – This is an area where I found some of the IV applicants I met at Chennai were not clear. I have also found that the US Consulate was particular asking for all the relevant PCCs. The following points are to be noted:
a. For the applicants who stayed in India all through, it is required to get the PCC from the passport office serving the area of current residence. If the passport is issued from the same office, the PCC is made available within a week. If the passport is issued from another office in India or abroad, it may take upto 45 days. The procedure is straight forward and one has to pay Rs 100 as fee.
b. For the applicants, whose passports were issued not more than six months from the present date ( date of interview), the PCC from the passport office alone is sufficient. If that is not the case (which will be the majority of the cases), one has to obtain the PCC from the local district police office IN ADDITION TO the PCC obtained from the passport office. This needs some follow-up. In my case, I met the Supt of Police personally with an application detailing why I need the PCC from his office, attaching copies of the appointment letter and the note for the requirement of the PCC from the US Consulate. Once he authorized the issue of the PCC, it is just following up with his office staff.
c. For those applicants who resided abroad (as we did), we have to get the PCC from ALL the countries WHERE the period of stay was MORE THAN ONE YEAR after attaining the age of 16. For European countries, there are clear guidelines how to do it and their embassies in India have all the information. Otherwise we can contact a friend in those countries and they can obtain the PCC for you. One has to send all the docs from here. For some countries (e.g African countries), you need your fingerprints to be taken and certified at the local police station and sent to the respective offices/embassies. This is a time consuming and expensive process as most of the countries charge a fee for issuing the PCCs. If you fall in this category, the time to act is now irrespective of the anticipated date of interview.
d. The PCCs from the local sources are to be procured preferably within six months period before the interview.

Accomodation at Chennai

I can not write about the hotel accommodation at Chennai as we did not stay in a hotel. But there are quite a few hotels reasonably priced close to the US Consulate. If you are going to Chennai in summer (as we did), I recommend that you go for AC accommodation. In my view, it is better to stay close to the US Consulate as most of the activities are around the Consulate.

Lister laboratories

Lister lab is at Jagannathan Street, about 1 ½ KM from the Gemini flyover off the Nungambakkam High Road. We engaged a taxi and our taxi driver knew the place. We reached Chennai around 6=30 AM on 26th April. After refreshing in the room, we reached Lister lab around 9=00 AM. No prior appointment is required. But make sure that you carry a copy of the appointment letter from the US Consulate and a passport size photo ( normal size – not immigration size). We filled in the forms ( sent to us by the US Consulate along with Packet 4) beforehand and affixed the photos. We have to carry our passports as well.

The Receptionist will check the passport and the appointment letter and compare the details with the form filled by us. We will be given another form for filling and to be handed over to the Receptionist. Then each candidate is required to pay Rs 600 as the fee ( can be paid in cash). A receipt will be given, which will later be used to collect the reports.

The lab was quite efficient and there was not much of waiting there. The staff had a coffee break around 9=30 AM ( for 10 to 15 mins) and that added to our waiting period. Premeasured blood sample is taken by using a small test tube under vacuum. Then we went for the X-ray. The X-ray operator was quite helpful and speaks many languages. We came out of the lab around 10=00 AM.

Immigration photos

It is best to get the photos ( as detailed in Packet 4) at specified places in Chennai. We found two at Chennai – both Konica photo shops, around the US Consulate. One is across the road from the Chola Sheraton hotel, about 1 KM from the US Consulate. That was the shop we preferred. Another Konica shop, close to the Gemini flyover, also specializes in these photos. We have to tell them in advance that we require the photos for Green Card purpose. They give 8 photos ( 4 in each size – 1 ¼ in square and the other slightly larger). The photographer knows exactly the background and posture for the photo. The prints were made ready in 30 mins time. We paid Rs 100 for each person for 8 photos.

We used the 1 ¼ in size photos ( three) for submission at the US Consulate. Two of them are to be signed on the front bottom. We used the old fashioned ( thick-writing) ball pen. The modern ‘gel’ and fine-tipped pens were of no use. We wrote the name and case number at the back of the photos. But I found that some have not written anything at the backside of the photos.

Medical examination

We went to the Lister lab around 4=15 PM to collect the reports. They close at 5=00 PM sharp ( not 5=30 as indicated in the letter from the US Consulate). Even though they advised us to report by 4=30 PM, we went there early. Then the X-ray operator told us that the X-ray for my wife was not clear as there was some movement of the body. So she had to undergo another X-ray. They did it very fast and the report was made available soon after. We collected the reports ( kept sealed – to be opened only by the examining physician) by 4=50 PM.

We preferred to go to Dr. Mathai Thomas at the Best hospital at Kodambakkam as we wanted to complete all the jobs on the same day. He is the only doctor out of the panel of doctors available after 5=00 PM. I made an appointment with his secretary a few days in advance. We filled some forms giving our details and consent for the vaccinations. We have to carry our passports, appointment letter and one copy of the passport size photo ( NOT the immigration photo).

The doctor opened the envelope containing the X-ray and the reports. He went through the reports and asked us whether we were ever hospitalized, ever had any operations and any other ailment we have at present. My wife was examined by a female nurse and he examined me. We were made to cough a couple of times while he examined the abdomen, spleen etc. He noted down the height, weight and checked our vision. Since we had the MMR vaccine recently, we were given the vaccine for chicken pox. This was news to us. We expected no vaccination from the doctor. The chicken pox vaccination cost us Rs 1,500 each. When we checked with other IV applicants, we found that all other doctors were also administering the same vaccine at the same cost. We paid the doctor Rs 3,900.

When I asked him whether everything is normal, he told us we are fine. We were somewhat apprehensive as my wife and I are in the above 55 years age bracket and we really do not know the standards set by the US Health department. Later on we found at the time of interview, people who are considerably older than us ( and visibly infirm) and one lady in a wheel chair. The medical exam for both of us took about 30 mins. He gave us a personal copy of the immunizations report. He gave us the medical reports in open envelopes.

We came out from the doctor’s office around 6=15 PM. If parents like us are not familiar with Chennai and do not speak Tamil ( as we are), I suggest that it is best to engage a taxi for a day and finish the lab test and the medical exam on the same day. This will save time and also avoid haggling with the autodrivers at every point.

Interview at the Consulate

After the medical exam on 26th April, we had clear three days off before the interview on 30th April. If the season is right, we may utilize the period to see some of the sights in and around Chennai. We spent most of the day time in the room and ventured out only in the evenings.

On the day of the interview, we reported at the US Consulate gate at 7=30 AM (interview time indicated 8=00 AM). We have to show the appointment letter and passport at the gate before we are allowed. We carried them in a separate transparent plastic folder. No handbags, water bottles and cell phones are allowed inside the consulate premises. We carried all our docs ( in four folders) in a clear plastic bag. We were waved through the gate. We were directed to the building and another check was made regarding the appointment letter, passport and the carrying bags. There was a metal detector (like the security check at the airports) .Then we were asked to take seats in a row of chairs in a large hall.

This is a new building fully air-conditioned and is provided with comfortable chairs. Drinking water is available. I did not check but toilets should also be available. This was a pleasant surprise as we were mentally prepared to be seated on backless benches under a shamiana outside the building. The chairs are facing eight counters from where the applicants will be called. They have seated all the IV applicants on the right side and other visa applicants on the left side. When we entered the hall at 7=35 AM, we found that the front rows of chairs were already occupied. The security guard directed us to our seats in the fourth row. Usually the seats are allotted depending upon the time we arrive. Early birds get the front rows. We learnt that the gate opens at 7=00 AM.

Then a lady opened the counter 7 around 8=15 AM and started calling some H1 visa applicants and collected the papers. By 8=30 AM, counter 8 also opened and together with counter 7, they started dealing with the IV applicants. The security guard picked up the persons starting from the front row (first-come, first-served) and they were asked to form a line in front of the counters to submit the docs. For a family only one member is required to submit the docs. Even though my wife and I have separate case numbers, only I was asked to submit both sets of docs. I submitted my docs by 9=00 AM. I was asked to submit my Demand Draft ( for an equivalent amount of US $ 260) at the counter 1. The lady at the cash counter issued two copies of receipt for the same. We were also given an address label to be filled with the address where we want the passports and visa papers to be sent. We filled the address label and waited.

The collection of the docs for the IV applicants was completed by 9=30 AM. The process was quite fast and efficient. At 10= 00 AM, another lady came to the counter 7 and called our names first (to our surprise as we were not the first to submit the papers). She collected one copy of the receipt we obtained earlier for payment of the visa application fee. She went through all the docs separating the originals from the copies. She returned us the copies of the wedding photos. We submitted affidavits from my mother-in-law and a family friend to prove that the sponsor is our daughter. The copies of these affidavits were used when my daughter filed the petition to INS. We noticed that the lady at the counter has the petitions filed by my daughter. We submitted the originals of the affidavits. She asked us whether we have any other proof. My daughter was included in the passport of my wife ( issued in 1980). Also in the degree certificate of my daughter, my name was included as the father. We gave the originals and copies of these docs. The lady asked us to sign the Form OF 230 Part II. She told us that all the other papers are in order and we can wait for the approval of the consular officer. The whole process did not take more than 15 mins.

By 10=30 AM, we were again the first persons called to the counter 7. The same lady told us that we can now pay the visa fee and collected the address label from us. She returned us the original docs submitted to prove the relationship. We were also given back the copies of the PCCs. The originals were retained by the Consulate. She returned us the original docs for the marriage certificate and the affidavits for date of birth. We had also handed over the draft for Rs 300 to her. Since we have two passports, the courier fee was Rs.350. I told her that I have two drafts for Rs. 300 each. She agreed to have Rs. 50 in cash in addition to one of the drafts for Rs. 300. She gave us a slip authorizing us to pay the visa fee. She told us after paying the visa fee (equivalent of US $ 65 each), we can go home and wait for the packet to be delivered by the courier. We handed over the drafts for the amount and collected the receipt. The security staff in the hall do not allow discussions with others after the visa fee is paid. We came out of the Consulate by 10=45 AM. As we wanted to be present to receive the visa packets from the courier, we reached Hyderabad the next morning. If you choose to stay in Chennai, you can receive the visa packets the very next day through the courier.

We received the packet containing the passports and the visa packets for both of us on 2 May 2002 at our Hyderabad address. The immigration visas were stapled on the outside of the packets with an instruction that the packets are to be opened by an US immigration or health officer. We were advised to check the details on the visa and if any correction is required, we should contact the Consulate within two weeks from the date of issue of the visa. We made a few photocopies of the visas for submission to the travel agent etc without disturbing the affixed visas.

Port of Entry

We arrived at the Los Angeles airport with the visa packets in hand. We had only filled the customs declaration form as there was no need to fill the Immigration forms provided on board the flight. We were directed to the immigration counter dealing with the new immigrants. After checking the contents of the packets, we were asked to sign and affix the fingerprint (forefinger only) on a document. Then we were asked to collect our baggage and come back to the counter. There was no mention of the X-rays which we carried all the way through to USA from India. We collected our baggage and presented ourselves at the same counter after 20 minutes. We had to wait for a few minutes before we were handed over our passports with a stamp for a temp visa for one year. The actual cards are expected to arrive at the declared address in USA after a few months.
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Consular processing experience at Tokyo, Japan
Here is a memo from my CP experience (Tokyo, Japan).

On DS-230II, item 28 should be filled with your native alphabet (kanji in my case).

I was advised from the hospital who would conduct my medical exam to finish immunization for MMR, TD, and varicella before going to Japan for medical exam and CP interview. I was glad because I had already got MMR and varicella a few month ago. I only had to get TD on the day of medical exam.

I got a slight fever for a day or two after MMR and varicella shot. TD was fine.

I got immunization at Hyo J. KIM, M.D. (1426 Fillmore St. #202, San Francisco). They were nice.

I got medical exam at Seibo Hospital in Tokyo. They were nice. Express service was available on the same day with extra charge. Normal service took three days. I chose normal service. The hospital was open seven days a week, and I could get the result on Saturday.

During a trip for CP, I stayed at Komatsuya Ryokan in Ueno. The hotel is old, and has no private bathroom. But I liked their hospitality. Best of all, the hotel is located very close to Ueno station, and the price is low. I took Keisei Liner from NRT to Ueno. In Tokyo, I used Yamanote-line and taxi to go to American Embassy and Seibo Hospital.

Employment letter has to be notarized. I did not know this until I got the interview notice, thus had to run around in the final week before the trip. Just in case, I got two letters notarized.

Due to the long waiting between actions, some documents you collected might get obsolete. For example, check the date on your family register and employment letter. In my case, newer tax return document became available while I was waiting.

I got tax return documents at IRS (450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco). They printed the documents on the spot with no charge.

Some extra photos helped me. Some extra copies of family register helped me.

Some of the heavy bunch of documents I carried all over to Japan for "just in case" helped me.

My attorney was always quick. Whenever I e-mailed him with questions, he kindly answered within a day. I hope you get such a professional.

But still, most of the useful information came from the web. Thanks a lot to all the nice friends on the web!
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Consular processing experienece, Guangzhou, China
I succeeded in getting my employer-sponsored immigration visa (EB2) approved through the consular process at Guangzhou, China. I put up my experience here in hope that others following the same route may find it helpful.
Call the consulate directly to get your status once the Packet III is sent out.

It took the package IV more than 2 weeks to reach me from the consulate, and I barely had enough time to get all the needed documents, arrange for international travel, and be there for the medical exams. I did call the consulate a couple of times to find out if my submitted documents were complete, and they informed me that they were. They also verified my address in the U.S., but never explicitly told me the interview date. Therefore, it's very important to ask them to check and tell you if an interview date has been scheduled, and if so, when.

The number to call is 86-020-8399-2000

and you can only talk to a live person 2:00-4:00pm Guangzhou time. The above number may change; you can call the main number listed from the consulate's Web site and find the right number by navigating the voice menu. If you are told that the line is busy, call back after a few minutes. Have your case number ready; it should begin with GUZ followed by a number generated by the National Visa Center. Staff can speak both English and Mandarin.
Fly to Guangzhou for medical exams and vaccination
You must have the medicals and vaccination done prior to the interview. You should give yourself at least 2 days -- one day for the exams and one day for getting the result. I recommend

Health Care Center of Guangdong International Travel
33 Shamian North Street, Shamian Island, Guangzhou
Tel: 86-020-81889513

It is located on the same island as the U.S. consulate and the two locations are within walking distance of each other. The staff there are professional and friendly; they will guide you from start to finish for each test, and they are familiar with the medical/vaccination required by the consulate. You should bring the interview notice letter from the consulate (a photocopy is fine), 4 passport photos (frontal), and all the medical forms in Package IV.

Bring previous vaccination records so that you may avoid some shots. The whole process takes about two hours. I arrived around 8:00am and were done well before noon. You will get a receipt telling you when to return to pick up the result.

The result is sealed in an envelop and you must not open it until the interview. You'll also be given a tube containing the X-ray. It might be needed so bring it to the interview. The brown and yellow health/vaccination certificates are for your records only. Since your result is sealed, you can find the same information from these certificates.
You don't need to go to the consulate earlier than your scheduled time. Outside the consulate there are lanes marked for immigrant applicants with their appointment time. Line up according to your appointment time. I was scheduled for 9:30am, but wasn't allowed in until 11:00am. It was rather crowded and a bit chaotic outside the consulate; be patient. Have your interview letter ready.

Once inside the courtyard, go to the visa room at the back. Give your interview letter to the staff roaming the room, and take a seat. When I was there, the room was packed; some people were chatting loudly; children were running around. Again, be patient. Your name will be called.

Go to the designated window and turn in your documents to the local staff. You'll break the medical envelop there, and put two visa style photos in a small plastic bag. The local staff can be difficult, negative, and fault-finding. My tormenter tossed out some documents that I submitted, then demanded them again impatiently. She also said that my police certificate had expired (I've never been back to China for many years.) Ignore them; just get the necessary documents in.

You'll be asked to pay at a seperate window. They only accpet RMB, not U.S. dollar, contrary to some information posted on the Web. If you don't have the money in RMB, you can go back to the original window and ask for permission to go out of the consulate to get it. You'll get a slip of paper, which allows you to return, and tell the guards at the door that you'll be back. There's a Bank of China branch in a few blocks.

They didn't ask any document not on the packet IV list. They didn't even keep my tax returns and pay stubs, although the local staff glanced at them. You should, of course, bring as many documents as possible just in case they are needed.

Once you've paid, you need to sit down and wait to be called again. In my case, an American consul asked me to swear to tell the truth. She was very nice and asked me a few very simple questions like: Where do you work? How did you first go to the U.S.? Which school did you go to? What was your major? What did you do at the company? She asked me how long I've been back in China, and I said a couple of days. She then said the police certificate was okay. And she approved my application. I was the last one stepping out of the consulate.
Picking up the visa and returning via Los Angeles
You go back at 4:30pm to pick up your visa outside the consulate with your passport. No lines; they'll call your name. The visa is a sealed package with a colorful approval notice stapled outside. No stamps in your passport.

When leaving China, show your passport and this package to the airline staff at checkin and the Chinese border security at the airport. At Los Angeles, go to the "First time immigrants" aisle. They'll let U.S. citizens with adopted children and fiance visa holders go first. Then they'll get your finger-print and signature and take your package. They then stamp your passport with the temporary green card. You're done. It took me 30 minutes at LA as there were about 20 new immigrants.
Case sent to NVC on: May 7, 2001
Packet IV sent from Guangzhou: August 16, 2001
Packet IV arrived: Sept. 1, 2001
Interview on: Sept. 11, 2001
Priority date: July 29, 1998
I stayed at the Victory (Sheng Li) Hotel on the Shamian Island, which is close to both the Health Care Center and the U.S. consulate. The hotel takes credit card, which is not possible in other hotels I stayed. It was about RMB 200 a night.

You can get on the Internet at the Henan Guest House (Henan Zhao Dai Suo) nearby for RMB 20 an hour. Ask the front desk for its location.

Use taxi to get around. No tips are needed anywhere.
Good luck!
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Consulate processing at Auckland, New Zealand
Note: New Zealand Citezens don't need Police Cetificates. In Packet III there should be a form for the release of information by the Police to the consulate. I never got this (instead I called the NVC and got my case no over the phone then sent Packet III forms I downloaded). I wrote to the consulate and they sent me the form which I filled out and sent back to them.

There are three doctors in Auckland that can do them. You have to do the Medicals at least one week before your interview (I was there 10 days before my Wife did hers 6 days before) as the results are sent to the consulate by the doctor and the bloodwork takes at least 2 days to get the results. You do not take the results yourself. You do a physical exam at the doctors then go to outside labs for the X-Ray and Blood tests. I went to the X-Ray then the blood lab then back to the X-Ray place to get my X-Ray which I took back to the doctors office in person where it was checked and I was told it was fine.

In and around consulate
The US Consulate General in Auckland is not a seperate building. It takes up the third floor of the Citibank buildnig in Auckland. There are local lawyers offices, Accounting firms etc on the other floors. If it wern't for the US flag hanging off the outside of the building you would never know it was there.

There are security gaurds with an X-ray macine just off the elevator. You go through them to get to the waiting room. There is only one waiting room which everyone uses no matter what the purpose of their visit.

Document Collection
All interviews are at 9am. This is because the consulate is only open from 9am to 12:30pm each day. We were the only IV interview that day. You go through Security and go to the Immigrant Visa window.

There is no "rough" local interviewer who makes your life miserable. We instead got a freindly and polite lady with a checklist of required documents. She would ask for a document, we would hand it over and she would check it off the list.

We gave Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificate, Employment Letter OF230pt 1&2 for me DS230 Pt 1&2 for my wife, Passports and Proof of assets (Bank statements etc: no I-134 Affidavit needed). She then cancelled my H1B Visa and took photocopies of the birth and marriage certificates.

Next we paid the Application and Issuance fees at the same time. We paid $US650 cash at the Window and got a receipt. They also take local currency cash or bank drafts. We then waited for the consular officer.

The Consular Officer appeared at the window. He looked at the documents and appeared to be certifying the copies of the birth and marriage certificates. He then called our names. We went to the interview and took the Oath. He asked us a few questions about when we went to the states (we went on seperate visas and married there about two months before the interview). He asked us if we liked the state we were living in. He then said everything was OK and the Visas would be issued.

Packet IV said they would be available in 3 working days but the lady that took our documents spoke up in the background and said the would be ready the next day. We said thank you and left.

Pick Up
The next day we picked up our visas. You have to show the payment receipt to get them. My Wifes had her married and maiden name on it. The nice lady from the previous day said that the maiden name had to be on it as that was the name in her passport and application forms (we decided it would cut down on confusion to do it that way). However since her married name was on the Visa the Green Card could be issued using that name. Her visa had something written on the top about only being valid if accompanying or following me.

Entry to US
I entered on Sept 11th 2001 at LAX. My POE experience will not be typical but here it is:

I was in the second to last plane on the ground. The airport had been evacuated for nearly two hours by then and US airspace had been completely shut down. I was the only new immigrant and my time at immigration lasted all of 30 seconds. I gave them my Visa and passport. They sent me through immigration to get my luggage and I went back to find my passport already stamped. They took the fingerprint and I signed the form. They then told me to leave the building as quickly as possible. No questions, no chit chat just get out fast. My wife will be joining me in a couple of months.
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CP done at Mumbai
Finally, CP done at Mumbai in Dec. and now back to US via JFK-NY.

It is a very simple and straight forward process.

Thanks to immihelp and all others who helped in this whole process at each step answering some silly questions and some tough ones.

The whole process is as posted by many people, but still will repeat - hoping some of you new to the group may benefit.

Had the medical appointment at Hinduja on 30th Nov.
Reached Mumbai on 29th night, had not received the appointment letter till 28th in US, so had to send someone to collect it from the embassy in Mumbai. A simple authorization letter with our case number is sufficient. The authorized person has to go to the Public Information Window (right on the road - Bhulabhai Desai Road) by 8:00 AM and they will generate a new appointment letter and will give the OF230 Part I and II. USE THESE FORMS ONLY. They are slightly different than those available on the web.
Appointment Letter is a REQUIRED thing for medical at Hinduja, so don't go without it.

At Hinduja:
Go to the OLD BUILDING of the hospital before 7:00 AM, so you would be the first to get out. Fill out the form for each member which are lying in the center of the front reception counter. You don't need to ask anyone about anything to fill out the form. When the staff starts arriving, they will take your form and one photograph and Rs. 1400/- CASH.
They will ask you to go upstairs on 1st floor and see a nurse to initiate the check up process. The staff is very professional and courteous. They treat you very well (rare to see/experience that sort of customer service). They will ask you to provide any medical shots records from US. If you have any, make sure you also have the exact date when you took the shot on paper. For us, fortunately, we had all our immunization done in US, so they waived all the shots. Then, they get your blood for HIV/siphlis/other tests and ask you to sit in the waiting room. Once everyone is done with blood test, a person will escort you to the other building across the road for Chest X-Ray. After your X-Ray is developed (within minutes), they will tell you to go back to the initial waiting room and see the nurse about when to come back for medical check-up by the doctor. The nurse will give you time after 1:30 in slots of 15 minutes. Our X-Ray/Blood test was done at 9:30 itself and we were told to come back at 1:45. So, we had sufficient time to go to the "My Own Studio" opposite the consulate (It's address is probably-91 Bhulabhai Desai Road). If you are coming out of the consulate, turn right and walk on the opposite side of the road, you will pass ANZ-Standard Chartered Bank and in the next building is the studio. He charged Rs. 200/- for same day delivery, but his photographs are almost never rejected by consulate guys. He is very professional. He asked us to come back at 6:00 PM to collect the photographs.
Originally, i had thought about getting the DDs for Visa Fees at StanChart. I was carrying AMEX traveller's cheques and they wanted the Original Purchase Order for encashing them. Also, they charge Rs. 200/- as their fees and their Exchange rate is also less. So, decided to get it from our local State Bank Of India. You need to get 2 Drafts - 1 for Visa Application Fee and 2nd for Visa Issuance Fee. You can make draft in favor of "American Consulate General-Mumbai" payable at Mumbai. Check the local exchange rate written on the board outside the consulate for exact amount. We had taken 2 drafts 1 for Rs. 24440 (12220*2) and another one for Rs.6110 (3055*2).
After getting photographed, looked around for lunch nearby the consulate, but could not find any good place for good food. Only you can have some snacks near the Raj Pavillion.
Went back to Hinduja at 1:45 and the nurse gave back our medical records which we had given in the morning. Now, she asked for the appointment letter and from that, she noted the case number and other details on some forms. Then she asked to see the Doctor who was really nice person. He is an aged man and very calm. Filled out some form after looking at blood test/x-ray results in front of us, by which you can judge that everything is fine looking at what he is filling out. Then he took the Blood Pressure and checked heart beats. "No need to remove any clothes". After that he asked to wait outside. You have to go individually to see the doctor. After 10 minutes, the nurse called us and gave a big bag with X-Rays and Medical reports sealed in an envelope-not to be opened by us. That's it. We were out by 2:15. Went back to Bhulabhai Desai Road and waited in the Raj Pavillion's chairs. There is a nice park - caled Amarson's Park just behind it, but it opens at 5:00 and so went and enjoyed the sea for some time. Opposite to the consulate, there are good shopping stores (Benzer one of them), but quite expensive. Took the photographs at 6:00 from My Own Studio.

Interview - 6th Dec.
Because of 6th Dec., we had small problem in reaching the consulate. Normally it should take 30 minutes with the traffic, but due to some demonstrations/processions on that day, it took 2:15 hours to reach the consulate. Roads were blocked and at one point, we were sweating in tension because there was no sign of traffic moving. So, give yourself some extra time and reach about 2 hours prior to your scheduled time. Fortunately, we reached just 15 minutes before time.
Show your appointment letter to the security guard and tell them you are there for IMMIGRANT VISA INTERVIEW.
Don't take any electronic items/sharp objects inside the consulate. I forgot to remove 1 floppy from the bag and they asked to remove it and come inside. I just gave it to a friend who was waiting outside. Take all your documents in good sturdy plastic bags only and they don't allow purse for your spouse. They thoroughly checked all the bags inside out and asked to open all envelopes containing papers and checked for anything suspicious (bombs etc..)
As soon as you get in the consulate, go to the CASHIER and pay the Visa Application Fee Draft and give your passport and appointment letter to him. He will give you the receipt and ask you to wait. Normally, there are 2 cashiers and 1 is handling immigrant and 2nd is handling non-immigrant cases. Go to the immigrant one.
After that, sit in the chairs in front of window 9 to 12 (they are immigrant windows) PA system is 3rd class, so make sure you can hear properly when your name is announced. After 30 minutes or so, a Parsi lady called us to submit the documents. You have to submit only those documents listed in OF-230 Part 2 on 2nd page. No more or less.
She is an aged lady and tries to act smart. As i had Canadian Landed Immigrant status (and so i don't have a H1 visa stamp in the passport, just H1 approval is sufficient and I-94 alongwith it). So, she asked for the original H1 approval/extension. Then she said that our H1/H4 will be cancelled. She also checked our original Birth/Marriage certificates and affidavits. We didn't had our name mentioned in the BC, so had ONE affidavit from our parents. She also asked for my Canadian Police Clearance certificate. No Indian Police Clearance asked. Notarized employment letter for me and Notarized I-134 for my wife. Then she asked us to wait.
After about 30 minutes, an American gentlemen and an Indian Lady called us. Asked to raise our right hand and take an oath about truth. Then they asked if we knew english. The american consular officer asked Only 3 questions:
Which company you are working for?
How long?
Why do you want to leave Canada? - Better opportunities.

That's it. He cancelled our H1/H4 and I-94 in the passport by writing CWOP (Cancelled WithOut Prejudice) and asked us to pay the Visa Issuance Fees at the Cashier counter. The cashier gave us a receipt and asked to come back at 3:00 to collect the visa and passport from the Public Information Window in front of the consulate.

When going back to collect the passport/visa, stand in the line for Immigrants Only. They have 3 separate lines, so don't be scared by the line for non-immigrants.

There is nothing in the passport. A separate sealed envelope is given and an immigrant visa is attached on top of it. Just verify all your information like name-passport info. etc.

Stood in regular Non-Citizens line and the immigration officer asked for the passport and the envelope. We were carrying the sealed X-Rays all-along, but nobody asked for it. She opened the envelope and stamped the passport with Admitted until - Category - and wrote down the Alient Registration Number (A-Number). Then she asked us to go to a separate room to an immigration officer. He took our index fingerprint and asked to sign below it. That's it. Actually he was working overtime (on 31st Dec. and probably had to go to some New Year Eve's party and so was not at all friendly). But anyway, he stamped our passport with the I-551 stamp (which is equivalent to green card) valid until Dec 30, 2001.

That's it, my friends, Go for CP if you have the courage and compare the Risk and Time in AOS V/s CP. Actually, there is no risk, but most of the people going to India for stamping have some fear in the back of their mind, but this is not the case for Employment based CP cases.

Post your questions and i will try to answer for couple of weeks.

Good luck to all future CP'ers.
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Consular processing experienece, Guangzhou, China
I want to thank you for your web site information about consular processing. I had a visa interview in Guangzhou, China recently, and the whole process is very smooth, except for the unpleasant medical exam experience at The Health Care Center of Guangdong International Travel. My wife had her exam at The Health Care Center of Guangdong International Travel and I had my exam at the first hospital of Guanzhou medical university. The staff at The Health Care Center of Guangdong International Travel is very rude, and the whole place is very crowded. The cost for the exam at The Health Care Center of Guangdong International Travel is much more expensive than the cost at the first hospital of Guangzhou medical university, plus the so called fast processing at The Health Care Center of Guangdong International Travel is even slower than the normal cost at the first hospital of Guangzhou medical university. Anyway, I strongly recommend people go to the first hospital of Guangzhou medical university for the exam.

The consular interview was very easy and short. She just asked a couple of questions, such as where I graduated from at US, and how I met my wife.

My wife and I entered the port at New York (JFK), and the officials are very nice, no any questions at all. He just told us that it takes about 4 to 6 months to get the official Green Card.

Again, your information is very helpful. I would like to thank you sincerely, and hope my information is helpful for others.
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Successful CP @ Mumbai - Experience ..
Case Details:
You can find it in older threads on the CP discussion board.

I did my medicals at Lilavati. Had called them from US and taken appointment. "Rocky", the program manager at Lilavati, rocks!! We (me and my spouse) reached Lilavati OPD at 8:00 AM. Were asked to wait till 8:15 AM. Filled out a form asking medical history. It's a straight forward questionaire which helps them judge what to administer and what not. The last question was on whether you had suffered from Chicken Pox, etc. We answered yes to this question and hence did not have to take that vaccine. No proof was asked. We had to take two vaccines - MMR & Tetanus. If you produce proof that you had taken MMR within the past 10 years than you don't have to take it. We did Chest Xrays, then Blood Test, then Vaccines & lastly Physical Examination. Everything was routine with a few minutes wait between each. We were out by 11:00 AM. Went back between 4:00 & 4:30 PM to pick up the reports. You get 2 sealed envelopes each - one with the Xray and the other (which is more important) with the reports. Everything was normal for us. Please keep a buffer of few days between medicals and interview in case additional tests are recommended. Rocky Coelho, the program administrator at Lilavati is very professional and courteous, a rarity. Highly recommend Lilavati.

Appointment was at 9:30 AM. Reached Mumbai Consulate at 9:10 AM. Showed appointment letter to the security guards. Were asked to stand in the line that was to go into the consulate within 5 minutes. Were not allowed to go in directly. The guards think they are gift of god to mankind. Avoid confrontation and ignore them as long as you are not losing time. Went in at 9:20 AM. Paid application fees - one draft each for self and spouse - at the fees counter. Then collected reciept and waited in front of window numbers 10, 11 & 12. All three of these windows were processing IV cases - family based as well as employment based. Had to wait till around 11:00 AM. Called on window 12 for submitting forms and documents. Was greeted by a courteous young indian officer. First he asked for my (primary applicant) OF230PartI, OF230PartII, Copy of Birth certificate, Copy of Marriage certificate, Original (Notarized) Employment Letter. No degree certificates or educational records asked. Same for my wife, except that in her case he asked for the Original I-134 Affidavit of Support instead of the Employment Letter. My wife's Birth Certificate was in Gujrati, so we submitted copies of notarized translation into English. Surprisingly, no originals were asked or verified for either one of us. No other documents were asked. The only question asked was who my employer was. That's it, no other questions. Both of us were asked to change our addresses from US ones to the Indian one in OF230PartI. Then we were asked to sign it. I was asked to sign another paper which stated that I will come to US and work for my sponsor and notify them of any changes, etc. I submitted printed versions of the fillable forms from this site. Had hand-filled the forms received in Pkt 4 just in case.., but they were not asked for. The person chatted with us all the time in a friendly manner. He told us that our H1Bs will be cancelled since we will be getting our IVs. This was pleasantly surprising because we expected the interviewer (an american officer) to say this. This whole process took around 7 to 8 minutes. Then we were asked to wait for the interview. We were called to window number 9 for the interview at around 11:25 or so after a wait of 15 minutes. There were two officers at this window, an american lady officer and an indian (assisting) officer. The american lady asked us to raise our hands and take oath. Then she made us sign the OF230PartIIs. I saw her cancel our H1Bs with the Cancelled Without Prejudice stamp. The only question she asked us was where we lived in the US. We answered and she told us that we were granted IVs and that we should go and pay the issuance fee. We then paid one draft each for the issuance fee. Carefully retain the application fee and issuance fee receipts. We were called at 3:00 PM to collect out IVs. We got them at 4:30 PM.

There was a spelling mistake in my wife's name and so we had to go back the next day at 7:45 AM to counter number 9 for correction. For an hour or so in the morning, this counter seems to be functioning as the corrections counter. We submitted my wife's IV and were asked to collect it at 3:00 PM. They asked for an additional photo since the IV approval notice had to be recreated entirely. We got the corrected IV at 3:30 PM that afternoon. Highly recommend keeping a couple of days buffer after the interview day for any travel.

Documents Carried:
Everything recommneded in the CP section of this site.
Even though we weren't asked for any documents, I highly recommend carrying everything just in case...

POE was Newark. Stood in the Permanent Residents line. Had filled only the Customs form. No I-94 required. INS officer asked which company I worked for and for how long. Then he asked if I had any proof of my present employment. I told him that I had the H1B stamp in my passport, H1B approval notice, Paystubs, Company Letter. He didn't see anything. Just punched in something in the computer and asked us to go to the Secondary Inspections room. We were escorted by another assisting officer who took our passports, IV packet & customs form. We were asked to wait. Then after about 10 minutes or so an INS officer came in and spent a few minutes on our IV packet. He then called me to sign the I-551 form and took Index finger print on the form. Same for my wife. He confirmed whether the address on my IV was correct for sending the Green Cards. No questions or photos asked. He stamped our passports with the temporary 1 year validity Green Card stamp with Alien numbers on it. He told us that our cards would arrive in 8 to 9 months. He also informed us that the temporary stamp was as good as the permanent stamp and can be used for travel.
The whole process took about 20 to 25 minutes. We then calimed our baggage and cleared customs and entered US as Lawful Permanent Residents. What a feeling!!

I recommend CP if your case is clear without any complications and have all your paperwork in order.

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Completed CP At Mumbai
Completed CP At Mumbai

Hello all Potential Immigrants this site has been very informative from my I140 stage onwards and I will miss the hourly visits here, however, let me share my CP interview details that I completed last week by the grace of God. It was a simple process, I was extremely happy with the consulate staff and my attorney.

Pre Interview Preparation:
Did medical at Lilavati Hospital, very good people (1 day)
Took photos at My own studio (2 days)
Made 2 bank draft for me and my wife, 1 for processing and the other for visa issuance, Grindlays Bank (1 hour)

Pre Interview:
Reached the consulate an hour before the interview time
Went inside and paid the processing fees at counter 13, then was asked to be seated in front of counter 10 (Waiting time about 1 ½ hrs).
        At the counter submitted all the documents in the following sequence
1. Passport (Old and New)
2. Photos
3. Packet IV
4. Birth Certificate
5. Marriage Certificate
6. Employment Letter
For my wife all the documents and additional I-134 within packet IV
The document checker returned my old passport and took the rest of the documents and asked us to wait to be called for an interview.

Went into the booth, and was asked to raise our right hand to take the oath
Questions asked:
1. What do you work as?
2. Where do you work?
3. Name of you manager?
4. How many employees? He was a little taken by shock because the company has less than 8 employees.
5. Why did the company apply for your immigrant visa so quick? That question came up because he was looking at my new passport that had a new visa (extension) from May/2000. Therefore I showed him the old passport to prove that I am working for the same company for the past 31/2 years.
No additional documents were asked, other than the one submitted to the document collector.

POE was NYC, went to the non immigrant queue, submitted my documents and they asked me to go to the immigration room. There they took my fingerprints and stamped my passport with a 551 stamp.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have I will try to answer them all. One suggestion be calm and confident and don’t try to hide anything from the officer. Good luck to all future immigrants.
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Successful CP at Chennai!

When I was waiting for CP, I got benefited a lot by the messages posted here. I thought I will return the favor by posting my experience here. I have tried to capture all things I have remembered. Sorry, I will not have time to answer specific questions.

Here is our experience during the green card process at Chennai.

Case Details:

EB2 Category, Country of birth India, Country of citizenship Singapore
Labor Cert Application : Apr 23, 1998
I-140 Filed on: Mar 30, 1999
I-140 Approval Date : April 1st, 2000
Packet 3 Sent to Chennai: June 15th, 2000
Interview Date: August 23, 2000

The interview date was announced on Chennai web site around July 18th. The actual letter from embassy informing us about the appointment reached us in US on August 2nd. We called up Surima Medical from USA and fixed an appointment for August 9th morning. They asked us if we have appointment letter.

Medical Checkup

Went to Surima medical at 9 AM. The whole process took about 2.5 hours. The shots that we had taken US were considered invalid by the doctor (Suresh rao). So we had to take the shots again. My wife got a lady doctor to do the physical check up. X-Rays were taken as well. It takes 3 working days for the report to come. We asked our uncle in Madras to collect them and returned to Bangalore. The total cost for I and my wife was Rs. 7200.

Immigration Interview

Went there by 7.30 AM even though our appointment was at 8 AM. Since we had appointment letter, there is no need to wait in line. The security guards there act very smart. Initially they refused to allow us in because we had Singapore passport. When we reminded him again about our appointment letter where embassy had invited us, security guys could not say much. Then one of them moved on to our baby's diaper bag. He said we can not carry the diaper bag inside. He said we can keep the bag with tea shop fellow nearby. When we repeatedly explained why a baby would need diapers and milk for the 4 hours we stay there, he finally relented and let us in with the diaper bag.

Do not carry any bags at all. Put all your documents in plastic covers (One that you get in india when you buy sarees for example). They do not seem to have any problem with such plastic covers.
Many other guards along the way will see your appointment letter and passport and finally direct you to sit inside the office. All immigration visa seekers were asked to sit on the left most column in a 3 column of chairs. The final lady who did security check asked me to switch on my organizer and off just to make sure. It was about 7.50 when sat there in the office.

At 8.30 AM, folks were called to submit the documents one by one. An Indian guy collects the documents. As long as you have all docs mentioned in their letter you are OK. He asks you to pay the immigration visa fee at counter 1. He also gives you a token number. This token number will decide how soon will you get out of the embassy that morning. The guy was real nice. He even asked my wife go back immediately after signing because she was carrying the baby.

At 9.30 AM, all the names are called and people are collected and taken outside the building. We all wait for about 10 minutes. A white lady shows up, briefly explains the procedure and asks us to take a oath that all things that we say are true.

At 10 AM, people are called one by one in random order. We were called at 11.00 AM. Another Indian lady asked more questions about our papers. The company name change was an issue and she asked me to show some documentation about the name change.

At 12 AM, folks are called based on token number and advised to pay issuance fee. We were asked to come back in the afternoon to collect the passports. The job was done!

While you are waiting in the room, you can see some drinks, food, water etc. but there is no body to vend them to you. The only lady vendor they have is busy serving non immigrant folks outside the building. So if you need any thing, you must go outside the building (still inside the consulate premise) and get the food. They charge Rs 15 for water. Rs 30 for coke etc.

At 4 PM, enter the embassy through same security gate as in the morning. In our case, we were made to wait till 5.05 PM. It is not necessary for all in the family to go. Only one is sufficient. Make sure to take your receipt for visa issuance fee. They give your passports back with your non immigrant visa cancelled. They also give you sealed brown envelope that you are supposed to take with you to US immigration.

Arrival in USA

Come through "New Immigrants" line. There will be hardly anybody in that line. They take your brown envelope, open it up, take your thumb print. They also take your passport somewhere else to do some checks. Finally, they will put a 551 stamp on your passport which is valid for 1 year. The guy was very nice to us. He said that real green card will arrive in 2 to 3 months. He also asked us to visit social security department. He asked us how long the whole process took us and told that Consular processing is really the way to go and tell my friends to do the same as that is much faster.
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CP experience in Mumbai
I had a successful interview yesterday [AUG25] in Mumbai. Needless to say that immihelp has done an extremely good job in providing info on CP. Here's my suggestions/comments based on my experience:

1. Hinduja needed a photograph [per person] and a photocopy of first few pages of the passport for the medical exams.
2. If you wear a prescription lens and if you are planning to take photo from US, have your photo done without glasses. There is a photographer inside the consulate across from the interview windows. Just have your photographs taken there as he charges 150 RS for 5 photo and there is no line for it.
3. You can carry a [big] plastic bag to carry your files, just don't carry an obvious hand bag.
4. If you have a child(s), it is better to have someone take care of him/her/them as it is quite boring for a child to wait in the consulate. I had mine with me and it was not a great problem as security guards there were entertaining him!
5. Mine was an SII case. If yours is like mine, make sure you carry a letter by current company stating that it has taken over your X-company. My X-company's one portion went to my current company and the other portion went to another company.
6. Carry atleast 2 copies of everything as the consulate likes to see and keep photocopies and not the originals.

My interview time was 9:30 AM. I was at the consulate at 8:50 AM, got inside by 9:00, was asked to pay visa fee at window 13 or 14, did that and waited in the waiting area till 12:30 PM [when my name was called for submitting papers]! They call your name randomly. Since one has to wait atleast 2 hours, i suggested earlier to get the photos done inside the consule. I submitted my papers to an indian guy [very nice guy]. He saw my 230 form and asked 'so you work for "x" company?' I said 'actaully i work for "y" company'. He asked 'oh so X is owned by Y?' I said 'ya'. He asked me if I had anything which mentions that and I presented him the SII letter from my current company. He asked my get new photos from the photographer across. He was smiley and very friendly. He then asked me to wait until my name is called for the interview. In 10 minutes, i was called. It was over before I knew and I asked the consul [vice consul @ mumbai], so am I done? she said yes! She was straight forward and nice. I was out by 1:05 PM.
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