Saturday, September 09, 2006

H1B Visa Stamping Experience

I got my H1B visa stamped yesterday (8th Sept, 2006) at USA Consulate in Chennai, India. My appointment time was 8am in the morning but i was allowed in at 7am itself. Then i was asked to wait for my turn in a seated queue in the first building where the documents are verified before you are asked to proceed to the next building (where the actual visa interview happens). At about 7.30 i was asked to stand in the queue of the first building when all people who had their appointment at 8am where asked to stand in the queue. Here they verified the documents and matched the barcode on the visa fee receipt with the passport number as mentioned in their system and finally they took one barcode sticker from the yellow receipt and pasted it on the back of my passport. They also put one form which reflected at what stage i was in, in my visa stamping process (ie docs verified, finger printed, visa approved). Once the docs verification was done we were being asked to go to the next building. There again we had a queue outside the building. I waited in the queue for some 10mins and then a security personnel allowed us in based on our visa appointment time. Once in, two ladies were coordinating the seating of ppl asking them to keeping moving in a seated queue. First, one of them asked us to stand in the queue for being finger printed. This counter was in the center of the hall. First the left and then the right index fingers were scanned and this record was stored against our passport details (as the lady on the counter took first the passport and then asked to put the finger on the scanner). OK, hereafter, i was in another queue waiting for my turn for the final visa stamping interview. The guy just before me was from TCS and he got a 221(g). His was an L1 case. I saw a few oft repeated questions to L1/H1B:
1. What is the project on which you will be working in the USA?
2. Whether you will be working at the client site or in your company's USA office? If you said client site, then you may be asked to present the client invitation letter and probably if the client is lesser known name then some photographs of the client and probably its annual revenue etc.
3. Why have you been chosen to go to USA for this project (why not someone else from your company)? Basically i think they want to know how your skills map to the requirements of the project and how confidently can you state them.
4. Your academic qualifications? If you are not a comp. sci. graduate then probably you will be asked to tell where/how you learnt software development skills.

The communication skills matter alot. Some ppl i saw were asked something and they answered something else, and this irritated the VO. Note: The VO has a very short time span to gauge you and so you should give all positive signs about you (especially so by communicating well - ie speak good english). As they say, if you have the right skills then it shows by the way you talk.

My visa interview was brief (lasted 1min or so). The questions asked were the following:
1. Which project was i going to work on in USA?
2. What client?
3. What is my academic qualification?
4. Since i am a non comp. sci grad (a BE in electronics) she then asked me how i learnt software development skills. (any training etc). I said i am working for the past 7yrs in the industry (so most of the skills were acquired on the job plus i had a post graduate diploma from National center for software tech).

Thats all! I hope this post is useful to you. May you have a good experience in your visa interview as i had :).

1 comment:

Siddiq said...

thanks for the post... i think its helpful for the new ppl