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Thursday, November 19, 2015

My experience while applying B1 VISA

15 days ago, I got a chance to apply for US B1 VISA from my current company (Wipro Technologies). Obviously, I was happy for that and I immediately completed all the formalities required for this. To apply B1 VISA, we mainly need 4 documents:
  1. Your original passport (current and all previous passports).
  2. DS-160 form which can be filled online (https://ceac.state.gov/genniv). We only need the printout of the DS-160 confirmation page.
  3. Client Invitation Letter which should come from your client in US:
    • Should be written in client’s Letter Head (not your company’s letter head).
    • Should be an individual letter, mentioning your name only, not a group invitation.
    • Duration of your stay (preferably 3 weeks) should be mentioned.
    • Weekly agenda of your visit. Please make sure, not to mention any words like “Work, Duty, Roles, Responsibility, Salary, Compensation” etc. Your agenda should clearly reflect that you are going for Business purpose or meetings, not for employment.
  4. Appointment confirmation letter with US embassy from your employer.
Apart from these things, you may have other formalities depending upon company to company such as additional trainings and mock session etc. After few days you will get the appointment confirmation from your company. It has two parts:
  1. OFC appointment: They will take your snap, fingerprints and stamp your DS-160 form as confirmation and stick a biometric confirmation code on your passport.
  2. Consular appointment: You have to go to US embassy for interview along with stamped DS-160 form and passport with biometric confirmation code.

Everything was absolutely fine until I got my OFC (16.11.2015) and Consular (17.11.2015) appointments. I don’t know what happened but I became so nervous. I already knew everything what’s going to be happen and what all questions will be asked but still I was eagerly waiting for my appointment date. Not because I will get the VISA, but because I wanted to get rid of my nervousness.

Finally 16th November arrived and I went to the Hyderabad OFC center. First the associates checked my passport, DS-160 form and appointment confirmation letter. After that I went inside for security check and then they stick biometric confirmation code on my passport. They have given me a token and send me inside to wait for the fingerprint. I didn’t have to wait for so long and my turn arrived. I went to the respective counter where the officer (Indian) asked my purpose of visit. After that he took my photo and fingerprints (both hands). Finally he stamped my DS-160 form and I was done for the day. The entire process took around 30 minutes.

When I came back, I became more nervous for the next day interview. I did everything to prepare well. I did mock session in front of mirror again after again which made me confident but equally worried. I didn’t know what will happen tomorrow? I was so nervous that I couldn’t sleep even for a minute. Just imagine, next day I have to go for VISA interview where I have to look fresh and energetic, but I woke up entire night. Every second was like hell for me. Still I don’t understand what happened to me. I never ever faced such a feeling in my entire life even in worst scenario. 

Well, the big day came. On 17th morning 8:00:00 AM I took a cab and reached the US consulate Hyderabad by 08:30:00. My appointment was at 10:00:00 AM. I thought what will do for next 90 minutes but fortunately I came to know that they have started the entry from 08:00:00 AM. I joined the queue and they checked my passport and DS-160 form. After 30 minutes, I was inside the US consulate.

There they asked me to wait and then given a small container to pullout everything (wallet, belt, watch, hanky) including my documents. I didn’t carry my phone as it’s not allowed inside. After security check, I went inside and they again asked me to wait. Around 30 minutes later, they told me to go to a counter where they again took my fingerprint and matched it with my previously given fingerprints in OFC. After that they asked me to wait in a waiting area for the final interview. After 30 minutes of wait, they have given me a token of counter no 11 and I was finally reached at the interview section.

I was the 7th person in the queue and was trying my best, not to concentrate what’s going on to other people but that was impossible. Six people before me got VISA rejection back to back and I can’t explain my state of mind that time. I was completely hopeless but I revived myself and finally reached the counter.

Nilabh: Hi, good morning.

Interviewer: Very good morning. How are you doing?

Nilabh: I am good. How about you?

Interviewer: I am doing well. Thank you! So you are Mr. Nilabh?

Nilabh: Yes

Interviewer: You work as Sr. Administrator in Wipro?

Nilabh: yes

Interviewer: How long you will stay there?

Nilabh: 3 weeks

Interviewer: Your purpose of visit?

Nilabh: I have to meet few stakeholders to discuss the upcoming IT plans.

Interviewer: What kind of IT plans?

Nilabh: Actually my client “ABC” has acquired a company “XYZ” and they are planning to merge their IT infrastructure. I have to meet few application owners to discuss how we can do it from offshore, Hyderabad.

Interviewer: Congratulations! Your VISA is approved.

Nilabh: Thanks a lot!

The interview last hardly for 30 seconds. After that I didn’t see anything and immediately came out of the consulate. I hold my breath for few seconds and realized that my passport is not with me because my VISA is approved. And you can imagine the very next thing which I would have been done. Yes you are right, I went to sleep.

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