Experience: H1B Visa Stamping in Delhi and Port of Entry at Boston

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Following H1B Stamping in Delhi 2013 is shared by Vishal along with port of Entry Experience at Boston.

What I don’t like about the new process is now you need 2 appointments on 2 separate days.

I was thinking that if you have your fingerprints on file you won’t need biometric appointment, but I was obviously wrong. You need a biometrics appointment as they don’t accept photos provided by you anymore, they fingerprint you and take your photo for the visa.

The good thing is now you don’t pay for the courier fee if you are picking up your visa yourself.  I got the fingerprinting done on 2/6/2013. No bags allowed, cell phones are OK.

I went for H1B renewal interview at the New Delhi US Consulate on 2/7/2013.

I have changed employers but both my old employer and new employer are American startups and I am a full time employee so there is no vendor involved (obviously no client letter, no project letter, no timesheets etc).

Info: Delhi Consulate has safe deposit for cellphones.

The VO had rejected 3-4 B1 candidates ahead of me and I felt a little nervous. I felt better when he approved a H1 and a H4. (I know that as they have different tokens for different visas for example H1 tokens were A).

H1B Stamping in Delhi Interview

Me: Good morning officer.

VO: Good morning, how are you?
Me: I am good, yourself?

VO: Not bad.
VO: Where is located.

Me: Lincoln Mass
VO: Massachusetts
Me: Yes

VO: Why did you change job?
Me: My previous employer was outsourcing to Ukraine so I had to change my job

Typed some stuff on computer for a few seconds:

VO: Your visa is approved.

I got the email the same evening that the documents were available for pickup.

POE (Boston Logan):

Me: Good evening officer, how are you?
IO: Good evening. I am good.
Me: What a relief to be back home.

IO: I know, how was your trip? Howz everyone in India?
Me: Well, trip was good, everyone is fine, though my throat got screwed up by the pollution.

IO: Ah. Feel good to be back?
Me: Yeah, feels so great.

IO: You said yes to food in your customs form?
Me: Yea, I got some snacks and desserts from my cousin’s wedding in India

IO: I hear weddings in India are quite something
Me: With like 50 appetizers, 100 entrees and 50 desserts, its quite a show, though I am not sure if I like the idea.

IO: . Welcome home.
Me: Have a good one.

IO: You too.

Off to collect my bags.

Afterthoughts:

Visa interview has its fair (more than fair) share of risk but if you have all the right documents and answer confidently, you stand a good chance.

I saw some people fumble with their answers and had to explain the answers 3 times.

For example the first family I saw getting rejected (for B1) could not properly explain what they did in India.The visa officer asked them 3 times about their business and and finally said, I am sorry you don’t qualify.

Tip: Spend some time on your answers to ensure that you are speaking words that Americans understand.

If you can’t explain your financial condition (for all visas except H/L), you are in dead waters. The VOs don’t understand words like marriage halls.

I know this sounds silly, but I personally witnessed 2 rejected applications because of this in a span of just 15 minutes and 5 visa applications.

Next – H1B Visa Stamping Experience Chennai Dec 2012

7 Comments

  1. Deepika on February 22, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Hi Vishal,
    It seems you are in U.S. for a long time now(got this feeling after reading your experience above).I am into a situation wherein I haven’t seen or heard anybody is.I on L2 visa and visa is expiring april 2013 ,I – 94 valid till Apr 2015 & my EAD(Employment Authorization doc) valid till dec 2014 . Now Some ppl say I am not authorized to work after apr 2013 as I would not have any visa status….but on the contrary I have my EAD till dec 2014.Also , I am looking for H1B sponsorship….but some ppl say that my H1B cannot be processed from U.S,for this I have to go to India(like it is done for Indians when they have to travel to U.S. for the 1st time).I am really confused and also unable to decide with whom I should align myself for H1B…with vendors/MNC’s like HCL,Wipro,TCS etc./American companies.Will I be able to get my H1B or not?
    Regards,
    Deepika

    • vish on February 25, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      Hey,

      I am assuming when you say your visa is valid upto April, 2013, you mean the stamping. Stamping doesn’t matter as long as you stay in the USA. You can work as long as your EAD is valid and the L1 holder (your husband) has valid L1 status. I-94 only states the last day you can stay in the USA.

      You are good to work thru dec 2014 as long as your husband stays employed on same L1 job.

      As for H1B, if this is your first H1B, you may be declined change of status from L2 to H1B and may have to go to India for stamping (first time H1B stamping must be done in home country only)

      • vish on February 25, 2013 at 12:47 PM

        To clarify, your H1B petition can be approved while you are in US, but you will have to go to India for stamping so that you can enter with H1B status. you may not get COS from L2 to H1B

      • AB on February 25, 2013 at 4:39 PM

        Vish,
        It is a myth that first time h-1b stamp must be done in home country. I received my first h-1b stamp in Paris. My friend was also very nervous about this, but he learned from my experience and went to Calgary in Canada, where he received his h-1b stamp.

    • AB on February 25, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      Deepika,
      here is how it works.

      1) Dont worry about your stamp. It is irrelevant unless you exit US and try to re-enter.

      2) Your I-94 is valid till Apr 2015, so you can live in US till Apr 2015.

      3) Your EAD is valid till 2014, so you can work till Dec 2014. After that, you can sit at home till Apr 2015.

      AB

      • vish on February 27, 2013 at 11:11 AM

        The stamp is highly relevant unless USCIS grants her COS and USCIS has been known to decline L2-H1B COS recently.

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