h1b visa stamping interview experiences february 2021 us embassy

H1B Visa Interview Experiences – February 2021

Follow this post about H1B Visa Interview Experiences in February 2021.

1. H1B Interview Experience: US Consulate Mumbai

  • H1B Visa approved: June 16, 2020
  • Received notice: I-797A (COS)
  • Appointment: Booked on Sept 30, 2020
  • Interview Date: March 1, 2021
  • Travel: Left USA on Nov 2, 2020 (that is why I am exempted from PP 10052)
  • Appointment canceled: Jan 12, 2021
  • Then Reschedule appointment twice
  • Biometric appointment: Feb 2, 2021
  • No question asked. They took only 5 minutes and went smoothly.
  • Consulate interview: Feb 3, 2021

I was allowed earlier than the scheduled time. I waited around 1 hour 15 mins before attending the interview.

VO: Who is your employer?
VO: How long have you been working with them?
VO: Have you used your OPT?
VO: Previous employer?
VO: Please give a brief explanation on what job duties you are getting with this employer which different than your previous employer!
VO: Annual Salary?
VO: Were you in USA on June 22, 2020? (Yes, most of 2020 I was in the US)
VO: Resident address in US

She was typing most of the time during interview.

VO looking into her display and waited for 2-3 mins and then Visa is approved. You can collect your passport once you get an email from embassy!

She asked me after approval what is the intended date of Arrival In USA. And she explained for covid testing and quarantine protocols before entering in US.


2. H1B (COS) Interview Experience: US Consulate Kolkata

  • VAC: Kolkata
  • Appointment scheduled on 25th Jan 2021 (Regular appointment)
  • OFC Appointment: 02nd Feb, 2021
  • VAC Appointment: 03rd Feb 2021

The H1B Visa interview lasted for about 5 minutes.

Lasted for 5 mins (at most)

I handed over I797-A forms, passport (no other document asked).

I was asked about the company name, role, how long I am working for this company, what is the highest degree, when did I arrive in India, how long have I been in the US, when did I graduate, did I do any job before the current one, marital status, will I be traveling alone?

VO informed about the new travel restrictions imposed in the US and should take a COVID test 3 days before travel. Then VO told me that Visa is approved.


3. H1B Interview: US Consulate in Hyderabad

  • OFC: Jan 28th
  • Location: Hyderabad
  • Interview: Feb 5th
  • Location: Hyderabad

It was a normal appointment, not an emergency.
Questions asked:

  1. How long have you been working with your employer?
  2. Please provide me your employer stamping letter?
  3. Who is your end client? And how long you have been working with this xxx client?
  4. When did your opt expired?
  5. What is your highest education qualifications?
  6. Why are you doing your Ph.D. and what is your interest area in which you are planning to be a specialist?
  7. What is your salary?
  8. Were you out of your visa status anytime?
  9. Where are you staying in the USA?

4. H1B Visa Interview – US Consulate Delhi

H1B visa – Change of status – First time visa stamping.

H1B lottery picked in 2020 (Change of status)

H1B work location amendment for remote work due to pandemic – approved in Sept 2020
Previous visa status – F1 OPT

I booked normal visa appointment on Jan 20th 2021 for Feb 7th and 8th, 2021 in New Delhi.

  • Filled in the Air Suvidha self reporting form first.
  • Got negative RT PCR report from a local state testing center on 4th Feb 2021.

Used the self-reporting form id to fill in the quarantine exemption form on the Air Suvidha website and uploaded my test report.

At first, my exemption was rejected for not having doctors sign and stamp on the report. I submitted the exemption form again with the same report and it got approved.

Pro Tip: Try to submit the form multiple times if it gets rejected. Trust me, it is much easier to travel with an approved exemption at the New Delhi airport.

I flew via United airlines to New Delhi directly on 5th Feb 2021 to reach on 6th Feb 2021.

Again, I avoided all the hassle by having my exemption approved. Didn’t fill in any forms on the flight or at any airport.

  • VAC – Feb 07, 2021
  • Scheduled time – 1:30 pm
  • Reached at 12:30 and allowed to enter at 1 pm.

Fairly simple 10 minutes process. They validated my DS 160 first page, visa appointment, and passport. No need to carry any other documents.

For New Delhi VAC only: Do not carry any electronic devices to the center, cell phones are allowed when switched off. There is no locker to store your stuff.

  • Interview – Feb 08, 2021
  • Scheduled time – 11:30pm
  • Reached at 9:30 pm and allowed to enter at 10:30 pm.
  • For New Delhi US embassy: There is provision for the locker.

There were a huge line of F1 and B1/B2 visas. I had to wait for about 2 hours to get to the interview window.

Me: Hey, Good Morning!
VO: Good Morning. VO asked for the passport. Scanned it and then asked for I797 forms. Then she verified the details.
VO: How long have you been working for the employer?
VO: what is your work location?
Me: I said about my permanent work location first and then spoke about the temporary remote work address and also mentioned the amendment.
VO: What is your highest degree and from where?
VO: when did you come to India?
VO: where were you in 2020?
VO: Tell me about your roles and responsibilities? Asked for an Employment verification letter.
VO: congratulations, we have issued your visa. You can collect your passport in a week.


I hope this answers all the questions. If not, then I am happy to answer any questions.

5. H1B Visa Interview – US Consulate in Chennai

Experience shared by Chandra.

My H1B got picked up and approved back in 2019, but for several reasons I couldn’t be able to visit India until now.

My case was still active in CEAC for several days I wanted to first visit India at the end of 2019.

All I did was to write up a new DS160 as my location changed (same company, full time, different branch) with my new I-797A details, etc. Then I updated my profile on the TravelDocs website with a new DS160 number. Didn’t have to pay any fee of $190.

  • Arrived: Feb 6th (SFO-Delhi-Vijayawada)
  • VAC: Feb 8th (Chennai)
  • Interview: Feb 9th (Chennai)

H1B Visa Interview was scheduled for 10:30 AM, I arrived there by 10 AM. Surprisingly, I was the only one there inside and outside the consulate. I was told I am the last one. Didn’t exactly know what they meant. The interview started at 10:10 AM.

VO asked for passport followed by below questions.

  • Name of the company and what we do.
  • Where am I working, and is it a client location?
  • Who are our biggest clients?
  • Did you work in opt before? If so, how long?
  • What’s your salary?
  • Where is Aptos, and name your favorite restaurant there?
  • Asked about my cooking skills, my favorites, and how to make Dosa. Joked about his sensitive palate. Lol
  • Marital status and asked if my mom is looking for a match for me. (Idk, This question scared me, and all I managed to pull off was a nervous laugh. Lol)
  • VO asked if I was in the USA before June 2020.

H1B Visa approved.

VO didn’t ask for any other documents except for the passport. Asked me to get tested for Covid-19 before I board the flight back.

Overall, it was pretty smooth. The interview didn’t last more than 10 minutes. I reached hotel before 10:30AM which is actually my visa appointment time.

I advise you all to be prepared with every document irrespective of what they ask you to produce as proof.

Important note: Those who are arriving in Delhi, please get an exemption from Air Suvidha and also fill the declaration form.

We were asked to show them 4 times at Delhi airport. An RT-PCR test 72 hours before departure is necessary for this.

Also, if you have a connecting flight to another city within 2-3 hours, you better run fast.

You’ve got to get stamped on your passport first as this is the first port of entry.
Then pick up your checked in luggage (you’re lucky if they don’t use the same belt for two separate flights. Yes, it happened). And now, you have to go through the domestic airport security scanning. They do it SLOW.

They don’t give a damn about your flight. Now you enter the domestic check-in counter and you know the rest. And again they can go slow as well. You think that’s it? But no. The domestic terminals are far from there. You start running again.

6. H1B Stamping – US Consulate in Hyderabad

Anusha shared her H-1B visa interview experience.

  • Type: First time and Regular slot
  • Biometric – February 10 (1:30 pm)
  • Interview – February 16 (9:15 am)
  • Location – Hyderabad

I came out at 10:00 am after completing the interview. So, it took less than an hour in the Consulate.

Questions asked:

The VO was very cool.

  • What are you here for?
  • Where will you be returning to?
  • Who do you work for?
  • What’s your job role?
  • What are your duties?
  • When was your H1 approved?
  • When did you start working for your employer?
  • Were you on F1 when you started working with this employer?
  • What’s your highest level of education.
  • When did you come to India?
  • What’s your salary?

He took my finger prints and said your visa is issued!

He did not ask my H1B approval notice (I-797), verification letter or client letter.


7. H1B Visa Stamping – US Consulate in Delhi

Aneesha’s H1B Visa experience at Delhi consulate

Visa Type: H1B
Lottery picked in ’20
I was present in US in June ’20
Change of Status happened in October ’20 from F1-OPT to H1B
Appointment dates 14th and 17th Feb ‘21
Traveled to Delhi on Feb 11, ’21 by United Airlines.
Company is not a part of any plaintiff organizations.

OFC – 14 Feb ’21 (Delhi)
Documents required during OFC: DS-160 confirmation page and appointment confirmation. OFC process was done in 5 minutes.

H1B Visa Interview – 17 Feb ’21 (Delhi)

Documents asked by VO : Passport and i797.

Questions asked :

  • When did you land in India?
  • Which company do you work for?
  • When did you start working here?
  • What are your roles and responsibilities?
  • Were you in the USA for the whole of 2020 or did you travel outside to any other country?
  • Asked to give fingerprints. Then H1B Visa approved.

8. H1B Stamping – US Consulate in Kolkata

F1 To H1 First time stamping by Prakash.

Feb 10th: Covid test in CVS
Feb 11th: Applied for an exemption in Delhi Airport and Got approved

Feb 12th: Landed in Delhi Airport
Feb 15: OFC was in Kolkatta Embassy
Feb 19: Consular interview, Below is the summary of questions asked:

VO: Good Morning, How are you?
Me: Greeted Back
VO: Is this is the first time going to the US?
Me: No I went the first time in 2015
VO: Are you working on this XYZ company?
Me: Yes
VO: What you do at XYZ Company?
Me: Briefly explained the responsibilities.
VO: What location you are working in?
Me: Mentioned my work location.
VO: Congrats your H1B Visa is approved.


It went very smooth only asked I797 and Passport


9. H1B Stamping – US Consulate in Mumbai

First time H1B stamping experience Mumbai. Shared by Ali.

  • Oct 2020 – COS
  • Feb 11 – Traveled to India
  • Feb 14th – OFC – pretty simple fingerprints and the photo taken which appears on your visa stamp
  • Feb 17 – Consular appointment
  • Feb 18 – Passport ready for pick up

Took me 25 mins in and out. For Mumbai, this is in a building different from the consulate)

I don’t want to write the same questions that others have posted but only the important one being where was I on June 22, 2020. (I was working in the US)

Everything else was related to work and role. Most interviews didn’t last more than 4-5 mins.

So the big question that I always had was that will I be exempted and that is now answered.

My company is NOT a part of any plaintiff or whatever. I was exempted only because I was working in US on June 22, 2020.

I met several other people on the day who all were in the same boat. So I don’t know about other situations, but if you were in the US in June 2020 and you are worrying if you’d be exempted then I can tell you that I didn’t fall under any other exemption categories and if you were in the US on June 22, 2020, and working, you shall be exempted too.

Body temperature is checked but no COVID test results required and doesn’t matter when you landed.

Yes, my visa stamp says exempted from proclamation.

My appointment time was 8.50am. They let us in at 8.30 and I exited the building at 9.55. So about 1hr 25mins for the whole process.

They don’t allow electronics inside and locker is like 500rs or so for both buildings on both days.

Passport pick up tip:

A “xerox copy” of a government-issued id and its original is required to pick up the passport. I used my Indian driver’s license. Aadhar card works too. They keep the xerox copy for their records.

I’d be happy to give more clarification and answer any questions related to my case but I would have no clue about other scenarios and my guess would be as good as anyone else’s. Cheers!

10. H1B Visa Interview – US Consulate in Hyderabad

First time H1B stamping experience Hyderabad. Shared by Aditya.

  • H1B picked in August 2020 (Second Lottery)
  • H1B approved in September 2020 (Premium Processing)
  • Status changed from F-1 to H1B October 1st, 2020.

I was present in the USA as of June 22nd, 2020 when the H1B ban was placed therefore I am exempt from P.P 10052

  • Arrived in India on October 18th, 2020
  • VAC: February 7th, 2021
  • OFC: February 19th, 2021 (9:30 am)

OFC Experience

Me: Good Morning officer
VO: Morning, pass your passport and DS160 confirmation.
Me: Passed.
VO: Where do you work?
Me: Answered
VO: What’s your Annual Salary?
Me: Answered
VO: What’s your designation?
Me: Answered
VO: How long have you been working there?
Me: 1.5 years

VO: So did you go to school in the US?
Me: Yes, told university name
VO: When did you graduate?
Me: May 2019
VO: So you were on OPT after that?
Me: Yes
VO: When did your status change from F-1 to H1B?
Me: My status changed to H1B as of Oct 1st, 2020
VO: When did you come to India?
Me: October 18th, 2020
VO: Before that when was the last time you visited India?
Me: December 2019.

*VO was probably trying to check if I was in the US as of June 22nd, 2020*

VO: Okay, *types something on his computer for 2 minutes*
VO: Can you place your right hand on the fingerprint scanner?
Me: Done
VO: Your visa is approved, drop your passport in the box!
Me: Thank you, have a good day!

Entire process at the Embassy was really smooth and took about an hour to complete. Sharing my experience as it can help some of you who are in the same boat. Good luck everyone!

11. H1B Stamping – US Consulate in Kolkata

Shubhangi shared her H-1B visa interview experience.

  • Type: First-time H1B Stamping
  • Biometrics (OFC) Appointment in Kolkata- Feb 15
  • Visa Interview Appointment in Delhi- Feb 18

This was converted from F1 to H1B in Oct 2020. I was exempt from PP 10052

Documents Carried
DS-160, Appointment Confirmation, I-797A, Passport, All my I20s, Copy of my H1B petition, Last 2 Paystubs, Employment verification letter, Copies of education documents (degree and transcript).

Questions Asked:

When did you graduate from?
What do you work as?
How much do you make monthly/annually?
When were you last in the USA? How long were you there?
Can I see your I-797?
Visa approved! Collect it in a week.

Some other info that might be useful for others-

For biometrics, I went 15 minutes before time and it took barely 20 minutes. For this, the only documents really needed were my passport, I797, DS160, and appointment confirmation. They allowed me to keep my phone as long as I switched it off.
For my interview, I got to the embassy 1 hour ahead of time. I went through security and had to check in my phone. Thankfully they had a kiosk right at the front of check-in which the security pointed me to. I got through the whole process, including the actual interview, in 20 minutes.

12. H1B Stamping – US Consulate in Chennai

First time H1B stamping experience in Chennai. Shared by Aravind.

  • VAC and Interview: Feb 22 and Feb 24
  • EWR -> Delhi -> Chennai: Feb 19

Few pointers on the travel and Covid-19 test:
1. Self-reporting form is being checked in the port of departure. You won’t be able to check-in online as you have to show your self-reporting form. A ‘ Doc OK’ seal is punched on your boarding pass based on that at the gate.
2. If you have an exemption approved form by the time you start, it makes your life much easier in Delhi airport. There are at least four checkpoints in the airport where they ask you for this and having the exemption form approved lets you pass the queue easily.
3. For entering Chennai ( Tamil Nadu), an e-pass is required. However it was not checked for me, but I heard there could be random checks.
4. When taking a covid test within 72 hours of departure, do not rely on one test. Try to take at least two, so that you get one on time. I took one from Walgreens and one from pixel by LabCorp, I only received the pixel one on time. Walgreens delayed by a week due to weather conditions.
PS: Keep a tab on the Air Suvidha website as the rules keep changing

VAC
This was pretty straightforward. Go 30 mins earlier from your schedule and you will be allowed inside.
-Mobile phone Is allowed for biometrics as long as it is switched off
-They just ask for DS160, Appointment Confirmation, and Passport.
-Biometrics was taken and stamped on DS 160.

Visa Interview
Mobile phones, Keys, Sanitizers, watches were not allowed. I was allowed 45 minutes before my appointment time, the crowd was relatively less. I was able to come out in 30 – 40 minutes. The questions were pretty standard-

  • Job Duties
  • Work location
  • Inhouse/Client
  • Salary
  • Date of joining
  • Highest degree
  • When you go back to the USA, will you be complying with quarantine rules?

A big Thanks and Shutout to this group for helping me and everyone who are planning their trip!

13. H1B Stamping – US Consulate in Hyderabad

First time H1B stamping experience Hyderabad. Shared by Sindhu-

  • Appointment Type: Regular
  • Moved to India: March 11, 2020. (OPTX EAD got expired and resigned)
    Employer(full time) sponsored for FY2021 and it got approved in September for 3 years. (I didn’t work for the company after coming back to India, they filed for New Employment Consular processing)Took a chance despite the ban and scheduled appointments on 21st January 2021.
  • Biometrics: 12th February
  • Consular Interview: 19th February

Questions:

VO: Name of company?
VO: Salary?
VO: Asked for I-797 notice.
– Showed the I-797B (New Employment as it was consular processing).
VO: Were you in the US on 24th June?
– No
VO: When did you come back to India?
– 11th March
VO: (Left the desk for a minute)
VO: Does your company belong to a critical infrastructure structure?
– No
VO: Asked for an employment verification letter.
VO: Why do you think you are fit for this job?
– I have the necessary skills and also worked for almost 3 years.
VO: Are you aware of the PP. 10052?
– Yes
VO: Picked up the 212f form saying I need to come back after the ban is lifted and I need to talk to my immigration attorney.
– I have already spoken to my attorney. As I have a Master’s degree and going back to the same employer and position, I was told I might be exempt from the ban.VO left the desk.
VO: Took back the 212f and asked for my passport.
– Thanked VO and I couldn’t be happier.


My case is a typical one but hope this post could help at least a few.

Do you want to share you experience?

You can post in this Facebook Group, we will move it to this site.

Read: H1B Visa Interview Experience in January 2021

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  1. 1. Could you please share sample letter for employment verification, what all important information should it contain ?
    2. I am in United States all 2020, should I carry any proclamation clearance letter from chamber of commerce.