This post comes in a little abruptly as I thought this would be worth (helpful) sharing. There still are few posts in the pipeline, but this one takes precedence over all. You would have got an idea about the post after reading the title. Yes, sharing my US B1 Visa interview experience at Hyderabad. What was the result ? Well, I’m a blogger, so you would need to read this post till the end. To know more about the US B Visa, check this out.
PS: There are no photos of the process and the only photos here are for representation as no cameras were allowed at the premises.
The US Business VISA B1 Process
My Visa was raised by the company and everything was taken care of. I just had to visit for biometrics submission along with the interview process at the consulate. I did have to fill out the DS160 form that is required for a Non Immigrant Business/Tourist VISA. Once that was done, the documents were submitted to my employer who did the rest and scheduled the appointments and gave me the dates.
Visit to the Offshore Facilitation Center – OFC
The entire VISA process is a two stage process – first you need to visit the Offshore Facilitation Center followed by the actual interview at the consulate. Both the appointments could be scheduled either on the same day or different days. In my case it was scheduled on two different days. The details about the OFC will be provided when you are booking the appointment. Note that the OFC is managed by Indian nationals and you won’t find any US national there. The OFC in Hyderabad is located near the Passport Seva Kendra in Begumpet. The lane next to Rasoolpura Metro Station, Airtel Building. (Map below) There is a queue outside the building itself and the security guards are helpful. My interview as at 3pm and I was allowed to enter the OFC at 2:45pm.
The OFC is a small and congested place. The security will scan the barcode on your DS160 confirmation and verify your appointment confirmation sheet. Once in, you will be frisked (just like the airport) Post that at the next counter, your passport will be affixed with a sticker with a barcode. You need to keep this on until the entire VISA process is over. You will then be provided a token (just like a normal bank) and you need to wait for your turn. The token numbers and the counter numbers are displayed on the TV screen.
Once at the counter, the person would take the DS160 and the passport. They will also ask your name and date of birth for verification. Post that you need to submit your biometrics – all fingers and thumbs. Your photo will also be taken here. If you wear spectacles (like me) you need to remove them. They use the famous Canon Rebel T3i camera for photos 😉 After this, you DS160 form and the Passport will be returned. You need to take these documents only for the interview.
US B1 Business Visa Interview Experience Hydeabad
My OFC appointment and the consulate interview dates were on two different days. After the OFC visit, I appeared for the consulate interview the next day morning at 10. The consulate is on the same road, and you can spot it easily. They will again scan the barcode on your DS160 and let you in. Once inside, there’s a security area. Here you’ll put everything you have including belts for men in the tray. It will go through screening and any sealed envelope will be taken off it. So make sure you don’t have anything.
Inside, I’d say it’s pretty well-organized. We were asked to sit for a while before we went to a verification queue. The passports were taken and we all went to a counter and re-verified the fingerprints and then proceeded to the waiting area. Few folks had some issue with the fingerprints I guess and hence they were sent to a different counter for re-submitting the same. After waiting for close to 30 mins, we were asked to join another queue where they were giving tokens for the counters for the final interview. Another 5-10 mins and I got mine, headed to the counter and already 2 people were in line.
US Business VISA Interview Experience
The passport was collected by the security guard and given to the visa officer inside. In a while he scanned my passport and asked me to come forward. There’s a glass panel separating both the parties and the visa office uses a microphone to communicate. Here’s the transcript of my US B1 Visa interview experience at Hyderabad.
B1 Visa Interview Experience
M: Hi ! Good Morning
VO: Goooood Morning (seemed like he’s really had a good morning)
VO: Where are you traveling to ?
M: I will be traveling to Memphis in Tennessee
VO: And you are traveling for what ?
M: I’m going there for a Program Increment planning meeting.
VO: What organization you work for ?
M: I work for xxx and my client is abc
VO: How long have you been working with abc ?
M: abc is my client, I’ve been employed with xxx for 4.7 months and with abc for about a year.
VO: Can you elaborate as to what type of planning meeting it is ? (He was looking straight into my eyes)
M: Sure, so in software industry we follow a process called Agile. Under that we have a small release every x days. For Program Increment planning, we plan the features that will be implemented in the next y months and be a part of the major release. All the teams plan and discuss to ensure there’s no dependency. Hence we do some resource and risk planning as well.
(VO typing something)
VO: Visa approved !
There it was, just what I was anticipating – Visa approved. With a happy face (hopping like a kid in my mind) I walked out of the consulate took a cab and back to work. The officer will take your passport if your VISA is approved else it will be returned along with a slip. The passport is mailed to your address as mentioned in the DS160 form.
Tips for US Business B1 Visa
There were a lot of apprehensions about the US business visa that my total work experience was less than 5 years. Also that I’m not married due to which there are ‘high’ chances of US B1 Visa being rejected. But all I did (and would ask you to do too) is follow these simple tips which might be helpful.
- Go in a formal attire when going for the final interview. Suit, boot, tie not required. Simple formals will do
- I keep a beard, so you don’t need to go clean-shaved, if it looks neat, you’re good to go
- Carry/wear your company id card, that helps
- Take only the required documents and keep them handy if asked for (nothing in my case)
- Prepare for the interview by going through your DS160 form
- Do spend some time to learn about the place you are visiting, your own company and the client
- (For B1 VISA only) Refrain from using the words ‘work’ or ‘stay’ –I don’t know how much that would help, but it did for me
- Lastly, be confident and cheerful. This will be easy if you prepare well. I did jot down the questions and in fact had a script ready 😛
That was my US Business Visa experience at Hyderabad consulate. I hope you find this post helpful. I’ve mentioned all the steps that I had gone through. If you have any issues/concerns or want me to provide you some information, please mention in the comments below. I’d respond as quickly as I can. You can also tweet to me @Atulmaharaj