Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Visa... Shisa.... Haiyo Rabba!!

Had my H1B visa interview today... dont know if what i had qualifies to be called an interview, didnt last for more than 2 mins and involved just 2 questions...
L: So you work for IBM?
Me: yep! (yep? yep??!! did i just say yep??? wasnt i instructed to say yes, ma'm!! oh well...)
L: Have you travelled before?
Me: no (better answer this time!)
L: Your passport will be couriered to your company. Thank you!
Me: Thank you, Ma'm!
..... and I am out of the cubicle, the room and soon at the parking where my mom is getting ready for a looong wait! hee hee...

Not much of a story there but the amount of preparation and efforts that went into the making of these two minutes is worth telling.... It began with my preparation of the questions that could be asked and collection of the documents that need to be carried for the interview... The final set of documents that I did carry
1. appointment letter
2. visa receipt
3. passport
4. petition
5. original degree certificate and marksheets
6. form-16 and income-tax filing form
7. company offer letter and last 3 months payslips
(Note: The first 4 are an absolute must and the remaining can be carried but as my experience shows that they are not always required.)
After the documents came the questions... thought of all possible questions and all possible answers to all those questions and it didnt seem so difficult after that....
Next came the hotel and the cab booking... easier said than done but was through with all the bookings and the confirmations the night before travel....
(Note: The travel was the most time-consuming and tiring part as traveling over 300 kms to-and-fro for a 30-min exercise really was not worth it but I didnt really have a choice, did I?

After spending the night at a nearby (well, not quite) IBM guest-house, reached the consulate at around 8:10 and the day unfolded:
1. Stood in the queue for around 10 mins before being ushered inside the consulate
2. Went through the regular security check (another 5 mins)
3. Went inside the main room and collected the VFS document and submitted it alongwith my passport at counter 1 and got a pink token (# 165)... probably another 5 mins)
4. Took a seat right at near the counters and got a first look at the ladies behind the bullet-proof glass and relaxed... was getting ready for a long wait!
5. Kept my ears peeled to the voice announcing the tokens as there wasnt any particular order being followed and with 13 operational counters things were progressing quite fast
6. After around 15 mins wait, I heard 165 being called out to counter #8. Took my position behind a fat(really fat!) lady and her kid and awaited my turn. The lady was through in quicktime and I was in...
What happened next has already been discussed and I was out and in the car and on my way back to home, sweet home! (and very soon, on my way to San Diego!)

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