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bhat82

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About bhat82

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  1. Wanted to share my experience with visa stamping process in Tijuana, Mexico in March 2015. This was my H1B renewal (I believe one can only do renewals in Mexico) along with my wife’s H4 renewal. Bay area to San Diego We drove from bay area to San Ysidro. We left at around 2pm and reached San Ysidro around 11pm. We stayed at Travelodge, which is about 10 min from the border. It’s not a great hotel, but is decent enough to crash for a night. We had the complimentary breakfast (nothing great) provided by the hotel and left at around 9am. We parked at “border station parking” which is about 10-15 min walk from the border. The parking lot is guarded and is gated and felt it was safer to park here in case there would be any delays with visa in Mexico. Also, they charge $7/day during weekdays and $10/day on weekends. I found plenty of parking space inside the lot. I have heard that weekends could be full here, but I am not sure. We walked over to the border from the parking lot. Lots of people walk to-and-from the border, so one has to just follow the crowd. We had to cross the bridge (over the I-5) to get to the other side (near the jack in the box). There are lots of currency exchange stalls. We converted $50 to Mexican pesos. Tijuana accepts both pesos and USD so even if you don’t convert, you should be ok. The only thing is they would not give you back change in USD. There are signs guiding you towards the Mexican border for pedestrians. There is a revolving gate to enter into a building. Once you go across this gate, you are in Mexico and cannot come back to US from the same gate. No one asked for any documents or passport when we crossed the border. The security guards just went over our bag packs and suitcase. Once in Mexico, you will see long lines of people crossing the border. You have to cross these lines and follow the path & crowd. We then climbed some stairs and crossed a bridge to get to the other side where there is taxi stand (yellow cabs). The taxi driver asked for $5 to take us to our hotel. I paid him $6 once we reached the hotel. The bellboy took our luggage and helped us inside our room after we checked-in. Stay in Mexico We stayed at hotel Hacienda Del Rio, which in my opinion, is fantastic. It is about 10min from the border by cab. The location is great as well. The ASC center is just 3-5 min by walk from the hotel on the parallel road. There are lots of eating choices nearby like subway, dominos, starbucks etc. There is a restaurant inside the hotel as well, which is very good. The hotel provided us with courtesy shuttle and they dropped us to the consulate on both the days. The hotel also provides complimentary breakfast which includes fruits, bread toast with butter & jelly, coffee or juice. We reached the hotel around 10:30am. They allowed us early check-in. Our ASC appointment was at 1:30pm so we got fresh in our rooms and went to the restaurant to have our lunch. The prices are pretty reasonable (we had quesadilla and omelet. The quantity & quality was very good and the total was around 135 pesos (incl tip) which is less than $10. The same thing in US would cost about $15-$20) That evening, we ate at domino’s pizza. I think it would be a better option to place order online and carry out because everything (even the menu) there is in Spanish and the staff did not utter a single word of English. The pizza was decent (better than US atleast). The next day, after the interview we had our lunch at the hotel restaurant itself. We took a small nap and in the evening we went out around the hotel. We went to a sports bar called Jaggers. The crowd was excellent (very noisy though). Had beer and wings which were good. On the day of passport collection, we went to Plaza Rio. On our way back, we tried some chicken tacos at small food place close to Jaggers (forgot the name). The tacos were fantastic, nothing like the ones you get in US. Overall, I think Tijuana is a safe place (atleast the area close the hotel). Visa Process Day1: We left to the ASC from the hotel at 12:30pm and reached there by 12:35pm. There were hardly 1-2 people before us for finger printing. There was a lady staff outside the center who verified our names with the list of people with appointments for the day. Once she found our names in the list, she asked for our DS-160 confirmation page (with barcode) and passport. They also asked me for the payment receipt. I said I don’t have with me and they were ok with it. As soon as you go inside, there is a security guard who scans you. After that they sent me and my wife to one window where I went first (being the primary applicant). The lady took both our passports and DS-160 confirmation from me. She asked some basic questions like what am I here for, which visa, date of birth etc. After that she took my photo and fingerprints and asked me to send my wife. Everything got done in like 10min and by 12:50pm we were back in our rooms. Day 2: Our visa interview was scheduled at 11am. We started from our hotel at 9:30am. The shuttle was already waiting for us when we went to the lobby. We had requested for the shuttle the previous day and the lady staff had reserved it for us (she wrote it down in some register). The consulate is about 10-15min from the hotel by cab (during non-peak time) and is on a hill top. I gave 50 pesos to the driver as tip. We were too early for the interview and the security guard did not let us in until 10:45am. There is a waiting area outside and a food truck next to it. Lots of people would be waiting there. We first went to the window outside the consulate where they gave us a sticker with token number (1 sticker for both us), which I pasted on my DS-160 confirmation. Once inside, we had to go through security check. Once done, they direct you to another building. There we went through 3 steps We were directed to a window (window A) where the person verified our documents. Here he asked for our I797s. He then told us to go to another window We then went to another window (window B) where the lady took our fingerprints. After that we were told to wait. There were lots of people sitting there and waiting for their turns. Our token number was alteast 80 more than the one being served. But our number was called immediately (I guess we were the only ones for H1 visa) and we waited at the window while the Visa Officer (VO) was interviewing someone. Visa Interview When the VO called for us, I wished him “Good morning”. He took our documents (passports, DS-160 confirmation & I797s). He then started typing, clicking and reading something from his computer screen. I felt that for almost 5min he did not say anything. After that he started asking questions VO: what was your PhD in ? Me: I told him my major VO: you did your PhD in so & so (he mentioned a specific work about my PhD which I had mentioned during my prior H1B interview). Me: I told him a more general answer about my work & application in one line. He then started typing again something for another 2 min. VO: How do you report to your boss ? Me: We have weekly status meetings and I provide him my status report every week. Apart from that, I also report to him on a daily basis if required. VO: What kind of work do you do ? Me: I told him in one line with simple words VO: What specifically do you do, like what are some of the applications ? Me: Told him in simple words and in one line VO: How long have you been with this company ? Me: I told him VO: So it is a new company ? Me: Yes. My previous company got acquired by this company VO: How long were you with the previous company ? Me: I told him exact years and months VO: Whats your position ? Me: I told him. VO: So you have your bachelors in …. your highest level of education is PhD (I think he forgot momentarily that he had already asked me about my education) Me: I said I did my PhD from so&so university He started typing something. VO: Your visa is approved. You may collect your passports tomorrow at 3pm. He handed me a white slip. Me: Thank you very much. Have a great day Once done, we took a cab outside the consulate back to our hotels. There are always cabs outside the consulate. They are not supposed to park near the premises so they are always moving slowing slowly. The cab guy charged me 150 pesos back to hotel. We were back to our room at 11:30am. Day3: We went to the consulate on the hotel shuttle at around 2:50pm. The security told me to wait until 3pm. At around 3:05pm he asked all the people waiting to collect passport/visa to stand in a line. There were hardly 4 people there. When my turn came, I was asked to go to the same window outside the consulate, where I had collected the token for my interview. There, the lady asked for my ID proof and I provided my US driver’s license. Our passports were not yet ready. She told me to wait for sometime. After about 10 min, she called my name and I collected both mine & my wife’s passport with stamped visa. I had requested the shuttle driver to wait for me to collect the passport and then drop us to the border. I gave him about 150 pesos as tip once he dropped us at the border around 3:40pm Border Crossing When crossing the border we need I94. There are 3 lines of people crossing the border. 1. General public, 2. Ready lane & 3. Sentri. The Sentri line is for us. Even though it is the shorter of all, it takes ages for this line to move (at least on that day, which was a Friday). We had to wait for about 3 - 3 ½ hrs in the line before our turn came up with the immigration officer. You will need to buy the I94 card for $6 per person and they take only cash. There is an ATM machine inside the building as well. The immigration officer asked for my passport, I797s and company documents. I provided him with employment letter and my offer letter. It took almost 20 min before he issued our I94s. After this, we stood in another line, and another immigration officer checks your passport & visa. There is a brief baggage scanning and after that you are back to US. By the time we reached our car at the parking lot, it was 8pm.
  2. Hi omshiv, I want to get an opinion from lawyers at Murthy about what do they think about my chances. I will definitely check with other qualified Attorney as well. Best regards,
  3. Hi all, I am trying to find out if I would be eligible to file for green card in the EB1 category. Immigration Status: H1b Employment Status: Employed with a startup in semiconductor industry Graduation Date: Dec 2011 Educational Qualification: PhD in Electrical Engineering (GPA 4.0/4.0) MS in Electrical Engineering (GPA 3.75/4.0) BE in Electronics and Communication from SJCE, Mysore, India Industry Experience Member of Technical Staff: July 2012 - Current Wireless Systems Engineer: Sep 2011 - Mar 2012 Associate Software Engineer: July 2004-July2005 (India) Academic Experience: Research Assistant: May 2007 - May 2011 Teaching Assistant: Aug 2008 - May 2011 Academic Achievments: 2 Journal Papers (First Author) 3 Conference Papers (First Author) 1 Poster Presentation Reviewed 14 Journal papers Reviewed 5 Conference papers Awarded "Exemplary Reviewer" by one of the ComSoc Journals (awarded to 3% of all the reviewers) Assisted in 4 Grant Proposals (won 2 grants). (Not sure if this counts as I was not a Co-PI, since I did not wish to pursue post-doc) I thank you in advance for your feedback. Regards
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