H1 B visa stamping (first time) in Vienna (Austria)


arvind los angeles

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I chose Vienna (Austria) for my first H1B stamping (with a little over a year after the renewal of my h1B status at my university). I had  the most wonderful experience here in contrast to my experience in India (New Delhi for various Visas in the past 14 years). I strongly recommend Vienna for the stamping (even for the first time), if one has all the papers right and has legitimate business to be in Vienna. Let me offer an overview of my experience and interview. My appointment was at 9am and I, dressed in semi-formal attire but with my long hair tied in a bun, arrived at 8.45.

Important Note:

Please make sure NOT to have in your possession any laptops or electronic equipment at all (except cell phones) as there are NO lockers and a couple of applicants had to give up their appointments on account of their laptops!. (You may want to place your belongings in a locker at the Wien-Mitte Train Station but make sure to come before 8.30am to do so or else you may not find a locker), and then take the U3 to the Stubentor station).

At the Embassy:

The two heavily armed Austrian security guards were very friendly and knowledgeable about the process. They helped us take out the right documents and were most generous in answering questions (unlike some of the guards in US Consular office in Delhi). We gradually formed a line in front of the Embassy door. Within 15 minutes I was able to enter the building and passed the security check. Here are the documents and articles I had in my possession:

1)      My DS 160,

2)      Appointment letter

3)      Passport

4)      H1B

5)      I-129

6)      I-797

7)      Approximately 20 Euros (coins and notes)

STAGE 1 (5minutes)  Once you pass the security check, you wait for an initial screening – fingerprints, examination of passport and I-797 as well as the valid Austrian “D Visa.” The officer who did this was a very friendly Austrian woman. This stage was conducted in German (as both preferred it to English).

For some reason, the photograph on the DS 160 was not clear and I was asked to get one taken right in the same hall (there are two photo booths and I had to enter 7 Euros into the vending machine). Make sure to carry EUROS (coins + notes totaling at least 14 Euros) in case you need to get a photo taken.

STAGE 2: After an 8 minute wait, my name was called. I went to the booth to be greeted by a very welcoming visa officer (VO). Here is how the interview unfolded:

VO: Good morning!

I: Good morning!

VO: I first need to verify your fingerprints

I: Sure!

(I gladly placed my fingerprints on the machine for the verification to take place)

VO: Great! So, you plan to go to LA (California) for a year?

I: Yes, I actually go back to LA and for much longer!

(She is running her eyes over the screen and smiles)

VO: Oh, I see! Ok, where and what do you work as?

I: (answer: university name, and higher education)

VO: I love the university [name]! I see that you were also at another university four years ago. (She looks very happy)

I : yes and I got my Phd in NYC (I added)

VO: Great and it is such a cool field of work!

I: Did you also major in [my field of work]?

VO: No but in [another field of work].

I: Are you from California?

VO: No, the Midwest.

I: Ok!

VO: so what brings you to Austria?

I: Research trip [named the area I was researching] and my girlfriend.

VO: Great – you probably get this a lot: can you recite something (in my field of research)

I: Yes, I get this a lot and I love answering it!

(We laugh)

VO: So, your Visa is approved and will be sent to the address on the DS 160!

I: Thank you very much indeed!

VO: Thank you! And, you are not flying back to the US soon, are you?

I: No, I am here and in the UK until September!

VO: Good, as the Visa will be valid from (a month in the near future)

I: Thank you!

VO: Thank you and have a great day!

I: You too!

 

The Interview was about 7-8 Minutes long and all went very smoothly and NO documents were asked for in this stage! Again, I got very lucky to have a wonderfully lively VO – and, of course, studying or working at research universities does/did help – so, again, I was lucky!

 

 

 

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Hi,

Not sure if this is the appropriate thread. Please point me to right direction if not...I would like to know if anyone has gone(or is it safe to go) for their first time H1b stamping in Canada for an Indian passport holder. Just a background on me, I've been working in US on various different visas(with onetime stamping in Canada) in the recent past of 4 years and for 2 years in -06 till -08. The in between time was in Australia. Also an added info is am an aussie PR holder . Please let me know if anyone has first time H1b stamping experience in Canada.

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