Successful 2nd H1 stamping in Vancouver 6/20/2013... INS visits client site during the same time


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I was on F1 and did my MBA in US.


This is my 7th yr on H1 and my 2nd H1 stamping. The 1st one was in 2008 Chennai.


The Visa was for me and my wife (H1 and H4).


Which Consulate:

Most people say as long as the paper work is correct any consulate is the same. If that was the case Ottawa would not have so many open dates. And no one would go to Canada in the first place. They would go to India only. I know of people who got 221G in Calgary and Ottawa in FT and EC models.


Again, it is a subjective topic so I do not wish to delve into it.

The reason for this forum is to share experiences and not create a donnybrook situation.


Booking Slot:

I spent an entire day in the last week of May (I literally mean the entire day) and kept refreshing the page.


When the dates opened, I clicked next the system asked for my EAC#s (H1 & H4)... then asked for my credit card details.... and by the time I got to the page all the dates were booked.


The next day I repeated the "refresh process" and this time when the dates opened, since all my details were filled I went straight to the slot page and clicked the date. After some processing I got a message "Page could not be found". So obviously the slot was taken. This happened at 11AM.


By some strange luck, I got an email at 5PM evening that my slot is confirmed. Don't Know (how it happened)... Don't Ask? :-) 


Tickets & Hotel:

Again this is a H1 visa forum so wont discuss in detail.


Tickets from IAD airport are very expensive if you wait till the last moment, like I did. 1 week before they were $1000 per person. So I went from BWI airport $450 per person.


For hotel, I located the US Consulate on maps and went Priceline and started bidding for hotels in that location. I preferred to stay closer to the consulate.



Keeping in mind the jet lag, We went 2 days ahead of the interview.


Interview Day:

It was raining and was around 55F. Slot was at 10:30.


We left everything (I mean everything) except documents back at the hotel. There are no lockers so don't assume you can leave your stuff anywhere. This is a good thing if you live close to the consulate.


After security check (outside and inside), we were given a number and asked to watch the screen (as they dont call out the numbers).


Except us no one around seemed like they came for H1. And I think only 85-90 people came.


Gave our finger prints on the first floor and waited again to be called to the 20th floor.


After sometime our number was called and we went to the 20th floor and waited. Here they call out your numbers.


We were called to counter #6


Interview on 20th June:

VO: Good morning

Me: Good morning officer


VO: Whats your title

Me: BA


VO: How long with the current employer

Me: 15 months 


VO: Did you have a previous employer

Me: Yes


VO: Name and how long with them 

Me: ZZZ and since 200X with them


VO: How long with the client

Me: From MM/YYYY


VO: So you had the same client with both the employers

Me: Yes


VO: LCA and W2 please

Me: provided

(He was matching the salary .....and my daughter was pulling my documents)

VO: How old is she

Me: 6 months


VO: I have an 8 month old son and he too is like her... was she good on the flight

Me: yes ...blah 


VO: Where is your client

Me: DC


VO: Where do you live

Me: VA


VO: I will be going to DC too after this posting very soon... is it nice there?

Me: Blah blah....


VO: How did you come here



VO: Wait, you told me you live in DC ... then why BWI

Me: Flights were $1000 pp in DC so I chose BWI coz they were $450.


VO: Tell me your flight details

Me: IAD to BWI in a shuttle..... BWI to IAH.... IAH to YVR (Vancouver)


VO: So you came yesterday

Me: We came day before owing to jet lag and this is my baby's first flight


VO: Do you have a client

Me: Yes


VO: Do you have a vendor

Me: Yes


VO: Give me your vendor letter

Me: Provided and I told my wife give me the client letter too 


(The client is famous with a different name and NOT the official name)


Me: The client name is XYZ but we locally refer to it as ZYX.

VO: I know, I have your product, service etc


(He gave a look as to why 2 names and why is it famous with the unregistered name)


Me: Something like Academy award is more widely know in the world as the Oscar award.


(VO smiled ... typed something)


VO: Nice way to put.


VO: You visa is approved... have fun

Me: Thank you and advanced welcome to DC.

(my 6 month old was pulling all papers and threw them down)

Me: Officer, I'm sorry I'm clearing my stuff up.

VO: Take your time, I'm not in a hurry... what's your daughter's name...


My Perspective (not suggestions):

Before I left US to Canada, I gave my home keys to my brother and another set to a friend and said "sell everything except a few things, if I don't come back"


At the consulate, just before my number was called I said to myself "I don't care if visa is denied, but in future I should not  regret that I should have answered differently." 


Also, my client and vendor letters are very strong and provides and follows Employer-Employee relation very clearly.....


"This person works for us through the XXX vendor but he is an employee of YYY Inc.

YYY Inc controls, assigns, hires, fires, files, manages ....... and neither ZZZ client nor XXX vendor have a say in it."



INS visit to client site on 19th June:

I came back to my hotel and called my office colleagues who said that the INS guys came to check on me.


This has nothing to do my visa and may be a bad coincidence. 


They interviewed my client manager and client HR and asked when I would be back.


After I came back, they asked me the same visa questions but in more detail and said "Your name was picked at random (superb luck right??).... and we might not contact you again to notify anything."


Asked me for paystubs, all my details from the time I was in US, resume, how do I report to my manager etc


Good Luck guys!



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Passport pick up:

Generally after 1 business day your passport is picked by LOOMIS/DHL.


I had an interview on Thursday and Friday my WayBill # (tracking #) was generated.


Once a WayBill # is generated then you can go and pick your passport without waiting for any status updated.


Thanks to the guy who posted this and clarifying it:



After the visa interview, I wanted to check for passport pick up and read the above mentioned thread.


Then, I also came across this, where you can check the status of your visa case:


Casually, I entered my details to see the expected date of passport delivery. The pop said "YOUR CASE IS IN ADMIN PROCESSING"


I was confused and asked my wife, "Did the VO say approved or Admin". Then I realized I didnt get any slip. But could the VO have changed his mind??


Next day, it said "VISA ISSUED".


So please stay away from such threads until you get your passport back  :D


Flight back:

Flights from Vancouver are expensive....esp to the east coast and esp to we took the 4 hr train ride from Vancouver to Seattle. Immigration is done at Vancouver train station only .... $40 per person economy and $62 in business class.


Then took a flight the next day from SEA to IAD.

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