I had taken appointment in June 2022. Since the world was just getting out of the pandemic, there were huge pile of pending appointments. As a result I got an appointment for Oct 2023. For India there are five states where visa interviews are conducted – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai & Hyderabad. Usually the system allocates biometric & interview appointment at closer and same location. However due to huge number of pending applications the system assigned the location as per availability. Thus I got Kolkata for biometrics & Mumbai for interview.
Based on your case this might differ. Infact Embassy does not ask for any documents and just check the passport, application confirmation letter & DS-160 confirmation page. However it doesn’t hurt to carry following:
- Latest & old passport(s)
- Appointment confirmation letter
- DS-160 confirmation page
- Employment letter
- Last 3 months salary slip
- Last 6 months bank statement (consolidated if you have FDs in same bank account)
- Invitation letter (if you are invited by someone in USA)
- Flight booking proof if you have done
- Hotel booking if you have done
- Itinerary (travel plan what you are going to do which places you going to visit etc)
- Last 3 year ITR return
Note: You are not required to book flight or hotels to get Visa. These booking doesn’t guarantee visa approval. In my case they did not check any of the documents and asked series of questions.
What to expect at Biometrics
Be there 30 minutes prior to your appointment time. They will verify your passport and then just take your photo & fingerprints of both hands. Yes actual process just takes 10-15 minutes. They put up a sticker at the back of your passport and give a stamp on your DS-160 confirmation page print that you carry. This stamp is important as it indicates that your biometric is done. You have to show this DS-160 confirmation page during your interview again.
What to expect during Interview
My interview was at Mumbai BKC complex. Again be present at the location 30 minutes prior to interview. They verify the passport, appointment letter and DS-160 confirmation outside the entry gate. Then they let you in. While entering they ask – Which interview language? Ensure you mention same language that you selected while filling up DS-160 form. Depending on the language they request you to stand in different queue.
Intake window – here they verify your passport again. After intake window they request you to join next queue for the actual interview. The interview is conducted by foreign nationals (atleast that is the case in case of English language). Here again they verify your passport and ask set of questions:
- Why you want to visit USA?
- Did you visit any other country in past?
- Are you married?
- Are you traveling with your family?
- Are you traveling with your colleagues?
- Do you have any close relatives/friends in USA?
- Why company wants to send / selected you only?
Most of the questions are from the DS-160 form. Reason behind all these questions:
- They want to verify that you only filled up the DS-160 form and validate your answers
- They want to ensure you will return back to your home country & wont stay in USA for longer time illegally.
What you are allowed to carry at biometric & interview location?
- At biometrics location you are allowed to carry smartphone but in switched off state.
- At interview location you are allowed to carry transparent folder with all documents/passport in it & your wallet. No smartwatch, mobile, laptop or any other electronic gadgets. No backpack or any other bag even if it’s empty. So ensure you leave your belongings at hotel or with anyone else accompanied with you or whom you trust. The embassy allows you to keep your smartphone at locker which is billable.
Outside the location you will notice some people shouting and offering a locker service. They charge INR 600-800 however they are unknown people so there is a risk in opting for that. Hence keep your belongings at hotel room or with person accompanying you.
Tracking your application
Well, if the interviewer is convinced with your answers he/she will keep your passport with them and tell you that your visa is approved & you shall get your passport back in 7 days at given address.
You can track your application at https://ceac.state.gov/CEACStatTracker/Status.aspx
When the application is in “Approved” state you will see this:
When the visa is “Issued” you will see this: