At a May 27, 2005 IACC seminar in Bangalore, Ms. Carol Cox, Deputy Chief, NIV Section, U.S. Consulate, Chennai, addressed this program and went over some of the issues visa applicants should keep in mind while applying for a visa.
Last Name: Visa applicants should indicate clearly in Forms DS-156 and 157 their Last Name and Given Name. It’s often seen in the case of South Indian names that passport issuing authorities write the whole name in the Last Name field. In situations where the whole name is given in the Last Name field, the Consulate writes ‘FNU’ – First Name Unknown – in the Given Name field. FNU may create a problem when a person on an H-1B or L-1 visa applies for a driver’s license in the U.S. as the officer in the U.S. is unable to understand FNU. Applicants should check their passport and if the whole name is given in one line, they should get the same changed before applying for a visa. If applicants change their name in the passport after a visa is issued, they need to pay the visa fee again to get the same changed in the visa.
Dependants: Irrespective of when dependants will travel to the U.S., it’s advisable that the whole family appear together for the visa interview. The benefits of appearing together is that only a single interview appointment is needed and it also helps visa officers decide the validity of the spouse and children when they see the entire family together.
BEP Companies: Applicants from BEP companies don’t get any preference when booking appointments. BEP members are responsible for keeping the Consulate informed about overstays by their employees, any change in the authorized signatory, etc.
Interview Tips: Applicants need to explain clearly the purpose of their trip to the U.S. Often applicants give generic or vague answers which don’t mean much as officers look for specific answers. Well-rehearsed answers are also a no-no when the applicant doesn’t know what it means and is unable to explain the details to the Officer, if questioned.
L-1 Anti-fraud Fee: The Consulate doesn’t have an answer for the duplicate anti-fraud fee that is paid when the consulate advises L-1 Blanket applicants to file the L-1 petition with the USCIS.
B-1 Portability: A B-1 visa is portable, hence if an applicant gets a B-1 visa while working for one organization he can travel on that visa to the U.S. even when he is no longer working for that organization. Employers may not cancel B-1 visas as they are portable.
On the whole it was a session full of learning as Officer Cox discussed various practical issues faced by companies and visa applicants. The Interview Tips given by Officer Cox constituted a major portion of the discussion as the visa interview is an integral part of the entire visa application process.
We at VisaPro appreciate the Chennai Consulate’s views and tips on how applicants should conduct themselves during the interview and recommend our readers to view the visa interview videos where comments made by VisaPro immigration lawyers on how to handle visa interviews align with the tips given by Officer Cox in the IACC seminar.
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