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Applying for a US visa? Some useful tips

December 27, 2005

The US is a hot destination these days for further studies, jobs and permanent citizenship.

US visa expert Dr Arun Vakil chatted with Get Ahead readers on December 21, offering tips on how to pave the way for their American dreams.

Dr Arun Vakil has an MBA from the University of California, USA, and a PhD from the University of Wyoming, USA. He is an expert on US visa regulations. He was associated with the US consulate in Mumbai as an economist from 1974 to 1977.

He conducts orientation courses for students going to the US; these courses are organised by the United States Education Foundation in India and the Indo-American Society. He also lectures on US visas and immigration laws. He authored the book Gateway To America in 1984.

For those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript:

Part II: Want to migrate to the US?

Dr Arun Vakil: Hi Rediff readers. Here I am to answer your questions. Wish you get your ambition fulfilled.

Mahesh4us: Sir, could you pls guide me in getting sponsorship (Or method of geeting such jobs). I am a Civil Engineer with 8 years of Experience.

Dr Arun Vakil: You have to find an employer in the US who will show an interest in your background and experience and hire you for H1-B visa. Visit for details.

shalu: hello sir..i have a visa interview query.i am a mbbs intending to go to usa for obsevership for a few months in may...sir i want to apply for a visa as a visitor with my can they give us a single appointment for interview online when we have 2 barcode numbers? please help.thanx

Dr Arun Vakil: Each individual gets different appointments. Nonetheless, go to
US Consulate web site and get their contact e-mail and write to them about your query. This is procedural matter and each Consulate has its own policy. They will advise you.

middlebridges: Sir, this is amit sharma here . I am an M.Tech from IIT chennai and right now employed in L&T, construction company. I am posted in Dubai for an overseas job, i would like to know how to get a job in any construction company of usa.

Dr Arun Vakil: You have to contact recruitment agent on Internet and approach them for jobs in construction companies in the US. Alternatively, if you have budget, you could advertise your availability in construction magazines of the US. You need to research their names, again through the Internet.

sagar: do u have any idea about afrrican visa

Dr Arun Vakil: No. Visit the web site of African Consulate through the Internet.

dharmesh: Hello Mr Vakil I recently finished my masters in automation and control from a UK based university with merit. I applied for some jobs but the problem was work permit. My specialization doesn't come in segs scheme. How can I apply for any other work permit in UK. Is there any chance of getting US work permit.

Dr Arun Vakil: In the US, you need to find an employer who can utilise your services. Visit for details.

Jitendra Bhesania: Dear sir,My petition for H1B Filled at 29th july is not approved till now (more then 5 months). They demanded for additional document from my employer. We provide all additional document at 19th dec 2005. according to you how much time will taken by USCIS for this procedure?

Dr Arun Vakil: It is difficult to say how much time it will take because anything that goes for inquiry takes an undefined length of time. The move suggests that the visa officer is not convinced about the bonafides of the employer. You have to wait.

amisha: Hi Sir, My query is, I am getting married to a US Citizen in Dec 2006. I want to the US alongwith him. Is it ok if we apply for a fiancee visa after he becomes a citizen and get married legally in the US or is it more advicable to apply for a spouce visa after the traditional ceremonial marriage. The worry here is my visitors visa was rejected twice in May 2000. Will this anyways affect my fiancee visa?

Dr Arun Vakil: Your rejects on visitor visa will not affect you in any way, so relax. However, you may not be able to go with him when marriage takes place due to procedural delay. Going to fiancee visa route may be faster by few months compared to direct marriage in India and then proceeding. But suggest you undergo actual marriage ceremony in India with family and friends as such events don't come again and again in life, celebrate the wedding and then proceed.

Mannu: Hi Arun..I have worked in US for 2 years at a stretch on L1 visa...that L1 visa was for 1 year but I got I-94 for 3 I stayed in US for alsmost 2 yearsand came back to India well in advance of my I-94 expires...but the visa was already expired..I went for L1 re-stamping company in India has a different name than its fully owned subsidiary in the US..the visa officer got confused between the two names of my Indian and US company and she denied the visa to meon the letter which I got from the visa officer, it states that I have to submit last 3 years income statementsof US company, last 3 years tax statement of the US company, list of all the employees working in the US company etc.what is the best way to handle this so that I get the L1 visa stamped again?Kindly let me know. Thank you.

Dr Arun Vakil: You will have no choice but to follow instructions of the Visa Officer and comply with her request. hi mr arun i am fahad i hold mba degre in finace i want to apply for h1 can i do it can you tell me where exatly and whom i should meet if you able to give a relevent website address it will be a good to me.

Dr Arun Vakil: You need an employer in the US to sponsor you. Visit or

vsgattu: I am a Doctor, can i get immegrate? how?

Dr Arun Vakil: You could immigrate if an employer files for you for a job or you get married to a US citizen spouse

vipinhbtik: I'm vipin tomorrow going for B1 visa can you tell us what could be the probable questions

Dr Arun Vakil: You will be asked questions such as: 1. Purpose of your trip; 2. Duration of visit; 3. Any evidence of correspondence regarding business you have in view. 4. Proof of your intention to return by showing your financial and social ties in India.

Himadrish: It's my plesure to meet with you.

Dr Arun Vakil: Me too.

gupta: Hi Arun,I have got refusal for L1-B and consulate officer has given mea letter.I am not sure wether it is 221g refusal or not. This document has 5 options.For me thay have marked that "The applicant does not appear to possess specialized knowledge that could only be gained thru extensive exp. with the petitioner, as req. by 8 CFR 214.2(I)(1)(ii)(D)."After that there is one more option. And last paragraph says thet "Post has refused the application per INA 221g."But my HR is saying that if they would have checked the last option then only this clause will be applicable.I wanted to wether it is right or not.

Dr. Arun Vakil: Your paper needs to be studied to give you precise answer. Show me papers by writing to 

VISARD: Sir,ais getting US student's(mba) visa a matter of luck,which is often propounded?

Dr Arun Vakil: Luck plays a part in every aspect of life for any human being. Nevertheless, you have to be well prepared in your task for the interview. 

mufo: Hello sir Please replyI am going on L2 visa with my eife L1 visa. can i work in USA? what's the procedure for it? Thanks in advance

Dr Arun Vakil: Yes, you can work on L-2 and earn income. Once you reach the US, file for Employment Authorisation Document at nearest office of US CIS.

faizul: are these consulates giving f1 visa as my son has applied for 4 times but still got refused althought he was perrfect at 4th time,as he had learnt from 3 time mistake he had made

Dr Arun Vakil: Consult a professional for advice. There must be something wrong somewhere. You could contact me at for details, if you wish.

arvind: i have valid h1b which expires in 05 oct 2006.i was in USA for one year.if i go to usa before the expiry can i reclaim the one year i was here as well as the time between th i got the visa papers and visa stmping thats is one year.that means a total of 2 years

Dr Arun Vakil: It depends on what you were doing in the time period elapsed when you were in India. If you were in India for job related work, it may be counted or else you will have to approach your original employer to show that they are continuously employing you.

varma: Hello Dr.Arun... I had completed my MS in u.k and i am working in here for last one year. i completed my graduation in 2004. I applied for H1b, but i was late by just two days.. So as per the rules i got the application back..And now i heard that they r opening some 30,000 quota. Could u tell whether it was a rumor or is that going to come. Pls reply. Thanks

Dr Arun Vakil: There was a proposal to open new 30,000 visas but it is turned down by the US parliament recently. You have to wait until October 1, 2006, when the regular quota opens.

viveksaxena1975: My BL1 visa appilcation was retained and sent for additional processing. 4 months passed and nothing happened and later I took my passport back and joined another company. Is there any way to ascertain that my "addtional processing" has comleted and I will get an immediate desicion next time ?

Dr Arun Vakil: Difficult to say. Anything going for administrative processing takes time. You may inquire at the Consulate periodically. There is no choice but to wait or look for other options.

Suresh123: Do i necessarily have to have an employer sponsoring me for a work visa? Is there a way to obtain a work visa on my own?

Dr Arun Vakil: Work visa on your own is possible only if you start a company of your own in the US, invest funds there and have yourself transferred from an Indian company to the American company provided the line of business is same.

Shreekant: Hi,I am a software professional.My Name on 10 Certificate as "SRIKANT PRASAD".And 10+2 onwards at every documents as "SHREEKANT PRASAD".I applied for passport then i got as "SRIKANT PRASAD" then i re-applied for correction then i get newPassport as "SHREEKANT PRASAD".Could i face any problem for getting Visa?If yes then what should i do: 1. Chnage in 10 Certificate OR 2. Keep Affedevit OR 3. Now it is fine.

Dr Arun Vakil: Go by the name that appears in your latest passport. Get an affidavit done through a lawyer that the two names referred by you pertain to the same person.

dchat: Hi, how will the new curb on H1B visas affect us Indians

Dr Arun Vakil: Newspaper reports had blown up optimism about new H-1 B visas being introduced. They no more will be and to that extent it will affect propspective Indians hoping to get to the US quickly. However, the existing annual quota of 65,000 stands.

shalini: Sir my husband is going to the US on a work visa...what visa must I take?

Dr Arun Vakil: If he is going on H-1, you can get an H-4 visa. If he is going on L-1, you get L-2.

helloyogi: hi Arun i am a Bsc graduate in Botnay with 7 yrs of exp and also i did a 1 yr diploma course from a private institute. I am interested in H1 visa and also there is consultant in US who would be filing my H1. i would like to know since i have only 15 yrs of education and also i m not BE will this be a constrint in getting the visa and also my 1st company for which i worked for 4 yrs have closed down due to dot com bust will tht effect for my H1. Please help

Dr Arun Vakil: H-1B visa requires a candidate to have a Bachelor's degree. If you do not have it, then you have to approach credential evaluation service to assess your education and experience to ascertain if it is equivalent to bachelor's degree. If yes, then you qualify. Just because your first company closed down, is no issue.

Part II: Want to migrate to the US?


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Number of User Comments: 25

Sub: BL1 refusal on 221G

Hi I went to VISA stamping last month and my BL1 visa was refused because of 221g. They asked me to send a letter from ...

Posted by amrit

Sub: us visa application inquiry

Sir, I would like to ask regarding on how will I write my surname in my us visa application. My surname is hyphenated as what ...

Posted by roy

Sub: how to begin from scratch

hi sir im dentist.i want to know about the procedure and the courses which i have to initially apply to go to us . i ...

Posted by puneet sharma

Sub: Hi Sir i wish to know......

A US lady from New Jeresy wishes marry me....i'm from pakistan and have never applied for any visa...nor i know what to do...she told about ...

Posted by Faheem

Sub: H1 VISA x J1 VISA

Dear Sir, I´m Ana, writing from Brazil. This is my case: I lived and worked in NYC for a year (2000/2001) and at that time ...

Posted by Ana Escobar


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