Note: All visa related information & experiences in this blog may be applicable only for Indian citizens living in India.
Having a valid visa to the United States may be very important for a trip to Latin America for the following reasons:
- Direct flights to South America are way more expensive than getting there after a stopover in the US
- Many countries may be more likely to grant you a visa if you already have a valid American visa
- You don’t even need to get a separate visa to some countries for short visits if you already have a valid American visa
Although I already had a US L1 visa valid till 2011, it would’ve become invalid as soon as I ceased to be an employee of Motorola. So it was imperative for me to get a visitors visa (B1/B2). Moreover, I needed to get it soon because getting it when I wouldn’t have a job anymore would have been next to impossible.
I took up a visa interview appointment at the US consulate in Chennai in the 2nd week of December, and did some running around to gather all the necessary documents. I reached Chennai on the evening of 6th December, and got an AC bed in the dormitory in the main bus station itself.
The next morning I was at the consulate on time, and after going through the customary security checks, waited for my turn for the interview. When I got to the window, I greeted the consulate officer and handed over my passport along with the mandatory forms.
The consulate officer asked me for how long had I been working for Motorola, and I said since December 2004. Then she asked me some simple yes or no questions before telling me that my visa was approved. I couldn’t believe how simple it had been. She hadn’t asked me to show her even a single supporting document that I had spent so much time arranging for
But I wasn’t complaining, because I had a US visa now, and that was a big hurdle out of the way.
The passport arrived by courier in a few days time and they had given me a 10 year multiple entry visa.