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IR1 -Direct Consular Filing- My experience in Mumbai

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DIRECT CONSULAR FILING:

USC wife (DG) and Indian National Husband (HP) married November 2012 in India.
DG moved to India to live with HP post marriage. Now it's 2015 and DG is pregnant and all of a sudden hell breaks loose. Now we MUST move back to US to deliver the baby. 3 months pregnant and this thought of moving comes to DG's mind on April 15th 2015 and so, our journey begins.
Collected all the paperwork in the world possible and DG schedules an appointment in New Delhi for May 5th 2015 to petition the I-130. Despite my numerous attempts to convince her that all these documents aren't needed, I lost to the preggo and I carried more documents than I could handle and flew to New Delhi.
Morning of May 5th, there was a huge line but since she is a USC, she showed her passport and we were let inside immediately through another line where we were the only ones.
We go through security and were asked to sit. About 3 minutes later, we were asked to go to another building to the consular office. Once there, our papers were checked (I think may be the appointment confirmation) and we made entries in a register and let into a room where there were about 4 more couples and a lady crying.. overheard that she has a criminal case and Indian govt held her passport though she was a USC. Anyways, back to our case.
A nice Indian lady calls DG at the counter (there were 2 counters, only one operational though) and asks her why she was there to which she says to file I-130. The lady asks for documents (I-130, one wedding picture with fire in the mandap, Copy of her OCI)-that's it. This gave me an eternal right to brag -I TOLD YOU SO (in terms of we didn't need to carry all the documents in this world to prove genuineness). Then the tragic thing happened. DG had read that she could pay the application fee ($420) by a check! Not true. This has to be by Demand Draft and exact amount which was @ exchange rate of 1 USD= Rs 66. She gave us time till 11:00 am (It was almost 10:05 am at this time) to get back with a DD or reschedule. We had to fly the next day back to B'lore so I got busy!!
Ran out to get a 3 wheeler auto. He takes me to a nearby shopping strip with lots of banks. I got refusals from all 4 banks, 2 said the printing machine is broken and other 2 said if I don't have an account with them they wouldn't issue one to me. Came back running to the auto (had asked him to wait) and he took me to State Bank of "Something", they said they will issue the DD (What a relief!!!). Used their ATM to get the money- guess what- the ATM stopped working as soon as it was my turn to use it. Came back running to the auto and he took me back to where the 4 Banks were. Used AXIS bank's ATM to withdraw cash, went back running to SBS and they issued the check and then back to embassy and at 10:48 am- The knight in shining armour was there to rescue the preggo queen. The lady at the counter was missing, she was busy with another petitioner. Then she called us at 11:10 am and asked us the DD and told us she would give it to the cashier and we can collect our receipt in the afternoon. She gave some paper to let us in. In the afternoon we returned and got the receipt and asked her when could we expect to hear from them to which she said it could take upto 3 months and DG snapped and told her that's unacceptable as she is pregnant. The nice lady made a note of her pregnancy on top of the I-130 petition and highlighted it, went back inside, spoke to the consular and told us, please expect atleast 10 days!!
We left.
On May 22nd, she got an email from New Delhi that our case has been forwarded to American Consulate Mumbai and that we allow them 2 weeks before checking the status. She probably called them everyday since but didn't tell me, anyways...
On June 1st, I got a call on my cell phone from an Indian Lady from Mumbai telling me they've rec'd our case and we should expect to receive Packet 4 in the mail upon which we could schedule the interview. All instructions are supposedly in that mail. I reconfirmed the mailing address they had. She then said she will send me an email with details as well. I asked when to expect the mail and was given a time frame of 7-8 days. After waiting 1 week, we start calling the Mumbai embassy and all they would tell us is that the package is sent. Based on the email we go ahead and I fill out DS260. I submit DS260 and schedule appointments for 10 printing on June 16 and Consular on June 17. Medical was scheduled for June 12 at Rele Clinic.
I reach Mumbai the day of my medical. I go straight to Rele Clinic from airport and was 2nd to be served. They took the print out I had (that served as my Interview call letter that I never got in the mail) of the email that Mumbai lady had sent, 8 2inx2in photographs, first and last pages of my passport, DS260 and interview appointment confirmation letters. The following were done: Measurements of height/weight, blood sample collection, Chest X-RAY, full body exam (and I mean "that" as well) and given 4 vaccination shots. I was asked to wait for about 40 mins and then a lady told me I could leave and collect the report after 2 pm on June 15th. They ensure that the X RAY is okay before they let you leave for the day. I called at 11am to confirm I could go to collect my report and they asked me to come anytime after 2 pm. I was there at 2pm and was given 3 things (sealed envelop to be opened by consular ONLY with report of my exams, sealed envelop to be opened by consular only with X RAY and a copy of vaccine I got for my records). I left to wait for next day for finger-printing. Do not take the XRAY to the consular interview-it is meant to be taken and shown to the immigration officer once you reach the port of entry in US. Only take the other sealed medical report to the consular interview.
I got into the black and yellow Mumbai Taxi and made friends with the driver. He was willing to wait for me and take me back once finished. I took only the following documents with me: 2 2inx2in photographs, my old and new passports, DS260 confirmation page and interview appointment confirmation page. I didn't take my phone, actually nothing metallic including my wallet. I did carry cash in my pocket. At the entrance security asked if I had anything electronic and I said no and was let in another queue. While in the queue a guy check my passport to what seemed like matching my name to DS260 confirmation page and signed on my DS260. Went through a scanner then to a table with 3 guys who asked what visa I was applying for and i told them IR1. Then was let in the actual finger printing room. Right at the entrance there are 3 guys with computers checking the papers and scanning the bar codes. He attached a sticky paper at the back of my passport that said the type of visa I was applying for and the pick up city-Blore. I then went in to another queue that led me to a counter with a guy on the other end. There were about 10-12 such counters. This guy finger printed me and took my picture with his camera on a white background. He then asked me for 2 pics that I had and stapled them to my DS260 and stamped the confirmation page with finger printing complete stamp. All this process took about 20 minutes and I was back in my taxi.
I had my visa appointment the following day. It was raining and I was carrying all the documents on the planet and didn't take the umbrella as I had read nothing metallic is allowed inside. I didn't carry my wallet either. Didn't take even coins. Folks, none of this was true- I purchased an umbrella there and was able to take it inside the consulate. I saw people take their wallets inside. I saw people take laptop bags inside, even folders that were NOT transparent. I carried all these documents in clear folders and NO BAG!!! Anyways, at first, I stood in a common queue with everyone else. My appointment was at 7:30 am and I was there at 6:50 am. A gentleman came outside and asked everyone with appt at 7:30am AND applying for Immigrant visa to stand in a separate queue. Incidentally, I was first in this line!! YAY!
I led everyone inside, through the scanner into a large waiting hall in the open but under a shed and outside the consulate but inside the premises. Everyone was requested to sit in the order they came in. Then I led everyone to the main interview area. I saw several counters getting ready for interview and as I was the first in line, I has the opportunity to pick the first token for the day! I was immediately called to counter number 2. The lady asked me to give her ONLY the following and arranged them in order: original old and new passports, 2 pics, DS260 confirmation page, medical report, PCC (the passport office gave me 2 of these but she only took one original), copy of my birth certificate, copy of my divorce decree, I-864 from my wife, I-864 from my brother-in -law and then asked for fees. I was like- WHAT FEE? She said I had to pay $325, I had no idea and didn't even have my wallet. It was about 8am and she gave me until 10:00am to come back with cash. She also gave me a printed page to let me in when I come back with cash. I rushed outside, got into a cab, went home, this time I got my wallet as I had seen others get it, went to ATM, got $325 x Rs 66, and went back to embassy showed the slip I had to let me in and was sent directly to counter number 2 where I was being interviewed earlier. I gave the cash to the lady and she said I am all set and asked me to wait for the consular to call me. She also gave me a paper on my rights as an immigrant to US and details on what I could do in case of domestic violence in US. I read it.
I waited and waited and then waited some more. Then got hungry. Looked around and saw a cafe INSIDE THE CONSULATE. All items reasonably priced. Bought a Donut and Coke. Then went back to the waiting area where a lady asked me what my token number was and as I said it I saw my token was already flashing at counter number 11. I understood that my token was called when I was busy buying the donut. I left my donut and coke at the chair next to me and ran to get my paperwork and meanwhile this lady ran to counter 11 to tell the consular that I was there. I could see the consular who was going to interview me get up and then sit back down after this lady told him I was there.
I picked up my paperwork (all the documents in the world) and went to counter 11:
Me: Hello officer, sorry to keep you waiting
Officer: No problem.
Officer: Would you please raise your right hand (I did) and confirm that whatever you say to me today will be true to the best of your knowledge.
Me: Yes
Officer: Who is calling you to the US?
Me: My wife, DG.
Officer: I see that she has been here with you for the last 1 year
Me: She has been with me for the past 2 years plus
Officer: Oh ok
Officer: How did you guys meet?
Me: I had my profile on Shaadi.com and she had hers. Her dad managed her profile and showed interest in mine and gave me her phone number and I flew to meet her.
Officer: Where is she now?
Me: She is home. My home in Blore.
Officer: Is this first marriage for both of you?
Me: Second for both
Officer: Oh ok
Officer: What happened in your previous marriage?
Me: blah blah blah and some more blah blah and then some more
Officer:Oh! I am so sorry to hear that, that's very unfortunate.
Officer: Where's your wife now?
Me: She is home. My home in Blore.
Me: Wait, you mean the current one?
Officer: Yes
Me: Oh yes, home

Officer AND I, both, chuckle at this moment.

Officer: When did you get married?
Me: 2012
Officer: Yes, which month
Me: November
Officer: Where will you be once you go to US?
Me: I recite the complete address.
Officer: [Chuckles]- I mean who lives there?
Me: My own sister
Officer: Ok, nice, and what will you do there, I mean what are your future plans to work in the US?
Me: Well, I work for _Corporation and I will see if they can transfer me to the US corporate office located in California.
Officer: So, you are basically applying for IR1 visa and I approve it
Officer: Did my colleague give you a document on health for you to read?
Me: Not on health, but I did get one page to read on Domestic Violence and I have read it
Officer: Yes, that's what I meant, smiling.
Officer: Your visa will be ready in about 3-4 days, actually it could be longer our system has been seeing some problems lately.
Me: Will it be shipped to Blore?
Officer: Yes.
Officer: Do you have any prior US visas?
Me: Yes in the old passport I have F1 then H1-B and now B1/B2, all in the old passport.
Officer: Okay, so I will have to cancel the B1/B2 visa, is that okay? Because you will receive a new visa with your passport. Let me give you your old passport back, and I will hang onto the new one.
Me : Sure.
Officer: Let me give you this piece of information, you will need to pay a fees online and you will find instructions in this for $165 for your Green Card. You MUST pay this BEFORE you enter US, okay?
Me: Sure. Is that it, can I leave now?
Officer: Yes, thank you!
Me: Thank you officer, have a nice day ahead!

[The Officer did not look at a single document!!!!]

I am in Blore now waiting for my passport to arrive (Today: June 19th) and wanted to give back to the community that helped me through this process all along!

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She had OCI documents with her when we went to New Delhi. Im additional, we had letter of employment from her employer in India and pay stubs for several months. We had taken pics of our travel at different places in India and abroad for the past years as back-up.

I dont think they asked for anything but the OCI card. That alone is good enough.

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Sorry, I misinterpreted your question.

Nothing! For 2-3 years, they ask for nothing. They need proof for domicile in US if you live out of US say for over 7 years. There is a timeline for that sort of questioning and 2-3 years are too short for those.

Besides, she had active credit cards and bank accounts in US.

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