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Dec
21
2012

US Visa Stamping Experience at Mumbai – India

US Visa stamping reviewRecently i have visited the US consulate at Mumbai for my Visa stamping. Since the process is significantly changed recently i am posting my experience here.

As per the new system, the stamping is a 2 day process and you will have to make 2 different appointments for finger printing at OFC (Offshore facilitation Center) and for the PAI (Personal Appearance Interview).

Both these offices located in Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai (about 3km away from each other). However unfortunately the 2 appointments cannot be scheduled on the same day. This will be difficult for people travelling from outstation for visa stamping as they need to stay atleast for an overnight.

You will have to fix the PAI date first and accordingly fix OFC appointment. It’s a good idea to fix the OFC appointment in the previous day evening of PAI’s date. This way you can find a hotel or guest house to stay just for an overnight for the PAI on the next day.

The OFC location’s outside is pretty bad to wait for hours. It’s a congested area and not even a tree or buildings around to stand in shadow and the worst part is heavy dust and traffic. I was waiting for just about an hour outside OFC and it was an horrible experience. So it’s better to reach the OFC just on time or 30 minutes in advance to your appointment. Usually the OFC securities will allow you to get in 30-45 minutes in advance of your actual appointment time. But that depends on the crowd in queue already. Even if you reach on time or 10-15 minutes late, it won’t be an issue.

The OFC process is simple, they will capture your photograph and finger prints and seal on your DS160 and let you go. It’s quick and simple and takes only about 15-30 minutes inside after security checks.

Please note that both OFC and PAI offices at Mumbai do not have any storage or locker facilities. You can’t even store your mobile phones there. So you will have to find some alternatives to safe guard your belongings (you may leave them back at your hotel before you travel to these offices)

At the consulate they will let you in about 1 hour in advance before your appointment. After security checks you will be waiting outside the interview area for a while and they will let people in as batches. Once you get in you will have to face 2 queues (for your passport labeling and finger print verification) before attending the actual interview. It took me about 2 hours 15 minutes at the consulate.

At both OFC and PAI locations token systems are for the queue.

At OFC all staff are Indians.

At the PAI office there is a small shop selling some snacks and drinks close to the interview area.

I have heard that children under 14 years not allowed for PAI. But i saw that lot of couples carried their infants and they were allowed in queues on priority.

Recently the US consulate introduced the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to simplify the stamping process for certain individuals falling under some conditions but i have also heard that people facing some delays in getting it done.

 

[Update 6-Jan-2014] There is some new Lounge (paid service) facility introduced at US Consulate – Mumbai, which includes a lot of amenities including locker facility, food, bus etc. Please check out the complete details here – http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-main-starsandstripes.asp. Thanks for Pravin for sharing this useful info.

 

You might also be interested in:

10 things to surprise you when you move to United States from India

 

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17 comments

  1. Parag says:

    Thanks for info. Will update my experience in Feb.

    1. electron says:

      Thank you Parag. I would be glad to see your experience as well.

  2. Dilip says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the info.

    I have an OFC appointment and trying to locate the location on Google Map to reach there.
    The given Address (Trade Center, Gr. Floor, G Block, Bandra East, Mumbai – 400051) is giving two locations on Google Map instead of easily locating just one.

    I want to clarify which one is correct location A) Trade center Wadhwa Group Near BKC Police Station -or- B) In Regus Building, same as Juniper Networks.

    Your help is greatly appreciated.

    -Dilip

    1. electron says:

      I don’t know why google maps messes up. But the A – Trade center seems to be the correct one. Try this link – http://goo.gl/maps/k9mOL

      1. prat says:

        Type ‘US OFC’ and ‘US Consulate’ in Google Maps for OFC and PAI, respectively

        1. electron says:

          Thanks for the info. I am sure it will help others.

  3. Prat says:

    Thanks a lot for this useful post!

    I have my OFC tomorrow and I’ll be travelling from other city alone, so not sure what will I do with my mobile and back sack since I don’t plan to stay overnight.

    1. electron says:

      I would suggest you make friend of some professional who would be waiting for his appointment after few hours of your time and handover your phone in their custody. Just for the interview you can swap your old phone handset (losing it may not a big deal!)

  4. SUSHANT says:

    I have to pick up my passport
    can any 1 tell me if pick up window is open at BKC mumbai on saturday and sunday beacuse 2/9/13 is a holiday as posed on site

    1. electron says:

      Why don’t you call on the support line and get the confirmation about the availability

  5. Sid says:

    The part about finding the ofc and pai using ‘us ofc’ and ‘us consulate’ was particularly useful. I was trying to find the ofc using the name trade center and having no luck with it, when I stumbled upon this thread. Thanks.

  6. Pravin says:

    On Visa interview day, we can take benefits of “The Stars and Stripes Lounge”. (http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-main-starsandstripes.asp).
    Hope this helps

    1. electron says:

      That’s new for me and GREAT info! Thanks for sharing it pravin.

  7. avathi says:

    The locker facility and lounge has been closed as on 16-jan-2014

    1. electron says:

      Thanks for the update, i will check this and update my post.

      1. Jatin says:

        Is is open now ?

  8. anuj says:

    sir actually I got appointment on 12 mar but my name in appointment conformation is not as per passport… ds 160 form has same name as passport… I want to know …do ofc centre people help to resolve dis problem

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