F1 Visa Experience by Rohan.
- Date – 8th Nov 2011
- Place – Mumbai.
- Interview Time – 9:30 AM
- Academics : 58% with as many as 7 KTs
- GRE – 1350 (790+560)
- TOEFL – 105
Reached consulate at 8:30. There were separate lines for various visa slots. Different line for those who had it on 9, a different line for those who had it at 9:30 and so on..
They took us into the main line around 9:15 and were admitted inside shortly after that.
The standard security check after that. Went in, was handed the wooden stick. Was directed to a counter where i was given the pink token and the documents that I had submitted at VFS.
Was asked to get into the line where fingerprints were scanned.
That took about 15-20 minutes. Documents submitted at the VFS were again taken from me and submitted directly at Counter No 1
After getting my fingerprints done; was asked to wait for my token no. to be called out. It was 9:50 by then.
Scene at the consulate
Way too many families. Just too many of them. Handful of students and a few other guys. Counters 3 to 11 were open for visa interviews.
Announcements were done in a very low volume and numbers were difficult to understand. There were kids crying, announcements in Gujarati, and the main hall was overcrowded.
There was an Asian chic at counter 3 who rejected couple of students and few families. I was hoping to avoid her.
A middle aged man at counter no 4 was taking interviews for 5-8 minutes but was accepting most applications.
At around 10:05 my number was called out at counter 5. Rushed to this counter. There was a girl in front of me who went in. Was interviewed for 3-4 minutes.
Those were the toughest 3-4 minutes for me. Suddenly I couldn’t hear anything except for my heart beats which were pounding heavily.
This girls visa was accepted. Now it was my turn
Actual F1 Visa Interview
Time : 10:10
Went in. Another middle-aged man, who probably looked like Adam Sandler from Zohan. He was sharp.
When i passed the token he searched for my docs and ultimately found it. Pulled them out.
Me – Good Morning Sir.
Vo – Hm..
VO – Purpose of your visit
Me – To pursue my Masters in Computer Science at Univ of North Carolina at Charlotte.
VO seemed to have a difficult time handling all the paperwork. Was a bit frustrated. Saw my I20 and typed frantically. Made facial expressions looking at the screen, that would scare anyone.
VO – Why this university ? (Stared at me for a long time)
Me – I have opted to study in UNCC on account of its good reputation for XYZ and ABC. UNCC houses one of the biggest and most advanced labs for Graphics and Visualizations. The professors are very well qualified and I am very eager to learn under the guidance of Professor Wartell, Chen and Deng. (Fumbled a lot while answering this)
VO – Other Universities
Me – Syracuse, Clemson, Worce (was interrupted)
VO – Admits
Me – University of Houston, Southern Methodist University and Binghamton.
VO – Who’s your sponsor
Me – My parents. Their annual income is XX Lac Rupees
(Probably didn’t hear this and asked me to come close to the microphone)
Me – MY PARENTS WHO HAVE AN ANNUAL INCOME OF XX Lac Rupees
VO – Where do they work?
Me – [email protected]#@#$ ( wasn’t clear at this point i so was asked to repeat )
VO – Whats your Dad’s job description ?
Me – Told.
VO – But what does he exactly do
Me – Told.
By this point i knew that he must have made up his mind. I wasn’t so sure either. He held his pen over my application either to write ‘A’ or ‘R’
VO – Did u give any tests?
Me – Gave GRE and scored 1350 with 790 in quantitative
(Wrote A on the document and threw it someplace behind him)
VO – Your visa has @#$#%$$%$$%^ (I couldn’t hear anything and just knew that since he kept my passport it must be an accept. Then in the background heard “3-5 days”)
I rushed out of the cubicle as quickly as i could. But the damn door would open.
VO said – It opens on the outside.
Me – Thank You Sir
No questions on academics, backlogs, no score cards asked, no documents or passbooks asked. Interview took about 3-4 mins.
On my way out i was smiling. Had chills when I got out. My friend was waiting for me. High-Fived him and called as many people as I could.
F1 Visa Tips
- Try to take Visa appointments in the mornings. Well you can’t control the interview time because I think its first come first serve on the vfs site.
But when a date opens up take it asap as there are high chances of your interview timing being in the morning.
- Get to consulate 45-60 mins before the visa time. Because even here its more or less FCFS within your batch.
- Take someone along; maybe a friend, parents or who ever. He will help you if there is some running around to do. Hold things that are not allowed inside the consulate, etc etc.
- If your time is before 10 I don’t think there is any particular need to take the VFS lounge service. But it may come handy to those who have visa interview after 11 coz it really gets hot and you tend to get frustrated in the line.
- Be confident. Have all the originals. Be clear and loud. Wear formals / semi formals. Look smart. Smile.