> Following Uncut version of F1 Visa interview was shared by Avinash.
July the 24th – After traveling a day earlier from Bangalore and staying over a childhood friend’s place and managing to curb the urge of having drinks with him and indulge in the old times, I woke up at 5 O clock in the morning.
After some fresh air at the Thiruvanmiyur (Chennai) beach and sipping up tea at a local tea stall, I confused myself over the attire and wasted 10 minutes. Finally went ahead with a smart formal shirt and a pair of trousers ( dress smart to be taken seriously ).
Cabbie phoned to inform about waiting at the landmark but to my surprise no one was to be found when I reached.
I don’t speak Tamil and found the wrong cab.
My feeling at this time is ” this is already turning into a disaster ” , since the interview starts at 0845 hrs and it is already 0730 hrs.
Forced to leave the phone at home since they are not allowed inside the embassy.
The effect of the long lasting deodorant and the cologne is already fading as I started to panic and sweat. Went back home to get the phone and call another cab only to find the cabbie waiting right outside. Good positive sign this.
Reached the embassy at 0815 hrs and noticed a long queue outside it.
Vehicles are not allowed to stay around for a long time as the guards come whistling and order you to move it.
I want to get off but cabbie does not have any change…Right !!
Had to be it. Just when these trivial matters start to annoy me, rick guy comes to rescue.
Got off and joined the line.
Straightaway moved into a different queue and asked to submit the interview letter and passport and was handed a token number.
Entered the embassy and sat in the lobby waiting for my number to appear on the screen. Pretty girl arrives and sits right next to me.
Couldn’t hope for anything better to ease the nerves. Funny moment when the power goes off and there is darkness all around. I joke about it to the girl saying this happens at the embassy too.
Right, then my turn comes and I go up to the counter. Person wishes me with a smile and asks for HDFC fees receipt, passport, DS- 160 from and SEVIS fees receipt.
BLOODY b%^&*r ! Where the hell is my SEVIS fee receipt.
The official calms me down by saying that the VO will guide me how to pay it. Over to the next counter where I get my fingerprints done and was asked to move to another building where the interviews are conducted.
As I walk, I curse myself for being such an idiot to forget about the SEVIS fee.
Reached the next building and entered the hall with a sea of people waiting. Could feel the nerves in the hall literally.
Kept looking at the screen. Finally the counter number appears.
Pretty girl is right next to me in the line. Pressure telling on her as she starts wheezing. I make her smile by saying it is very hard for them to deny visa to pretty girls.
She smiles and I see the VO noticing me standing in the line casually.
My moment comes –
Me- (I make the first move) Morning officer ! ( In a strange Yorkshire accent –> No idea where that came from )
VO – Very good morning, You are the first one calling me Officer. How are you doing ? ( I noticed everyone calling him Sir, and I decided to use officer )
Me – I am very well, how are you ? (Made a conscious effort not to lean on the Window as that would come across as too desperate. )
VO – I m good. Thanks for asking. Your passport and DS-160 please. Along with your HDFC receipt and SEVIS fee.
Me – Give me a moment. ( Neatly passed everything to him. Made sure my hands dont shiver while taking out the documents, as it is a sign of nerves. Had all my documents arranged in an order as I knew my every move is being scrutinized. )
VO- Where is the SEVIS fee ?
Me- I am afraid I do not have that officer. Forgot to pay it. Can I pay it now ?
VO- No , it must be paid online. Anyway which University ?
Me – University of Southern California ?
VO- Pass me you GRE and TOEFL score. ( Handed over )
VO – You took these an year back ?
Me – Yes Sir.
VO – When did you do your graduation and from where ?
Me- I completed in 2009 from Sir MVIT that is in Bangalore.
VO – What have you been doing since then ?
Me- I did my PGD for about 3 months and worked in Saudi Arabia for a period of 1 year.
VO – So when did you leave your job and what since then ?
Me – I left me job in Mar 2011 and prepared for GRE for 3 months and had initially planned for Fall 2011 but could not secure an admit as I was a little late in applying. Hence I decided to apply for Fall 2012.
VO- So where else did you apply , which other admit did you get and why USC ?
Me – I applied to Texas AnM, UFL , NJIT and USC. Got admit from NJIT and USC.
VO – Why not NJIT ?
Me – I choose USC for two main reasons. First the amount of external funding my department gets i.e $ 170 milliom dollars. And the second that the unique courses it offers me.
VO – So NJIT does not receive any funding ?
Me – It does but not as much ?
VO – So you chose it only because of the funding ?
Me – Quickly rescued myself from this situation by saying that better funding means better research facilities at disposal. Also the courses and the faculty made me choose USC over NJIT. Also when it comes to a choice between New Jersey and LA, you know the winner. ( VO smiles )
VO – So how do you plan to pay for it and what does you father do ?
Me- Family savings will be my source of funds. My father works for the Indian Air Force.
VO – ( With a witty smile )So you will go back to work in Saudi Arabia after your MS ?
Me – No officer not exactly. The society there is too conservative and a person has to travel all the way to Dubai to have a real drink.
VO – ( Cracks up and nods in acknowledgement ) Yeah I know.
VO – Just a moment Sir.
Hands over a blue form and asks me to pay the SEVIS fee.
Me – Thank you officer, you are a superstar !
I walk out of the embassy and paid the fees right away. Went ahead and submitted the fees and documents as the VFS center.
Shock and horror grips me when I checked my status at the Chennai consulate site.
It said “REFUSED” under 221 (g). I called the support center and they said they cant help much either and that I have to wait till I hear from the consulate.
Two days after I checked the status only to find as “Issued“.
My passport arrived today.
Many thanks to HSB. Gave valuable insights in time of need. If cant really provide a list of Do’s and Dont’s here. If you read my experience you will know them already.
Right, off to the Olympics now. Cheers 🙂
Awesome interview. USC is the right place for you.
So, what happened with that pretty girl?
Maybe, if she is reading this, you can connect with her 🙂
Good see someone a spontaneous interview. Now, wave of people will use officer 🙂