F1 Visa Interview Experiences

The Uncut Version – F1 Visa Interview in Chennnai Consulate

f1 visa interview questions
> 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 🙂

Next –  F1 Visa Interview at Mumbai – CS at UNCC. Bad Acads, Good GRE

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  1. I deferred my admission to spring and my interview is on 11th Sept. I heard its hard to get f1 for spring is it true? Secondly, is lincoln university oakland, California a good university or recognized university. Pls i need ur urgent reply so i can move on. Tnx to H.S.b

  2. Hello HSB and guys,

    Can you please assist me?

    I am applying for an F-1 visa and I have had my appointment already scheduled. I have also paid my SEVIS fees and have admission for Fall semester which I now want to defer to the Spring semester. I have been in contact with my school and they have agreed to send me a new I-20 should I want to defer my admittance. I however want to kindly ask what would be the best way to go about this.
    Β· Would I need to fill out a new DS-160 form should I get a new I-20?
    Β· Can I maintain my appointment and attend the interview (scheduled for fall semester) and explain to the Visa Officer of my plan to attend the Spring semester instead? I intend to send my new I-20 along.
    Β· Is it possible that I will get the same SEVIS number as I have already paid the SEVIS fee for my current I-20, which I don’t intend to use?

    I will be available to provide further clarifications if need be. Thanks in advance.

  3. PGD, I think, refers to “postgraduate diploma”. U.S. Universities categorise their courses “undergraduate” (Bachelor’s) and “Graduate” (Master’s). So, unlike in India, if you are applying for a ‘graduate’ program in the U.S., you are applying for a Master’s degree program. The term “postgraduate” is hardly ever used; if used at all, it would mean a PhD program. But, generally they tend to refer to these as “PhD programs” or “Doctoral” programs.
    When expressing your preference for one university over another, it is best to stick to the virtues of the academic program of the University you have chosen ; if you get drawn into a conversation about the relative merits of the location, you could say something like, “the weather is warmer”, or conversely, “I always wanted to be in a place where it snowed.” Play it by the ear. Keep it informal without being familiar. Most Americans follow some sport, and sporting references are sometimes useful to ease the tension if they are not forced. But, always be serious about your academic goals. Pretty girls are all very well, but remember why are going to USC or wherever you are going. Good Luck.

  4. Dude Avinash , even I was there for my interview on the 24th of July Chennai consulate , around the same time.
    Are you talking about the pretty girl who was wearing a white formal shirt ??? πŸ™‚
    sad part is she was rejected!!

  5. Good one be… Very happy to know that you got the VISA finally.. you did not tell me about the pretty girl though !! πŸ˜‰ watch out for my experience πŸ˜›

  6. 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.

    Can u please tel what PGD exactly mean?

  7. Great stuff unlike the usual rehearsed crap… Although one risky thing was when you mentioned the choice b/w NJ and LA, the “officer” could’ve been from NJ!

    1. Your reason shows the cultural difference between USA and India.

      Most of them would agree LA is better for a college student than NJ. Even if VO is from NJ, they will not be offended.

      1. I totally agree with HSB’s observation.

        As a separate thought, I personally dislike LA nearly as much as I dislike NJ. OK, I dislike NJ far more than LA. This said, to me, LA/NJ comparison may be obvious for someone living in India, not for me.

        I won’t say why I dislike NJ so much as I don’t want to start another love/hate thread today (had 1 in the past, regulars may know what I am talking about, I bet HSB does)

        I anyday like NY, SFO better than LA/NJ.

  8. It was really helpful. All person who have faced visa interview must write in such detail format. Great work..congratulations!!!

  9. Good luck to you. I admire street smart people like you who are consistently thinking and evaluating instead of being stuck into something.

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