F1 Visa Interview – Luck or Handwork by Velan.
- Date of Visa Interview: First week of May 2013
- Course Applied for: MS in Information Assurance in a low tier school.
- Admission Intake: 13 May 2013 Date when a Decision was made to study In USA: 14 Feb 2013
More Facts before we begin:
- Applied through: Self (No Consultancy)
- Date when GRE was taken: April 01,2013 TOEFL was taken: April 14, 2013
- GRE Score: 300/340 TOEFL Score: 100/120
- Amount specified in I20: $23k approx
Steps before Visa Interview
- As soon as you receive I20, Complete and pay SEVIS fees.
- Complete DS-160 form, print DS-160 confirmation page and F1 Visa Fees payment form (to pay the visa interview fees in Axis Bank or DRUK Punjab National Bank)
- Schedule visa interview as per your location – According to my opinion scheduling VI in a location as prescribed by US Consulate eliminates element of doubt and works in your favour even if you have to apply in a highly scrutinizing location like Chennai.
- F1 Visa Interview date should be scheduled atleast a day after scheduling appointment at Stanley to submit finger prints and photo.
As advised by many students on F1 Visa Interview Experiences, I purchased a multi – packet folder and arranged documents in the following order.
- 1st pouch: DS-160 Confirmation, SEVIS Payment receipt, I-20, Online GRE and TOEFL results
- 2nd Pouch: Acceptance letter from University
- 3rd Pouch: Financial documents – CA Statement, Bank Pass books, Fixed deposit statements
- 4th Pouch: Printouts from IBM and TCS showing their plans to invest in a particular technology
- 5th Pouch: Other photocopies of fixed deposits that have been cancelled to locate sufficient funds to meet the amount reflected in I-20.
As the plan to study in USA was taken only a couple of months ago, I had no other admits from any University except this one.
Here Goes my F1 Visa Interview experience:
Arrived in Chennai on the day of my interview – My friend picked me up – Refreshed and got ready for the interview.
I wore a suit for the interview despite the hot Chennai summer.
My interview was on a Friday at 09:30 am and I arrived at the consulate at around 09:15 am.
In ten mins time we were all let in – After a couple of on-screen Optical Marker readings we were let inside the consulate.
As soon as we entered I was allocated a window number 15 and I stood in queue as the next one to be interviewed.
I really thought that this is another queue for some screening and stood at ease.
While I looked at the neighboring window, I realized that this was a visa interview as everyone of them in the queue were issued a visa. As the current person in my queue moved out after receiving his visa approval, I was waiting to be called in.
VO: Hi, How are you doing?
Me: Hello Officer, Pretty Good sir.
VO: please pass me your passport
Me: Good Morning (I was crazy I know) – passed my passport
VO: Pass me on your documents please (I passed on the documents that were attached together in one of the previous screens- I-20, GRE and TOEFL online marksheets, DS-160 confirmation)
VO: University of ** **, I have never heard of any such University?
Me: Perhaps they are located just besides *** the famous American university
Vo: Do they have any tie-ups between them?
Me: (I never knew anything about it) They do not have any tie-ups but certainly do have an understanding where by students are encouraged to attend classes in other university’s environment and share the facilities mutually.
VO: So you are going to study Computer Science??
Vo: What other Universities have you applied to?
Me: University of North Dakota, University of Cincinnati, Colorado State University
VO: Any admits?
Me: Uni of Cincinnati is awaiting my Toefl scores to consider my application..
VO: Why did you choose this Uni then?
Me: While I decided to do my masters 6 months before, I began shortlisting universities based on curriculum that facilitated hands on skills, non research based classes – I ended up with the universities that I have applied to. As returning to India post graduation is my motive, a better return on Investment with this Uni influenced my final decision.
VO: What were you doing in UK before ? (as the passport had UK work visa stamps)
Me: I was working in *** Bank.
VO: what was your designation and how long have you been working for?
Me: I was working for an year and as a *** Analyst
VO: How much experience do you have in total?
Me: I have around 2 years.
VO: OK bear with me for a second – (took my documents and closed the window – FAKE SCORE CHECK as mine were online score results for GRE and TOEFL – I was the last person that was being interviewed in this window. I was desperate and prayed all the gods to come to my rescue.)
VO: (Returns after 10 mins and began typing continuously without bothering me a second look – I was scared to the core thinking about a visa refusal and after a couple of minutes..)
VO: How are u planning to pay your fees?
Me: A part through my savings and a part through my father.
VO: (Keeps typing.. Looks at me in the eye and takes my passport in his hand) You seem like a genuine student to me. You know frankly speaking this doesn’t sound like a great Uni that your profile is worth. Please bear in mind that you can switch Universities should you receive offers from other Universities and I will suggest you to do so. I approve your visa however.
Me: Thanks Officer – I am planning to commence my journey next Friday will the visa arrive by this time?
VO: You should receive an email sometime next week.
Me: Thanks Again –
2 mins after this conversation I was outside the consulate – Was scared whether he might call me back and cancel the visa issued… I am in USA at the moment – getting started on my courses… will see what it is like here is USA to what it is perceived to be!!!!!!
What I think I did right:
- I wrote GRE and TOEFL though my University did not have any such requirement and had good scores.
- Casually put in words that reflected my intention to return to India.
- My prayers were answered. Sometimes you feel this especially when you return from UK in April and get your visa in May.
Thanks HSB, Thanks to my friends who worked with me every day throughout this stressful period, Thanks to my parents and family members for the support.