Visa experience of a prospective F1 Student
Name : Perumal
Consulate : Mumbai
Counter : 34
Course: MS in Biomedical
OFC Appointment :
It was scheduled at 8.30 a.m. I reached at 7.45 but was allowed in immediately because of the lack of rush. Documents required include:
- DS-160 Confirmation and
- Appointment Letter.
The process is very swift. Hardly any queue finished in 10 minutes.
TIP: Arrive a bit early, most of the times there is no wait so they allow you to enter early!
Visa Interview :
10 minutes - 5th July.
Ate a good breakfast, and had a glass of juice before leaving my house.
In the Mumbai consulate the line starts from outside the main doors. My appointment was at 7.45, arrived at 6.45 and stood in the line. Waited in the line for about 70-80 minutes to get inside the main visa interview building, since there were about 150+ people ahead of me in line.
Once inside they scan your I-20, passport and attach a piece of paper with your token number, ask you to go into a line to get your fingerprints scanned (since the fingerprints are taken beforehand, the VO does not ask you to scan your fingers after approval of visa).
After this I waited in the area where there were around 10-15 counters. But because it was early morning only one was active. Within 15 minutes though another 8 opened. Because there were 150+ people ahead of me, I had to wait for another 40 minutes inside (the toughest part is this waiting period, where your mind wanders).
About 15 minutes before my number flashed, managed to find someone to talk to which lowered the stress by large magnitudes.
Finally my number was called to counter number 34. A sweet lady in her 40's was the VO.
She spent 2 minutes looking at my I-20, while she was doing so I said Stony Brook University Mam. She smiled and then:
First Question- Why this university, please do not give me a speech.
I want to work under Prof Entecheva who is working on Heart valves.
Oh Wow, that sound so interesting, what method is she using, Stem Cells?
No not stem cells because of the ethics issue and other restrictions, she is using cultured heart cells.
That sounds very interesting, I meet so many students doing interesting research. (spent 10 minutes talking about negatives of artificial heart valves, why this research is very important etc). During the conversation she asked future plans nonchalantly, I replied a Ph.D. since I want to return back to become a professor in the IIT's.
Oh very good, I like your research topic, and I am approving your Visa. Make sure to take your I-20 with you when you arrive in the States, the passport will be available in 3-5 days.
Luckily my visa interview was very short. The guy before me who was going to Carnegie Melon was drilled for 15 minutes before being granted the visa.
- Smile a lot,
- Make a lot of eye contact,
- Lean forward into the counter rather than stand with your arms behind and appear all rigid,
- Find someone to talk to inside the consulate (very important!!!) and
- Eat something before standing in the
- Keep all documents arranged in order so it makes it easier for you to retrieve them if asked.
This year they are very lenient in approving visa because of the bad state of their economy. So chances of getting approved are very easy. While my visa interview was a breeze, at times if you are unlucky you might be drilled. So make sure to be prepared with answers for the following questions:
- What course do you want to study in the USA?
- Which schools did you apply to? (Name them)
- Which schools did you get admission to? (Name them)
- Which schools rejected you and why? (Name them)
- How did you shortlist your universities?
- How did you apply to this University?
- Have you taken assistance from any counselor/agents? - The answer is always NO!
- Why are you going to this University? Or Why have you chosen to attend this specific university?
- Tell me something more about your university and department?
- Have you got conditional or unconditional acceptance? What is the condition university has placed? Will you be able to meet this condition?
- Do you have any senior students studying that this university?
- What is your research interest or what specialization would you like to pursue?
- Which professors are conducting the research that you are interested in?
- What is your academic background?
- Show your mark sheets?
- Do you have any backlogs? How many? Have you cleared them?
- Show us your degree certificate?
- What is your current GPA?
- What do you think why you were rejected last time?
- What was your GRE/ TOEFL score? Give us the break up the score? (If your scores are low then answer the next question)
- Why are your TOEFL/GRE scores low?
- Why are you pursuing a Master's Degree in the US, rather than in India? OR Why do you want to study in the US?
- Why didn't you apply for the Master's degree in India?
- How many credit hours do you need to complete this MS degree?
- What are your plans after the Degree? OR What will you do once you complete the degree in the USA?
- Do you think is it worth studying in the US even during the recessional times?
- Did you apply to the universities in any other country?
- What is the current situation of the industry that you intend to work with after your MS degree?
- Do you have any relatives in the US? Where do they stay? What is their Visa Status? What do they do in the USA?
- Have you traveled abroad before? When? Where? What was the purpose of your trip?
- Who is the lucky mascot of the university?
- Which the famous sport at your university? What is the team called?
- Tell me some about the climatic condition?
- Tell me something about the town/city in which your university is located?
- Do you have any siblings? What do they do?
- What do your Father and Mother do?
- What is your Parent's Annual Income? - You should also know their individual income.
- What is the cost of education per year at your chosen university?
- What is your per semester fee?
- How do you plan to pay for your education? OR What will you do after completing this degree?
- Have you taken any educational loan?
- Do your parents have any liabilities/loans to be paid?
- If you come back to India which companies do you plan to work with?
- What will be your expected pay package after you graduate?
- Give me one reason as to why I should give you this Visa? OR I don't think you will come back?
- What will you do if I do not grant you this visa?
For Students with work experience - take your updated Resume for the Interview.
- How did you get your current job?
- Where are you currently working? What is your designation and since how long are you working? What is your monthly/yearly pay?
- What is your job role/duties at the current organization?