• F1 Visa Experience at Mumbai Consulate


    Following is my F1 Visa Interview that took place on 20th Dec. at Mumbai Consulate.

    My interview was scheduled at 7:45. I reached there by 7 and I assumed I was early but after reaching there, I saw 50-60 people already lined up for their 7:45 am Visa slot. I readied all the documents as the VFS people outside the consulate told us to do.

    I entered the consulate at 7:40 and after all the security checks, I sat in the interview hall waiting for my number to be displayed on the info. screen. From 8:00 to 8:25, I was watching interviews of other people. Some were faltering, some were going great and this made me really nervous. Finally, my number came at 8:25. Incidentally, my number came at the same window I was sitting opposite to. I walked up to the window and waited for my turn. One guy was being interviewed. I couldn't hear him properly but was shocked when he had passport in his hand as he finished his interview. The I got the chance to eavesdrop on the interview of the guy who was standing ahead of me. Here is the brief transcript of his interview

    VO: Morning
    him: Good morning maam.
    . CE degree, pursuing MS in CS. GRE : 1090 and working in TCS and some other answers which I don't remember now

    Final Question VO: What do you intend to do after MS?
    Him: Maam, I am planning to come to India after my MS. The job opportunities are far better here than in US. The competition, challenge, the exposure and the value of MS degree
    She kept typing something and after 10 seconds
    VO: I am sorry. You are not eligible for the Visa at this point.

    Now it was my turn and I was shaking in my boots because of the two rejections I just witnessed. I was beginning to think, "Is there a counter where I can get my VO changed?

    (The following transcript is almost 99.9% accurate)

    I walked up to the window and before I could say anything,
    VO: Good morning. How are you today?
    Me: I am f.... (I got stuck here and could not finish the rest of the sentence. Just kept nodding. As I was watching the VO's befuddled expressions, I decided it was better to lay out my cards right now.)

    Me: Maam, before starting the interview, I would like to tell you that I have a slight stuttering problem. So if I hesitate or ..... you know, its because of my problem.
    (Suddenly out of the blue, she gave me a humongous and very very big smile and I could see the heaven doors opening, popping my passport in, stamping the Visa and giving me back. I was almost 70% sure at that moment that I will get the visa. I just shouldn't screw up anything very badly.)

    VO: Oh.. It's fine. There's no need to worry.
    She kept typing for almost 10-20 seconds.
    VO: So which university you are going to?
    Me: Colorado State ....(stuck AGAIN. The name of the university was clearly printed on that but for some a****** of a reason, it wouldn't come out of my mouth. So I just kept checking my I20. I had my eyes on my I20 for like 10 seconds unable to say the Uni name.)

    VO: It's fine. Could you give me your I20? (I had all smiles when she asked me that)
    VO: Can I have your passport? (I just kept smiling and trying not to break the eye contact)
    VO: Why this University?
    Me: Maam, this university has a very good research infrastructure and a good faculty for courses like Databases, Networking, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, XML and its query processing languages like XPath,Xquery. Also, its one of the uni. that matches my profile and the primary reason is that it has a very good program for RA and TA. (I said all this with a little stuttering)
    VO: But I see that you have no funding from the university.
    Me: Yes Maam. Actually, I started my application process a little late and by then all the deadlines for the scholarships were gone. So I am very much hoping for funding from second semester onwards.
    VO: Who is sponsoring you?
    Me: My father, maam.
    VO: Whats his salary?
    Me: Told her the figure.
    Then she typed for another 35-50 seconds.
    VO: Why this course?
    Me: As you must be aware Maam, Computer Science is one of the biggest boom at the moment. I have already done Comp. Engg. during my Bachelors from University of Mumbai and want to broaden my horizon in the field of Databases, Parallel Programming, XML and the same courses I mentioned earlier.
    She again started typing for another ten seconds.
    VO: Whats your GRE score?
    Me: My GRE score is 1030 and TOEFL score is 112.
    VO: What did you do after your graduation?
    Me: I pursued my PG from University of Edinburgh, Scotland in Computer Systems and Software Engineering. After that I came back to India, worked with Maxwell Systems for 6 months as System Developer. In the meantime, I also wrote a fiction novel "Dreams Come Ture".
    VO: Oh... really. (She said with a wide grin)
    Me: Yes Maam. Its just got published a couple of weeks ago and is for sale on Flipkart and Amazon. Countrywide distribution will take around 2-3 months.
    Then she typed for almost a full minute and I had no idea what she was doing. My best guess was she was checking the validity of my statement on Amazon or on Flipkart. I still kept looking at her but she was looking at the PC. Then came the words I was dying to hear all morning.
    VO. Congratulations. Your Visa has been approved. Your passport will be couriered to you in 2-3 days.
    Me: Thank You Maam. Thank You very much.

    I just couldn't stop smiling the entire way out of the consulate. The day just seemed more humorous and nice then it was ten minutes ago and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face all morning. I know the entire description is a little big but "I couldnt help it"

    Tip: Try not to lie unless you are very good at it. No matter how you speak, try to maintain a healthy eye contact throughout the interview and just plaster a smile on your face no matter how nervous you are.

    -----------------Hope this helps for your Fall 2012 F1 Visa interview .
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