Date: 7th May 2012
Went to the Hyderabad US consulate at 9 AM for a 9:30 interview. After 3 levels of making sure I had the I-20, the VISA fee receipt, Appointment Confirmation letter and SEVIS fee receipt by the staff, I was let in to a counter for the official verification. My first hiccup- I lost my passport in 2007 and I was issued a new one. The previous passport carried a US visa (I don't know the VISA number or the type, neither does my father remember. I was in Chicago the summer of 98 fir a field trip or something). So the lady asked me if I had the FIR copy from when I reported my passport lost. I told her it has been 5 years and none of the instructions asked me to bring a copy of the FIR along. She insisted. I held ground. She asked me to wait for a while while the case is investigated. People who overheard bits of the conversations looked at me curiously wondering what that was about- FIR, Police Complaint, lost VISA, investigation :P
So, I sit there, centre of the hall while every one else was standing in queues for Visa Interview. People who are just coming in look at me confused for a while wondering whether THEY are supposed to sit there like clowns as well. hahah. Waddafeelin! So this woman, after a while calls out my name and passes me my visa and directs me to move on (all the while feeling like Sherlock Holmes or something for "investigating" the case) So I go the next counter give my prints and am asked to wait in the lounge for my turn, rather non eventful.
The token read 10:05 AM - E69 (kinda my lucky number, 69). I sit there in the heat (for the 7k something you pay in fees, you at least expect air conditioning. Right? No.) for two whole hours and a half before my token is called out. I go the the counter and wait my turn. The guy before me, a commercial pilot or something, was put on hold(?). Something about an email and more information required. VO calls me up next. I was amusing myself with the guy in the next counter getting drilled, so missed it the first time. I looked over as the previous guy walked away and VO dude was waving for me to come forward. About about 30ish and blonde.
Dude: How are you?
Me: Good Morning. (FAAAAH! :P In my defense he greeted before I was near enough to hear)
With a slightly amused look, He beckoned at the papers and passed them.
Dude: (visibly already slightly convinced I was a moron) What university are you going to?
Me: Yes. DePaul.
Dude: Whats your percentage?
Dude: 87? good score.
Me: *poker face*
Dude: Did you take your GRE?
Dude: How did you do?
What other universities did you apply to?
Vancouver film school and USC… University of Southern California.
(nods) I'm sorry what was the first one?
Vancouver Fill… oh… It's not in the US.
Why did you choose DePaul?
They offered to waive a few courses and they have this program called project BlueLight that gets students from different unis to collaborate and… (by now he is looking at me intensely. I'm just short of being intimidated )… ummm…. it just works out.
Types away. for longer this time.
What do you plan to do after you graduate.
I want to do my PhD… (was about to add that it might not be possible depending on when my father chooses to retire. But I felt that this guy was for short answers)
In what field?
(a little excited and suddenly interested) Cinema studies? What are you going for now?
Hmm… So what later? (I don't remember what exactly his question was, but I replied so)
My father owns a few businesses. We own a cinema hall.(I don't remember what exactly I said at this point. It was like a conversation) I wish to set up my own production house doing freelance projects.
So where is the Cinema Hall of yours?
East Godavari (?)
Okay. (nods). So who is funding you?
Looks at me wondering if I mean my Mother or father
Mother. My mother (nodding in acknowledgemet)
What does your mother do?
Okay. Your visa is approved on ONE condition.
When you get your Oscar, you should thank the VO at the Hyderabad consulate. (hahaha!)
of course. (Wide grin )
Though that was a lame joke I couldn't help smiling in relief.
You will receive your passport in 7 days. Thank you.
Overall, except for the waiting and feeling like a fool for a bit, I think I was alright.
Like someone else said:
Wear something that helps you feel confident. You don't need formals. I was in jeans, a casual shirt and sports shoes.
Smile. If the VO makes a joke, smile/laugh at it. It does't work it you are tense. So relax.
Don't answer more than you are asked. Comes off as desperate. If the VO needs more info, he'll ask.
US Student Visa Interviews are really Easy.
All the best.