My Experience: F-1 Visa

Mumbai, India

OFC Appointment
Date: Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Slot Time - 17:00 
Out Time - 17:10

I reached the VAC centre at 16:10 and joined the queue for the slot of 17:00. After waiting for about 20 minutes in the queue was let in at around 16:35. Only the appointment confirmation, DS-160 confirmation page, and passport are required. Following the security check, at the first desk, the DS-160 confirmation page is verified with the passport. After that at the second desk, a barcode sticker is put on the back side of the passport, after this, a number is allocated and we need to wait for the token number to appear on the screen.

Against your token number, a counter number will be displayed, proceed to that counter for biometrics and photograph. Biometrics is simple, just follow their instructions. First, 4 fingers of your left hand followed by 4 fingers of your right hand and finally print of both thumbs. After that stand back against the white screen for the photograph. Do not, I repeat do not smile at this point, they want to capture your photograph with neutral expression with their Canon EOS 1300D and 18-55mm lens. (please correct me if the specs of the camera are not correct)

And that’s it, do read the instructions for collecting passport after issuance of your visa and give them feedback before leaving the facility.

Nothing except the documents is allowed inside the facility.

Consular Appointment

The best way to tackle the heat is to book an early appointment slot, do not carry anything except the documents folder.
Date: Thursday May 25, 2017
Time - 9:00
In Time - 8:00
Out Time - 9:15

I reached the consulate at 7:30, and yes visa applicants do arrive early – reach early to be ahead in the queue. The passport will be checked at the entry. After that, you enter the building. A complete security check happens, same like that at an airport. We need to keep our file in the tray which passes through the scanner. If you are wearing a coat, you’ll need to remove and put that into the basket (A guy was asked to do this). Then there is a large waiting area with AC and Fans - NO, no ac no fans one more reason for booking an early appointment  and you’ll be waiting in that area for your call. You’ll be sent to the main room then. AC is too good in there. First, biometric verification and then again in the queue for the interview. This is the last queue you’ll be in, before the interview. Have your passport, SEVIS fees receipt and I-20 handy. Here you can hear the interview of people that are going on. Deep breaths will help.

NOTE: You just need to articulate your reasons for going to the US to the VO, that’s it.

I was very much tensed before my interview like everyone else I suppose, I could literally hear my heart beat but taking deep breaths before reaching the counter made me calm and confident.

Instructions will be given by the staff members to go and stand before a particular counter. You and the consular office are separated by a bulletproof glass, and at the bottom, there is a gap like that at the ticket window, there is sufficient space to put your file aside, yes aside because most probably no document would be asked other than those three. This completely depends on how well you communicate with the officer. The speaker is on the right side, please focus while the VO asks a question so that you don’t miss it, unlike me, I missed the first one.

Counter Number: 25
VO was in his late 20’s
(I provided these two details because my friend told me that without it, my visa experience won’t be
considered legitimate)
Duration: 60 seconds

Yash: Good Morning Sir! With a smile on my face.
VO: Good Morning, Please pass your documents.
Passed I-20, SEVIS fees receipt, and Passport
VO: ..inaudible…
Yash: Sorry Sir, please repeat.
VO: Why the University of Texas at Dallas?
Yash: This University offers a very good course work in the field of Natural Language Processing sir, I did my internship at IIT Bombay in the same field and I want to work in the Field of NLP and ML. Additionally, this university has the Human Language Technology Research Institute, which is one of the very few institutes in the world working towards the development of NLP.
VO: Okay, How many schools did you apply to?
Yash: Sir, I applied to 7 universities.
VO: What’s your GRE score?
Yash: Sir my GRE is 329 with 170 in Quants.
VO: Wow, who is going to fund your studies?
Yash: Sir, My parents are my primary sponsors.
VO: What do they do?
Yash: Both of them work for the Government of India sir, my dad is a Deputy Manager at the State Bank of India and my mom is a Higher Grade Assistant at Life Insurance Corporation, India.
VO: typing…… Sorry, what does your mom do?
Yash: Sir, My mom is a Higher Grade Assistant at Life Insurance Corporation, India.
VO: typing……….
VO: Okay, I am approving your VISA!!
Yash: Thank You, Sir! With a smile on my face.

As everyone has mentioned in their interview experience,
1. Confidence indeed is the key. Answer Correctly.
2. Give a personal response to the question “Why this University?” because every university that you
applied to is good and they all offer great courses, tell them which factor makes your selection
unique among other available choices.

PS: Thanks everyone for sharing their experiences it helped me a lot and I wish good luck to all those
who are going to appear for their interview.


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