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F1 VISA Processing: My Interview Experience: Part 4

Posted by srinwantudey on June 22, 2009

Hi to all,

I had my Visa Interview on 17th June at 11:00 am.

Address: American Consulate General, 5/1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata – 700071

I reached the consulate office at 10:30 am and join a queue of 5/6 people just outside the office. The security guard ask me to keep my idenfying documents like passport, VI appointment letter, HDFC receipt etc in hand. Then he did some customery job and let me enter into the consulate. Another checking (this time electronic)has been done and I am allowed inside only with my document folder, wallet, pen and hankerchief.

Inside the Interview Room there are 7 counters what so ever. Please have a look over the diagram to have a concept of the Kolkata VI room.

1

At first I am asked to attend the counter 1 to submit the initial documents. There was a smiling gentleman receiving the documents but in a nut, he moved to counter 2 while another man replaced him at the counter 1. He was not that gentle. He started to grill the applicant starting from there.Anyway, he was not that bad though. I submit my HDFC bank receipts, Sevis Fee receipts, DS forms, VI appointment letter, passport, GRE & TOEFL score cards and I20 form. Then he asked me to submit the University admission letter and my financial documents. I had made some mistakes feeling the DS forms (everyone does, need not worry)he had pointed out the mistakes and ask me to correct them. You must carry a black pen, I repeat. After receiving everything, he returned me the pink slip and asked me to seat and wait. Counter no 1 & 2 were responsible for document collection. Counter 3 was assisting applicants with finger print scanning, where the next counter was closed. There were bit crowd that day – I need to wait a bit. Then I had a call from counter 3 where a smiling lady was interacting for scanning. After that I again had to wait. There were manly two counters dealing with the interview – 5 & 6. Counter 7 was seldom calling a applicant or two. The guy, sitting beside me had his call from counter 5. I guess, he had offer from TAMU Mechanical. But his interview was not impressive. It looked so. He was in trouble. A bit long interview and I clearly noticed that, he was returned his passport immediately. Adamn rejection. And all of a suddent  – it was my call – from that cursed Counter 5.

He was a blonde gentleman but not with a big smile. A little tired, I guess as there was a real rush that day.

Me: Hi……..Good Morning! (I need to calculate as it was 11:55 am)

VO: Keep you index finger there (He pointed out to the scanning machine at the window, without greeting me)

Me: Is it fine?

VO: It’s OK. Remove it. ……. (watching my I20)…….. why University of Florida?

Me: Sir, I have a two years of experience in software engineering and database development. I need to have a in – depth knowledge in my area of choice. The course at University of Florida offers good learning and research opportunity in those field which will definitly give me an edge  when I will return back to industry here.

VO: You have 2 years of experience?

Me: Yes, Around 23 months.

VO: You seem to achieve a scholarship (I gave him a big smile), what about rest of the expense?

Me: I have been awarded with 40% tuition waiver from the university and for the rest I have my family funds of around XX.XX Lakhs and I have sanctioned an education loan of XX.XX Lakh from SBI. This is sufficient to cover the expense.

VO: What your father do?

Me: My father was …..XXXX but unfortunately he was died recently.

VO: How long ago? (come a bit closer now)

Me:nearly 3 months

VO: I am very sorry to hear that

Me: It’s OK.

VO: (suddenly nodded his head, my face was pale that time)So, no visit before? (typing something)

Me: No sir, this is my first opportunity

VO: Well, congratulation! I am approving your VISA (keep my passport aside)

Me: Thank you so much

VO: Your passport will be sent to your address (returning my documents)

Me: Thanks sir, Take Care!

That;s it!

Confidence is the only motto. Stay confident, loud and clear while talking. Never miss an eye-contact.And please do not lie to them.

Before interview, just think what are the vulnarable points  you have. Make valid reasons for that and practise a bit. If possible keep some document with you and state the reasons confidently. Trust me, you will be through.

Best of Luck!

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F1 VISA Processing: A step by step guide: Part 3

Posted by srinwantudey on June 22, 2009

This post is for the VI preparation.

What you need to carry for the VI: This list is an exhaustive one which satisfy many a case. Please consider which ever matches you.

  1. Passport♣
  2. HDFC Bank receipts (pink & blue slips)♣
  3. Visa Interview Appointment Letter♣
  4. SEVIS Fee receipt♣
  5. DS 156, DS 157, DS 158 forms (print outs)♣
  6. University I20 form♣
  7. GRE & TOEFL score cards♣
  8. University Admission Letter♣
  9. University Funding Letter (if any)♣
  10. Degree Certificate♣
  11. Mark sheets including Semester, 12 & 10♣
  12. Transcripts♣
  13. CA Statement♣
  14. Bank Statements♣
  15. Loan Sanction Letter if any ♣
  16. Fund Flow Statement
  17. Affidavit of support from sponsors♣
  18. Pass books♣
  19. Bank certificate of FDs♣
  20. Property deeds and Evaluation report♣
  21. Sponsors IT return
  22. Experience certificate from employee if not then offer letter♣
  23. Pay slips of 2/3 months♣
  24. IT returns/Form 16♣
  25. Other university admit letters/I20s♣
  26. Corresponding emails with Professors
  27. Job confirmation letter from employee after return from US
  28. Pension book, Rent receipts, MIS etc.♣
  29. Source of recent high transactions♣
  30. Birth Certificate♣
  31. SOP and CV

The items marked by ♣ are taken by me during VISA interview.

My suggestions are as follows (try to stick with them to have a smooth processing):

  1. Sign the I20 and DS forms before the VI.
  2. Snap your VISA photo as per specification – this is really strict measurement. https://www.vfs-usa.co.in/ApplnForms/RulesAndFees/Specifications.aspx Try to do it by some professional one. For Kolkata guys if you can’t find any one else come to Sector 5 near Webel – you will find US Visa photo studio there. Else every where you will find specialist studio just outside the VISA consulate. But always ask the local shops first. Glue the photo in DS 156 form.
  3. Bring a harmonium folder and arrange your documents inside it systematically.
  4. The affidavit of support should be written in Rs. 20/- court paper.
  5. If you have more than one bank account, try to collect your bank statements in same date.
  6. Keep a black pen with you on the VI day.
  7. Shouldn’t keep any sealed envelop with you. If you have any like transcripts, open it before entering consulate.

Best of Luck!

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F1 VISA Processing: A step by step guide: Part 2

Posted by srinwantudey on June 21, 2009

Now, its time to fill out the online application form. Go to https://www.vfs-usa.co.inhttps://www.vfs-usa.co.in and click on the link “Apply for non-immigrant Visa”. Then continue with the application. You will be asked if you have BEP user ID. Check the “No” option against that. Now create a new application . At any time you can save the application, logout and return later. Just remember that the application info you have saved will be retained for only 7 days. Keep your passport number and HDFC fee receipt number along with you to create the application. Then you will need to fill up 4 forms.

  1. DS 156
  2. DS 157
  3. DS 158
  4. SEVIS Form

To fill out the DS 156 form have a look at the screen shots of my form furnished  below:

Screenshot-1Screenshot-2Screenshot-3Screenshot-4Screenshot-5

To fill out the DS 157 form have a look at the screen shots of my form furnished  below:

Screenshot-6Screenshot-7

To fill out the DS 158 form have a look at the screen shots of my form furnished  below:

Screenshot-8Screenshot-9Screenshot-10

I hope if you use your brain a bit, you can easily fill out the forms. Just Remember a few things :

  1. Write NA if any thing is not applicable for you.
  2. For University Contact  or US contact person, write the name of your Graduate Coordinator in place of “SELF”
  3. While writing address avoid typing special characters like ‘/’ or ‘,’ etc. Use space instead.
  4. In answere to Q. 10  of DS 157 form, write India if you don’t have multiple passports.
  5. Fill the forms using Internet Explorer only.

To fill out the SEVIS form, have your I20 form along with you. Enter the SEVIS ID issued by the university (starts with N) in the application. I don’t have screen-shots though, trust me this is real easy.

Now it’s time to pay the SEVIS fee. Go to http://www.fmjfee.com. to pay this. You can pay this via your credit card. You must print the Sevis fee receipt so please make sure you have a printing enabled in your computer. You may also use a PDF printer. You cannot return to this page later. So stay alert.

After that, take your VISA interview date and print all the three forms and visa interview appointment letter positively. You can also arrange your interview without paying the SEVIS fee but be ready with the receipt before VI.

Bye for now!

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F1 VISA Processing: A step by step guide: Part 1

Posted by srinwantudey on June 7, 2009

Time is on. Time is running fast. It’s already June and I am yet to take my Visa Interview date. I am walking real late. Still I have managed some time to write my VISA experience for my readers and prospective applicants. I will try to cover each and every trivial aspect of my journey, hope it will help others.

The first and foremost thing you have to do is pay the VISA fee. This is payable only at few selected HDFC outlets. You can find the nearest outlet from here. I  visited the Central Plaza HDFC outlet near Minto Park, Kolkata and it is just a matter of 15 minutes or so.

Just remember few things before paying the fee:

  1. Reach the bank before 3:30 pm on weekdays and before 12:30 pm on Saturdays.
  2. Carry your passport along with a photocopy of its front page. Though the photocopy will suffice, it is always better to keep the original with you to be on the safe side.

Now comes the fee instructions:

  1. Visa Application Fee (MRV Fee): US $131 payable in INR equivalent at consular exchange rate.
  2. Service Charge: Rs.374/- which includes VFS’ service charge Rs359/- & Bank service charge Rs15/- (inclusive of Service Tax @ 10% and Education Tax @0.30%)

I highly recommend paying the fee in cash (though DD will serve the purpose) as it will definitely speed up the process.

Well, let’s return to my experience. I went there with some of my friends and only with the passport. I eventually forgot to make the photocopy which can be done free of cost from my office. Luckily there was a xerox centre just opposite to the bank. I made  a photocopy of the first and last page (last page is not mandatory) and then withdrew Rs. 7500 from the nearby ATM. I was not sure about the total amount. Then I walked into the bank and asked an officer about the VISA counter. Directed from there I promptly asked the concerned person for the application form of “Non immigrant VISA”.

The person handed over two forms to be filled in by me. One of them basically consisted of 3 similar pages, one white,, one pink and another blue . The amount to be paid was already written in INR on the forms as per the current rate. For me the amount was Rs. 6550/-  all inclusive. The three forms had carbon papers in between so I would recommend you to fill up the forms with little pressure. I just needed to write my name, date of birth, passport number and amount in words. That other form was nothing but a cash deposit form. All together a mere 5 minutes of cake walk. Then I moved to the cash counter with all those forms , the photocopy of my passport and Rs 6550/- cash. At the counter, they received  all the things and return you only  the blue and  the pink slip with a bar code affixed.

This bar code is activated after two days and is required while feeling the online application. Remember to keep the receipts along with you. You will require those on the VI day.

Bye for now!

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Alternative to us sorry U.S: An experience shared about UK academics

Posted by srinwantudey on April 4, 2009

Author: Subrata Fouzder    Reviewed By: Srinwantu Dey 

** Author has an B.Tech degree from National Institute of Technology, Warangle in Electronics and Electrical Engineering and going to University of Warwick, UK  for M.Sc in Information Management Systems.

             It is very common notions that if you are going out side of India for academic purpose, you are going to do M.S or PhD and you are going to the land of U.S. But, with high competition getting into a highly rated US university become tougher these days.

             But UK and now a day’s entire Europe is opening up for the students of India. As I have applied to quite a few of UK universities and a hell lot of homework, I have able to build a somehow inside out idea about them and of course I would like to share it with you.

            Take the example of me! I have an ambition to do my management degree from a quality foreign university. But frankly speaking, the sky kissing expense chart for an MBA course forces me to step back. You cannot study with burden of a lump sum lone amount on your shoulder. But I never gave up. I was always opted for some quality alternatives and when gaining much information and feedbacks from the seniors, I have decided to go for a Master of Science degree (M.Sc) in Information Management Systems which is quite an excellent achievement if achieved from a top notched university.

            Baring Oxbridge (i.e. Oxford University and University of Cambridge) the other colleges in UK are fairly easy to get in. But as always there is flip sides also but first let us see the positives.

If I rank the UK universities the ranking will be broadly like this:

        OXBRIDGE, London Business School, Imperial College, London School of Economics, University of Warwick, University of Manchester, Durham University, Lancaster University, University of Edinburgh, CAS Business School, King’s College London, University of Leicester, University of Nottingham, Leeds University, Aston University, University of Strathclyde. Beside these there are plenty of other universities like York, Bristol, Sussex, Sheffield and they are decent enough though.

Now comes to the profile to get into OXBRIDGE: You have to seat for GMAT and of course you must possess outstanding academics. Along with those extracurricular activities, sponsors, publications, internships will help immensely.

LSE (London School of Economics): Frankly you can get into it with normal B.com graduate first class degree but you may have to sit for GMAT there, also a score of 650 will suffice and u will be getting the tag of LSE for life time but there some other course baring economics is also there which are not that much renowned.

If you are talking about B Schools profiles, the fast upcoming B Schools are from Warwick, Manchester and Lancaster. They are having world class facility and collaboration with the top universities across the globe. To get into MBA in these colleges you have to appear for GMAT and you have to have job experience of at least 3 years.

But there are plenty of specialized masters course available in these universities which very highly demanding in job market. M. Sc in Operation research, Financial Mathematics, Information Management Systems are on demand. A decent profile with first class and preferably with some job experience will lead you to these colleges and all these courses are of 1 year duration. The tuition fees are around 8 lakhs (according to the current market).

IELTS: For most of them, you must appear for International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and have to score 7 (out of 10), even with a balanced 6.5 will be considered as well. Trust me; scoring high in IELTS is just a cake walk. I will give you more information about IELTS on my upcoming articles.

Let’s have a look over post program curriculums. After the one year master’s course you can get 1 year back up time for searching a job. Yes, the jobs are not that much easy to crack but you can catch hold of any good job that will fetch you 35K GBP. I guess that’s a lot taking into the ROI. Frankly in UK the competitions are quite less and if you have the capabilities and you are coming form good college you will land up with a decent job always.

London is having all the fortune 500 companies plus Edinburgh, Glasgow and Birmingham are having huge financial potentials.

In near future I will be writing about the new tire system which making a lot of hue and cry in the immigration system and I will be also posting my Curriculum Vitae. For your information, baring OXBRIDGE and LSE i have succeeded in all the applications so you can have an idea about the profile that the universities are looking into.

Good Luck!

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