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*****A Wonderful And Stoical Journey From FALL' 2016 To FALL' 2017*****
(Long Post but Worth A Read as it’s the Most Unique Visa Exp Ever )
First Attempt Mumbai Consulate 26th July 2016 Counter No- 31 VO: Good Morning Sir..!! (VO was a lady in her mid 40's) ME: (Passed my Passport & I20) Good Morning Ma'am... How r u? (With a smile) VO: How many Univs hv u applied? ME: 5 Univs Ma'm.. SIT, RIT, SMU, GMU And NEU (all full forms), out of which I selected SMU. VO: Why did u chose this particular Univ? ME: The main reason would be the beauty of their course curriculum, I found it to be very varied & diverse in nature as it covers all the imp topics right from Telecomm Networks to Wireless Communication standards. -Also, their course curriculum splly emphasizes on core network topics like MPLS, BGP & VPN's (Full form), these topics I am very keen to learn. -Apart from this, I've recently learnt from their website that they have updated all their network labs with the latest Cisco Devices. VO: When did u complete ur undergrad? ME: Ma'm, I had completed my undergrad education in 2011. VO: 5 years... [Frown look & Eyes wide open] u've worked for 5 years since then.. "'That Very Moment I Realized I'm Fucked'" ME: Yes Ma'm, I was associated with an IT firm named XXX as a Network... (Interrupted) VO: (In a complete off-mood) so why do u want to do yur master's now? ME: Ma'm, after all these years of my exp, I realized my knowledge still remained very basic & surfacial... I (Interrupted) VO: Who r ur sponsors? ME: My father, he is a Govt Employee & his annual income is XX lpa. VO: (showing I20) This is a huge amt (~46$), how is he suppose to pay for ur tuition fees? ME: Ma'm for d funding parts, I hv fixed savings worth (double the I20 amt) in terms of fds, pf and bank balance... (Interrupted) VO: I'm srry sir... I cannot approve ur visa... didn't allow me to say a word, asked me step aside and called in d next guy... Meanwhile I stood completely Shocked.
It took me a while to recuperate frm d trauma & ordeal n since it was my 1st Visa rejection, the ensuing failure hit me too hard. On 1 hand, I had all my frnds excited abt their approvals & making awesome plans abt their 1st visit to US in our whatsapp grp, on the other hand, it was me (silently reading all their msgs) sitting alone forlornly cussing my fate, wondering as to what exactly went wrong & why it always has to be ME??? I, later on, decided to try agn but was too late as all slots were post orientation so had to defer my admission to SPRING' 2017.
Second Attempt Mumbai Consulate 1st Nov 2016 Counter No- 24 ME: Good morning, Sir! Hw r u? (With a big smile) VO: (a guy in his 30's) Good morning...Sir! Which program hv u applied for? ME: Sir, it's Master's in Telecommunications & Networking at SMU. VO: Apart from SMU, where else hv u applied? ME: SIT, RIT, GMU And NEU (full form) VO: So, why this univ only? ME: Said d same ans verbatim & word-by-word from d 1st attempt. VO: What's your GRE Score? ME: Told VO: How do u plan to fund your education as the amt is quite high? ME: Sir, last time I had only 1 sponsor... dis time I've added 2 more sponsors to corroborate my candidature. For the fundings part, same ans as stated earlier. VO: (Started typing) Handed over the docs, Sorry sir, I cannot approve ur visa. ME: Sir, may I pls know the reason? VO: (Handed over a 214b) Everything is mentioned in it, Sir.
Heads down & Crestfallen took my docs & walked away. I Tried agn for my next Visa Interview assuring myself that irrespective of the outcome, this would be my "Last & Final Attempt".
Third Attempt Mumbai Consulate 24th Nov 2016 Counter No- 30 (not sure) VO: (A Black African kind of guy) Good morning (no smile at all)... ME: Good morning, Sir! Hw r u? (With a big smile) VO: Why do you want to study in USA?? ME: Sir, their course curriculum are highly practical & research oriented. Also, they have world class & state-of-the-art infrastructure... (Interrupted). VO: Why not study this course from some other Univ (Indirect Ques... why did u chose dis Univ?) ME: Same ans as above. VO: Did u ever travelled by plane? (Sounded more of a silly ques but had to ans) ME: No sir, Not yet. VO: What r ur plans after Masters? ME: (Tried to act smart & changed my ans in d last min to assert my non-immigrant status.. BIG MISTAKE) Sir, After my Masters, I intend to fly back to my country and setup my own firm in networking field (with a big grin). VO: So, why do u want to go U.S then, u hv such gud exp, why not start yur firm staying here itself and make local connections... wudn't dat b gud? ME: (Clean Bold) Didn't know how to surmount this Ques... Stood still for 2 mins, thinking abt a convincing ans. VO: (meanwhile) Srry sir, I cannot issue u visa..issued me 214b (Saw this coming)... didn't felt much sad this time as I was used to rejections by now.
But "M.S in U.S" Dream was officially over for me now. I started seeking alternatives as I was very keen to study further & upgrade my knowledge base. Attended few seminars by Australia & Canada Univs, also as a backup applied for MBA in Telecomm Mgmt at Symbiosis & was placed in SITM'S 1st Merit list declared in March'17. But all throughout, my Inner Voice/ Intuition/ Heart (whatever u may call) kept screeching me frm inside on how can I give up so easily & that too at the last moment. I shud try agn.. evn if I fail, I'll only loose a few minted notes, which can be earned later. So, listening to my heart's divine voice, I agn booked my slot & was ready to face the VO one more time. Hence, buckled up for my penultimate Interview.
Fourth Attempt Mumbai Consulate 16th Dec 2016 Counter No- 32 VO: (A sweet lady in her 40's very friendly & cheerful) Good Morning Sir!! (With a big smile) ME: (handed over my docs) A warm Good Morning Ma'am!! VO: So, how did come to know about this univ? ME: m srry... can u pls repeat d ques ma'am... (This was just to buy me some time to think as this ques was unanticipated) Ma'am, I hv my few seniors studying over there, they actually recommended me... (Interrupted but I kept on saying) So, I went online, browsed for their courses & found them very relevant to my profile (Interrupted Agn). VO: (with a loud voice & smile) It's OK sir! I got you...! ME: ohh.. m srry Ma'm.. my bad (WE both laughed) VO: why do you want to go for this univ? ME: Ma'm as stated earlier, their courses are very relevant to my profile n... (Rest ans remains the same.) VO: What was your GRE Score? ME: Told VO: What do your parents do? ME: Told VO: How r they sponsoring u? ME: Exact Same ans abt funds as stated in earlier attempts. VO: Do you have an education loan to fund your education? ME: No Ma'am, I believe it's not reqd as I hv all the reqd supplies to fund my education for 2 years. VO: (Starts typing) After sometime, I'm srry sir... I cannot approve ur visa! ME: (started getting desperate, evn pestered n beseeched her), Ma'm if u can give me jst 1 chance I can explain u all my funds clearly. VO: (A bit Angry) Sir, I've told u yur interview is over! You may leave now. ME: Ohh... m vry Sorry Ma'm (with a huge fake smile.)
1st time, when I walked out of d consulate, I wasn't melancholic at all, infact was Delighted within to see a ray of hope amidst darkness as I cud finally figure out d cardinal reason behind my incessant failures. VO's specific ques abt loan was a subtle innuendo fr me that I need to hv a loan, if I want my Visa approved. But, it was too late to get a loan sanctioned in such a short notice, so had to defer my admission agn to FALL' 2017. Even my Univ's Associate Director warned me that It wud b d last deferral opportunity bestowed on me, so had to play accordingly. Likewise, Got a loan sanction letter frm a bank n booked d earliest avail slot which I could procure, thought by doing this, I'd b able to give atleast 3-4 attempts before I go All out with my last deferral opportunity, without realising that It wud be way too early to even try for it.
Fifth Attempt Mumbai Consulate 6th April 2017 Counter No- 36 VO was a 30-35 yrs old convivial and friendly person. ME: Good Morning, Sir. How are you? VO: Good Morning.... F1 Visa o_0 (with a surprised look & a confounding tone). What changes have you made in your profile this time? ME: Sir, I have sanctioned an education loan worth XX lakhs to cover my expenses for the entire 2 years. (VO started typing) After completing my sentence, Sir, May I show you my documents (with a smile)?? VO: Wait Sir, It's OK. I'll tell you when to show. VO: (Looking at my I20) So, Southern Methodist Univ... Why did you choose this univ? ME: Same ans as above (Just 1st two points n Interrupted) VO: (Started Drilling) I know a few pple doing d same course from d same Univ, & evn they said the same thing abt their courses. What spl or distinguishing feature u found in this Univ dat made u opt it?? ME: Yes Sir, I was about to say thaT but u interrupted me. Actually Sir, the foremost reason is that I've recently learnt from their website that they have updated all their network labs with the latest Cisco Devices. I personally liked this step a lot, as it is directed towards providing us with hands-on training & exposure on all the latest equipments used by corporates today. VO: Well... U did ur undergrad in 2011 and were working with xxx since then. Then why u want to do MS now? ME: Initially, everything was very interesting, I got to learn a lot many new things in my ***. But as time passed, I realized my knowledge remained stagnant, I felt I was just adding numbers to my Exp. Also, I intend to setup my own firm, I believe I may have the exp but m certainly lacking d reqd knowledge & exposure, which can be obtained only by pursuing a masters' degree!! VO: OK! what do your parents do? ME: Told about both of them. VO: May I see your sanction letter?? I handed over my letter & he started perusing it, leaning back on his chair. After a while, he started to read the screen. Something caught his attention, he took my I20 & he started to read the screen very closely, And then all of a sudden, I'm sorry sir, I cannot Approve your visa now you might have to come again, we have a policy that we cannot issue visas prior 120 days of the program start date. And In your I20, it is mentioned as 21st August (started typing). (I was like if my visa gets rejected for this reason, then it would be the stupidest reason ever. Let it be, is baar kuch jyada hi ghai ho gya, I'd wait for a while & then try agn later. But.. bc.. how come I nvr came across any such policy. ) VO: I was checking your previous case logs, it's mentioned u weren't able to meet d financial requirements earlier, since you have a loan now that shouldn't be a problem anymore. but you came way too early. (Agn started typing). [I shud've surmised that earlier, as all pple in the queue were either too professional with suit, boot, ties & multiple stamps on their passport for H1B Visas or either were accompanied by their family for Tourist Visas, I was probably the Only "ONE Student" out there]. ME: (Dejected & in a despondent voice) Sir, Actually I was preparing for some Networking-related certifications, so thought to attend the visa interview as early as possible, to focus completely on those exams. I was completely unaware (I stopped at that word). VO Still typing on the screen. A sudden thought crossed my mind and I instantly quipped... Sir, It is possible to issue me visa later after approving it. I mean to say since my financial requirements are now met, so can you approve my visa now, then just keep it on hold for some time, And once when we enter d 120 days window, issue my visa then. Also, I believe this won't violate any policies as such. So, can that be done Sir??? VO [started thinking (looked quite unsure though) & was murmuring something abt following the process, cudn't hear him clearly]: Wait here for some time, I'll just come. VO went inside, took my I20 & loan sanction letter. A family standing behind me, smilingly looked at me as to asking what exactly is happening out there?? VO took nearly 15-20 mins, meanwhile, I was quailing down with fear as to why is it taking him so long. VO returned & said Yes, that can be done Sir, but I see an issue over here, u will have to come agn (with a sarcastic smile). Your loan sanction letter expires in June, well before August & this could create an issue with your funds. After a small hiatus, can u provide us with a written statement from the bank that they will disburse your loan even after the sanction letter expires? ME: Yes Sir, definitely! But loan disbursal shud not be a problem, Sir. You said 120 days prior... means somewhere around May and my letter expires in June. So, let us assume, if u issue me a visa in the 1st week of May, evn then we have 1 complete month for the loan disbursal process to get completed. (VO agn started typing). ME: (trying to convince more) Sir, I spoke to the Bank Official... (Interrupted) VO: Ohh... you did. ME: Yes sir, and they told me that I need to submit my Visa copy & my loan wud b disbursed within 4-5 business days. So, in this case, evn if u issue me Visa in d 2nd or 3rd week of May, then also we wud have ample of time to disburse my loan, so I don't really see this as an issue at all. But then, yes a written statement from the bank can always come handy sir. VO (said something very slowly, his words went bouncer) I need to check that, wait for 5 mins. I'll be back. VO agn went inside (this time to his right) with my sanction letter only. The consulate was nearly empty with only 3-4 applicants including me. The family which stood behind me, this time gazed upon me (all 3 of them), as if they wud kill me d moment I stepped out of d consulate. They were then shifted to a different counter by a volunteer, their interview ended in a jiffy & I saw them hurling outside. After waiting for quite a while, VO came back with a huge smile. VO: It should do fine Sir. We won't be needing the statement. (VO took out a pamphlet & penned down all my details from the screen). While writing he made a mistake and said (with a big smile), it is so difficult to read & write at the same time. ME: As a student, I can very well understand that sir! (We both laughed). VO: (While writing) You, probably, wud b d 1st applicant to be getting a student's visa then (Smiling). As I don't think, we hv started interviewing any Fall candidates as such. ME: Ohh wow! That sounds great sir! Thanku sir!! VO: You need to submit ur passport & this pamphlet in the dropbox at the visa appln center where u had yur biometrics done. Do 1 thing submit a copy of I20 also. Make sure u submit yur I20 Too (VO emphasized) after 1st May. You will get an SMS alert abt when your passport is ready for collection. (Handed over my Passport, I20, Sevis Receipt & '221g' pamphlet) ME: Thanku Sir... Thank you so much. You made my day...(Interrupted) VO: And remember sir, u cannot enter US prior 30 days of your program start date. ME: Yes sir, that part I know. I'm srry, its just in my haste, I missed d 120 days "wala" clause (I did say wala ) but I'd be more careful henceforth. Thanku agn sir... U ROCK Sir (VO Burst out with laughter). VO: Congratulations! HAve a wonderful stay in the US. ME: Bye... tk care... Hv a nice day Sir!!!
Came back Grinning all the way and then Cried a lot, pour my heart out in those sanguine tears, as 1st time in Life I felt like a "Winner" & finally realised what "Dreams Come True" truly feels like!!!
Lesson Learnt: No matter how Low and Down Life Drags you... Never Ever Give Up on it, Keep Trying... Keep Failing... and One day, Life itself will pull you up to Success. I had spent more than 50K of my hard-earned money on just these interviews. It was not a wastage, but an investment for a Resplendent Future. Believe me guys, In the ***, it's all worth the effort!! This is what I learnt from myself during this Entire Visa Experience
Got a token number of 16 >> (1 + 6 ==7 ) its my lucky number VO: Hello Sir !.. How are you doing today ? Me : Fine Sir VO : Can you pass me on your i20 and passport Me : Yes sir , sure VO : Which university Sir ? Me : Valparaiso university VO : Why this university? Me : This university has got the specialization relating to my work experience . And also the courses mobile computing and cyber security are related to my experience . They also have a 3D virtual education system ,where students are taught virtually in a 3D virtual world. VO : When did you graduate ? Me : 2009 VO : What you have been doing all these years? Me : I worked in few companies and currently working in TCS VO : Since how many years have you been working Me : 1.8 years sir VO : Whats your previous company prior to TCS Me : told the company name VO : What all universities you applied Me : Harrisburg , Longisland brooklyn, Concordia university and Valapraiso VO : Whats your GPA Me : 64 % VO : Whats your GRE? Me : 297 VO : How are you sponsoring your education? Me : Through bank loan from syndicate bank and my father would be sponsoring my living expenses VO : Whats your father ? Me : He works in state organization as supervisor VO : Whats his income? Me : told XXX lacks VO : What about savings ? Me : He has XX lacs in form of FDs and XX lacs in his PF account . VO : What kind of work would you like to work ,once you come back. Me : I would like to work on mobile application development relating to augmented and virtual reality technolgy. VO : OK sir ..thank you . your visa is issued. Me : thank you sir , thank you.
Left the counter with lots of joy and enthusiasm. Was on the top of the world as that VO made my day.