Saturday, May 20, 2006

Visa Interview Advise Blog

I'll morph into Visu and do an Advise Arangam on Visa Interviews.

My visa interviews have always been dramatic affairs, where the visa officers insisted on giving me the visa despite my best efforts to persuade them to do the opposite. Take this MBA visa for example. It was my first husband-and-wife interview. We had a cousin tagging along for his M.S visa. So we start at 10:30 for a 10:45 interview. Got stuck in Doraisamy Road traffic and reached the consulate 5-10 minutes late. No problem! if you tell them your time slot they will expedite you and send you in quickly. May, June, July in India is so baking hot that the effects of morning bath, deodarant and Ponds talcum powder is nullified in the 5 minutes on Mount road where we are required to show our passport and appointment letter. You can see the unity-in-diversity mera-bharath-mahan kind of scenes where people from Bangalore complain about heat and people from Andhra start requesting for winter coats :-). A year before we had to do a gig where there is one line to pay the courier visa and another line which ended up with our documents arranged. Both these lines were in non-airconditioned scenarios. You are literally begging for mercy by the time the documents are arranged and visa fee is paid. I guess somebody in the consulate learned about this 'little' thing called Little's Law and so this year they have made the operations effecient by making you pay the courier fee (and visa fee) early and submit the documents 5 days before.

The scene inside the building is eerie. About 600-700 tense faces. All the glass windows to your right are the interview windows. While the initial windows to your right are B2 kind of visas, the F1/H1 visas are in the far end. We were made to sit in the waiting area and they were calling out token numbers in bathes of 10. Every time a particular interview window became free 10 new people would be called. There are 7-8 windows doing F visa interviews. You can hear all the interview Q & A clearly from the waiting area. When my batch was called, my wife & I were #9 in that batch of 10. The first two people getting rejected wasn't alarming, I could tell before the decision was announced that they would get dinged. But I was distracted by all 8 in front of me getting dinged. And when my turn came there was a slight scanning problem with my wife's photograph. So the officer asked me to stand aside and called #10 dinged him and sent him on his way :-). When we were called again, my mind was positively screwed. I morphed from a confident hawkeye to a bumbling Betram Wooster. After the finger printing got over, the interview went like this;

Officer: When did you get married?
Me: (forget date Stammer...)
Officer: (a funny look on the face)
Me: (Say Wrong date # 1 )
Officer: ????
Me: (stutter...Blabber Wrong date #2)
Officer/Wife: ??????????
Me: (say the right date)
Officer: Can I see your Wedding Registration.
Me: Give wife a desparate look, who in-turn fishes it out like a robot. She is upset that I forgot the date.
Officer: How was the marriage held?
Me: It was a regular...arranged marriage n' stuff (begin to blabber some more non-sensical things)
Wife: I think he is asking how the marriage was *conducted*. (I could sense irritation in her tone. I wonder why?)
Me: Oh!.... in a marriage hall.
Officer: (Amused by now) - Can I see the wedding pictures.
Me: (Hand them over).
Officer: (talks to my wife)(talks to my wife) (jokes) (talks to my wife)
Officer: (to me) So you want to be an Entrepreneur?
Me: (how the hell did he read my essays). .Yes! (I wrote it in my DS-156)
Officer: (cancels all my previous visas. He is not returning my passport. good sign). I appreciate you coming with your wife. We don't like people coming separately. Please tell your friends to ask their spouses to accompany them. The chances of us approving are difficult otherwise.
Me: (shamed and embarassed) Thank you!

Will continue with the actual advise tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

"will continue with the actual advise tomm" .. hehehe... very nice.. I just started reading ur blog yesterday.. very funny and thought provoking too.. some of the posts - I especially liked the one about the salary question in India, nice one... keep writing :)

Anonymous said...

Great review but the last part of your write has gotten me a little worried. I am currently working in the US and am moving to another company C. Company C has applied for my transfer and all that stuff. The problem is I am getting married in August and my wife(or fiance) has an appointment for her H4 on the 28th. I am planning to get my re-stamping done in Mexico or Canada, so she is obviously going to go to the consulate on her own. Do you think it would be a problem?:)

cerisecarnations said...

me had visa interview in hong kong..extremely cute interviewer i must say..:D.did not ask anything abt my study plans ...just smiled all the time.

cerisecarnations said...

oh btw maybe the fact that you had an MS from american univ also worked in your favour..just an observation from your previous posts.

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

That was hilarious, hawkeye!! Absolutely brilliant. And I can quite imagine what scowl you might have invited from your wife with two wrong attempts at the wedding date!! :))

Karthik Sriram said...

a very typical experience....

seems one of my friends parents had been to the visa interview and the poor dad got everything from the company for which his son is working to date when his son left india wrong but ended up with the visa!!

I think the "oppesar" there jsut does a russian roulette before he gives the visa.

P.S: in my F-1 Interview, I was asked about Soccer and why India never did well in Soccer. If it were now, I would have said, cricket, for all the hype is so bad that soccer is a no-brainer.

Anonymous said...

This is my first visit to your blog... and this is the first post i read... i havent laughed out loud like this in a long time... Much thanks! :-)
that was HILARIOUS!!


sexy said...