This blog has been updated as of 13 December 2020. All the regulations and experiences are post-COVID. The consulates follow CDC guideline, and wearing a mask is mandatory. Hand sanitizing stations have also been added now.
This blog is particularly written concerning students.
We wanted it to be more personally inclined to give you a better insight into the visa consulate. This experience is pretty similar among different students except for the interview timings. Currently, due to COVID, students haven’t spent much time inside the consulates. The consulates are trying to get people out as soon as possible.
The Following blog was written by a former Purdue graduate – Parth Vijayvergiya.
You can read the first blog of OFC/Biometric here – OFC/Biometric Day#1
The Visa interview day.
Even though I got into Purdue, one of the top universities, I was still a little sceptical about getting a visa. I reached the embassy at 10:50; not the best thing to show up that early, but many things kept occurring in my mind at that moment, and it’s better to show up early than to be late.
By the way, if you are curious about what I was wearing that day, here’s a picture from the day.
Many people reached earlier than me. A little chit chat is better to cool down the nervousness. I met this guy who was planning MS in CS at TAMU. By the way, if you get any digital phones, Apple Watch, Fitbit, you have to drop them outside. There was a counter; I am not sure whether the embassy arranged it. But you can keep smaller belongings there. Remember, they do not take any responsibility for bags and other items.
At 11.20 am, the guard there asked people with an appointment time of 11.30 am to come and stand in a queue.
DO NOT TAKE OUT ANY DOCUMENT OTHER THAN YOUR PASSPORT.
Someone sitting outside will scan the barcode they stuck at OFC to confirm that you have an appointment. Then you head to the main gate and have a security check similar to an airport. They will ask you to put coins, wallet and docs in a basket and go through the scanner, and then you go inside and sit in rows. (this might differ due to COVID and from consulate to consulate).
There are washrooms, water and some paid snacks available. I would recommend going to the bathroom because you do not know how much time it may take later. They call you row by row, and you have to follow a yellow line when you walk and stand in a Queue again.
At this point, they will check your passport and ask you to put either your left/right hand on the scanner to confirm the identity. After this comes the 20 counters on which they are taking visa interviews. You will be asked to stand in a line, and one by one, a person will ask you to go to the empty counter.
My counter was #15, and a guy was sitting there. My heart was beating when he asked me to pass the passport. He scanned it, asked me to hand over the i20, and then asked me a single question. That’s it!
INTERVIEW THAT LASTED 40 SECS!
VO: why this university
My answer: Since Purdue has a thesis option and I have more flexibility in choosing courses since 18 credits are for electives.
VO: I don’t understand
Me: Sir, actually the course is divided into 33 credits. 6 for thesis, 9 for compulsory courses and 18 for electives. So I can choose the electives from a list of courses.
VO: Ok, your visa is approved. Here is your i-20
It takes a moment to gulp in such information. Later, I went to the help desk near the exit to know when I could pick up my passport.
They told me I would receive mail on my registered mail address. I smiled, and that’s it, visa approved.
I hope you found this experience useful. Let us know if you have any questions.