03/03/2013 09:57:26 AM
Beware of the mistake and the Scam- some people take advantage of your mistake and vulnurability.
The Biometric Interview:
After filling up the form and paying our fees at AXIS bank, we took the online appointment for our Biometric interview at the OFC on my date in January 2013 at 16.30 hours.
I drove down and checked the location 2 days prior. The Trade centre building is more towards Kurla, on the left hand side when coming from Bandra, across the ground on a parallel road. I had to take a left turn at the 2nd signal after the end of Diamond bourse.
On the interview date, I reached the place with my wife, 5 minutes early. I could get a place to park my car on the road opposite the building. I had my office assistant with me. We gave our mobile phones to him and went inside the ground floor office.
We showed them the documents:
1. Passport Original and photocopy
2. DS-160 confirmation
3. Appointment confirmation letter
4. Receipt of payment of fees
Now, something strange happened.
They pointed out that on my DS-160 form the name printed was
Family Name: XXXXXXX
Out here, they said that it has to be exactly as per the passport.
On the passport, in the name column it is Name with Father’s name
That is XXXXX XXXXX (Father’s Name)
I had missed this out on both our forms, in spite of spending 6 days on filling the forms.
They said this cannot be accepted. You will have to refill the form and come back. On asking the way out, they suggested that “there is a cyber café 4 buildings away. You may do the changes and get a new print out. You have only 20 minutes to do that, as we close at 5.00 pm”
I cursed myself, came out and ran towards the café. It is in a low cost housing MHADA building, about 400 meters away, behind the main building. When I reached there, I saw 3 more people already waitin there for the same purpose. There were 2 computers. A guy in his early 20s was sitting on one PC. I requested him to let me use the PC for the form changes, he asked me if I would be able to do it faster than me. I allowed him to do the needful. He was really “pro” at it. He had the US visa site already open. After asking me the passwords and security question’s answer, he started filling my wife’s form. The system is such that you have to re-fill the entire form and not just edit it. He did that at a lightning speed and gave me 2 printouts of my wife’s DS-160 receipt. I asked her to take them and run to the OFC office. When he started filling my form, the site stopped working. He said that this always happens everyday and the site hangs after 4.30 pm. He tried that for 10 minutes. But didn’t succeed. There was one more guy whose form also refused to get uploaded.
I panicked and ran without the changes back to the OFC office. They said that nothing can be done. One guy went in and checked with the superiors and told me after 5 minutes that he cannot help and I will have to try again. He offered to wait for 5 minutes more. I came out, took my assistant and drove my car this time to the cybercafé. I was sweating. I parked and ran into the café. The guy tried again and this time he succeeded. He filled the form in flat 2 minutes. I realized that in a hurry I had made a mistake in giving information about my wife’s form. He filled that we haven’t traveled to any other country outside India, where as we have traveled to m30 countries. This could have seriously affected her chances of getting the visa. This small error also gave me sleepless nights for the next 7 days.
He finally filled my form and gave me 2 printouts of my DS 160 receipt. I asked him “How Much?” The lady next to him said “300 Rupees only” I was shocked, but had no time to ask them a question. The guy was charging 150 Rupees per applicant.
I ran out, drove my car back to the OFC office. Almost gate crashed 1 minute before the closing time of 5 pm. I went inside, gave my bio-metric finger impression and some photos were clicked. My work was over in 1 minute. When I went in both the times, the hall was almost empty.
When I came out, my wife told me that when she finished her Bio-metric interview and came out, the were 4 rickshaw drivers waiting outside, asking her if she needed to go to the “Cyber café”. They were willing to offer a return ride; for a ridiculous fee off course. That is the time when I could think with a stable mind. I also remembered 2 ladies running back to the OFC, when I was running towards the cyber café. She asked me the time and looked really worried. All the things fell into the right place.
The fact is, that there is an ambiguous column in the visa form. They have not mentioned that you have to write your father/ spouse’s name in front of your name, in the name column or they don’t write that the name has to be exactly as per the passport. I feel at least 80% of the people were doing the same mistake. I wasn't the only one.
There are people who are taking advantage of this clause, in the disguise of helping you. The cybercafé, the Auto Rickshaw drivers are a part of the chain. They are fleecing people. The cybercafé is making around 30,000/- rupees every day. The reason to write this in detail is to help people who are already anxious about their visa. It is not about the money, but such a small thing can ruin your happiness and entire plan of travel.
What you can do is
1. Please don’t make this mistake and write your name as it is in your passport.
2. If you have an appointment time of 4.30 pm, reach there 1 hour to 30 minutes prior. There was no one there at that time. I wonder why people don’t get a time for the morning slot.
3. If all this doesn’t work, you can go home, re-fill the form and take a new online appointment. This is much better than getting your form filled by a cyber café attendant in 90 seconds and then keep worrying if has made any mistake.
I called up and wrote an e mail to the customer care. They suggested that you cannot refill the form after the biometric interview. Take the form with you and explain the interviewer the mistake filling up the form.
Wish you all the best.