Interview date - May 2015
Location - Chennai
Purpose - Doctoral program in US
Dependent - J2 for wife and son
Here is sharing my experience of J1 student visa to USA. Mine was 1 of the rarest of rare cases where I had a private organization that is not my current employer sponsoring me for study. I have not been able to locate any documentation of such case anywhere on the internet and hence sharing my experience with you all.
My doctoral program was not funded by university hence I was required to create a source of funds. Through my network I found a private organization which was willing to fund me (for more than 50% of tuition plus living expenses for the whole family) in return for minimum 3 yr employment contract with them in India after finishing doctoral program. I had saved to fund the remaining part myself. The sponsoring organization, its legal advisor and me realized that J student visa will suit our needs the best since it necessitates (in most cases) return of the student back to his country after the course is over. Another advantage of J1 visa is that spouse of the J1 visa holder can apply for employment authorization in US. I have read that in most cases the employment authorization is granted (in my case too it was granted within the timeline specified). I was happy since this would ensure that my wife does not remain unemployed in US even as I study.
Since my objective was to return to home country anyway, J1 student visa suited me. I understand that the clause of returning to home country after finishing education can be waived off if such a request is made.
I was apprehensive if university will accept private organization which is not my current employer as sponsor to issue DS 2019. Though I had read on various websites about this being an acceptable practice, my university had not clearly stated or agreed to this. However on submission of all documents viz. letter from sponsor, sponsor bank statement, my bank statement and other university forms, we were (me & my family) were issued DS 2019 by the university.
The DS 2019 I received had mistakes. I wrote to the university and they sent me the corrected form. The fresh form and the original were a bit different in their content and hence I decided to retain both.
The visa application process after receipt of DS 2019 is well documented on various websites hence I would not elaborate on it.
For my visa interview, I ensured that I had impeccable documentation which included the following
Primary documents set that I created
- DS 160 with bar code
- SEVIS fees receipt
- Form DS 2019
- Visa appointment confirmation letter with bar code
Supporting document set
- Documents to support sponsor’s commitment and financial ability
o Sponsors letter (original). Ensure that when sponsor issues a sponsorship letter to university, you are in the CC and hence you also receive an original copy of it.
o Sponsor’s bank statement for last 6 months
o Employment contract document
- Documents to support my financial soundness
o CA’s certificate about my asset valuation.
? Liquid assets - Money in bank
? Other liquid assets - Securities, MF, PF
? Immovable assets – Properties etc
? Other movable assets – Gold, silver, vehicles, furniture etc
Note - I had to pay good money to CA for this, however I was not asked for it by the consular. I am not sure if this is needed. My visa consultant had repeatedly mentioned to me that this is not required since it’s not considered very reliable by the consulate.
o My bank statement showing balance to support the 1st year’s fund needed
o Last 3 month salary slips
o IT return acknowledgement of last 3 yrs
o Form 16 of last 3 yrs
o My PF statement
o My LIC statement
o My shares/MF statements
o Print of the mail by program director mentioning that they were considering me for research assistant’s position.
- Documents related to academics
o Photocopy of DS 2019
o GRE and TOEFL scorecards
o Original transcripts along with original degree certificates
o Original marks cards of all courses attended
o University admission confirmation letter
- Other documents
o Marriage certificate
o DS 2019 of wife and son (they did not apply with me, they applied shortly after)
o Son’s birth certificate
Note - Out of all the above documents, the consular asked me only for my primary documents. He did not ask for any other supporting documents.
Preparation for visa interview –
I had looked up the internet and prepared answers (by writing down answers exactly the way I would be saying them) for questions asked for J1 visa (most of these were relevant but others were suitable for other kinds of J visa and not J1 student visa) and questions expected for F1 student visa.
Appearing for the interview -
- You might know that visa process in India is conducted across 2 days. I went 20 minutes before scheduled time on 1st day for finger printing. We were however let in with a delay of good 20-25 minutes. Hence the wait in queue outside the VAC, on the road was really long, tiring and embarrassing. I also felt insulted for being made to stand on the road for such a long time. Hope the consulate takes note of this and ensures that appropriate waiting arrangements are done. The process after getting in the VAC was quite quick.
- On the next day my visa interview was scheduled for 9.30am. I reached just 10 minutes before schedule. I was asked to go in immediately while there were many others waiting as they had arrived too early for appointment. My guess is that in mornings the ‘on road’ wait time is relatively less. Hence for morning appointments you might want to go just a few minutes before time.
- Finger printing was done again inside the consulate before the interview. I guess it was just a check to ensure that the same candidate has walked in for interview.
- Within 15 minutes after finger printing I was before the consular. He was a cheerful gentleman. I greeted him with a smile. He asked me for my passport and DS 2019 only. He then asked couple of very basic questions like
o Which course are you planning to do?
o Who is funding your education?
I answered both questions confidently. He then signed on my DS 2019, made a mention that 2 year home residency was required due to country skill list and congratulated me on my visa approval. He handed my DS 2019 to me, retained my passport on which the visa was stamped in a few days and sent back to me. We have been in US for last 1 year now. My wife got a job soon on arriving here. I am engaged in the full time doctoral course and son is in pre school. Will be happy to answer any questions or help others.
Interview date: Sep 7, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM
Purpose: Short-term training program by company (XXX) at their US office
Dependent: J-2 Visa for wife
The queue outside the embassy is typically very long and you won't be allowed to join the queue till ~30 mins before the interview appointment time, so make sure you arrive appropriately esp. if it is a very sunny / rainy day. Alternatively, carry umbrella. Also, not to repeat but don't bring any backpacks, electronics incl. mobiles, charger, earphone etc.
Once inside, they scan the fingerprint and check the passport before making you join one of the interview counter queues.
VO: Good Morning
Me: Good Morning
VO: Hand me your passport and DS-2019
VO: What do you do currently?
Me: I am a consultant with XYZ in their Mumbai office
VO: And are they sending you to US?
Me: Yes. I have been offered a short-term management consulting traineeship by my company in their Atlanta office
VO: What sort of a training is this?
Me: It is a structured training program to work in an advanced consulting market, learn those skills and bring them back to India. I will be working on projects as an apprentice in the ongoing projects
VO: What sort of projects are these?
Me: These are management consulting projects.
VO: What exactly is your project?
Me: The project has not been assigned yet, however, I will join one of the projects that will be floated at the time I reach there
(Long interruption as another VO came over for some doubt, took ~3-4 minutes)
VO: Sorry for the interruption (Smiles). How long have you worked for XYZ?
Me: A little over 2 years
VO checks my passport and sees that I have an active 10-year Canada business visa
VO: Have you travelled to Canada?
Me: I had to go for a business visit, however, it got cancelled at the last moment. However, I have an active US B-1 visa as well in my old passport and have travelled to US twice.
VO: And how long have you guys been married? (I applied for J-2 for my wife)
Me: 21 months to this date
VO took a stamp, endorsed the waiver for residency requirement on our DS-2019 and then signed both our DS-2019
VO: Guys, you are all set. Have a great trip
Me: Thanks a lot. Have a great day
What worked for me (probably) was that I work for a very reputed management consulting firm (Top 3 in the world), had enough stipend / housing / insurance coverage by my firm and have a degree from IIM & IIT. So it was pretty smooth.
VO: come forward me: good morning sir, how is your day ( the time is 11:20 am)
VO; which university u applied for? me: Governors state university
VO: where is it located? me: its in Illinois, University parkway(and i have bank loan of 20 lacs(here i did not say" educational loan") and > i have 2 others sponsoring > and I have Scholarship of 10lac from the state Govt of andhra pradesh for the marginalazied Families and students who want to study abroad.
VO: sorry, At this time wer can not aprove ur visa and u will be given 214B Me: alright thank you.Have a nice day.
I was disappointed..for my poor performance...i walked back with passport i-20 and and 214B with a fake smile on my face
I forgot to smile, even he is not smiling but just kept asking and kept answering
My english is little breaking too but better.
Please help me in where i have gone wrong..and how i should be telling the officer
Please help me frame my financials, my father is 2.5lac he is retd employee, got 10lac of Govt scholorship, Cousin brother is Sponsering me he has 11lac savings with income of 16lac per year, uncle(peddananna) fathers brother he is retd doctor has income of 4lac and fixed deopsits of 20Lac....next time when i apply what should be tell the officer with what i have? please comment
I had applied to a US college for fall 2016 semester but I didn't get the visa. Now I am applying to a different college for spring 2017 semester. I wanted to know if there was any way for me to transfer my SEVIS fee that I paid last time to this college.
F1 visa rejected twice asking me to make any significant changes in my application please suggest
Hyderabad consulate 10am slot.
Me: good morning officer.
Vo: good morning young man how are you doing?
Me: I'm doing good air
Vo: pass me your application
Vo: typed something in his computer and asked me so what's your purpose of to travel?
Me: to pursue my masters degree in industrial engineering.
Vo: how do you know about western Michigan university?
Me: I have checked the university websites and also I have contacted seniors studying in the same college and they spoke high about the university.
Vo: he asked some thing and I didn't get that.
Me: sorry sir I didn't get that. Could you please repeat that for me?
Vo: what would you be doing after your master's?
Me: I wasn't clear of the question but tried to answer it saying that would be working In a production based company Since I'm passionate working with machines.
Vo: how would you support and who is your sponsor?
Me: my father is my sponsor.
Also I have an education loan of 20 lakhs to support my graduation.
Also my dad have savings of 8 lakhs.
We do pf Amount of 9.3 lakh.
Vo: still do you have any other documents?
me: I said , I have a property valuation certificate from CA and we do have a property close to 2 crore.
Also he asked my under graduate major also my gre score as the second question.
He handed me 214b form and said my visa application is denied.
I wasn't sure what went wrong in my case and re-applied again on july 28th.
time 11 AM.
Me: good morning officer
Vo: good morning
Vo: pass me your passport and i20.
Vo: so western Michigan university right?
Me: yes sir.
Vo: How do you fund your education?
Me: I have taken education loan of 20lakhs and 16lakhs savings in my dad's account. That will be sufficient to fund my education.
Vo: so when did you attend your last interview?
Me: it was on 7th july sir.
Vo: can I see your loan sanction letter?
Me: showed and he examined for 10 seconds and gave back the letter.
Vo: last time you showed 8lakhs cash and now you say you have 16 lakhs where did the extra money came from.
Me: we have agricultural lands and my uncle takes care of it and he transferred the amount which we came from agriculture.
Vo: reapply if you make any significant changes in your application.
Gave back my passport and handed 214b form..??
F1 visa rejected on first try. Approved on second try.
Hello Everyone, I’m sharing my experience as when I was preparing for my interview I also learnt quite a lot from reading student experiences. First of all I would like to say that US visa interview preparation can be quite nerve wrecking and the interview itself can be very intimidating so my first advice is for you to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I say worst because I think that once you are prepared to be rejected and have a clear future plan and other options in hand the confidence level will increase.
So the first time I went to the interview the experience was as follows.
Visa Consulate : NEW DELHI
Date: 9th June 2016
Me: Good Morning Ma’am.
VO: Good Morning. Tell me about the university you are planning to go to for your MS.
Me: University name and information about my course.
Vo: How many Uni did you get admitted to and why this uni
Me: Tell them the uni names and then explain about my uni and about its curriculum and professors.
Vo: Who will be sponsoring you
Me: My parents.
VO: what is their annual income.
Me: state their annual salary income ( I think this where things started going bad as I did tell her their total income including the interest income and also I think she was trying to ask how they can sponsor me which I did not tell her about in detail.)
Vo: Have you ever been to US before?
Me: Yes. Tell her the time and the reason. (I get the year wrong and because im nervous I can not remember the damn year I visited US. So I try to improvise and tell her that as I was a kid I might not remember the year correctly)
Vo: Asks about my sister in US.
Me: Explain her job.
Vo: Sorry I cannot approve your Visa.
Me: Thank you Ma’am. Can you let me know the reason Im being declined the visa.
Vo: I don’t think you are financially strong enough.
Me: Thank you Ma’am . Have a pleasant day.
So this was nerve wrecking and I was devastated because I come from a very and I mean very rich family and to be declined a Visa for financial reason is quite embarrassing. I think this was because I did not tell her about my liquid assets and my parent’s financial position. She did not have a look at any of my financial documents. So I learnt my lesson and decided the next time Even if the VO wont ask for the documents if I think they are not convinced I’ll insist them to have a look. Also I decided that their was no point keeping silent or in explaining less so when I get the next chance Ill make sure I tell them all that I find appropriate.
Date: 1st July 2016
So the second interview did not start as a fairy tale as I got to the same counter as my previous VO. I was totally knocked out of my shoes but luckily they don’t allow the same VO to take the interview again so I was sent to a different counter.
Me: Good Morning Ma’am.
Vo: Good Morning. So tell me about the course you are planning to study.
Me: Explain in detail about the course and a few majors without using many technical terms.
Vo: When did you finish your bachelor.
Me: A year ago.
Vo: What have you been doing since then.
Me: helping my father in his business of S/W and data processing and now we have decided its best for the future for me to pursue my MS.
Vo: Explain you fathers business.
Me: Explain to her in detail about my parents business and I even add in their net worth the companies turnover and also the liquid assets available.
Vo: Can you show me some financial docs:
Me: I hand her my CA report. And explain how my parents are happy to sponsor me and how I’m their only son and both my sisters are well settled and independent.
Vo: Give me sec. (Goes and talks to the old lady that rejected my VISA.)
Vo: So are you taking any loan?
Me: No Ma’am as my parents are financially well off and the business is doing well I wont require a loan.
Vo: So no loan documents?
Me: No Ma’am . I explain to her in detail about my liquid assets again and then add in that I have enough amount in my own account to sponsor my own education at least 1 ½ years along with cost of living.
Vo: Okay , Your Visa Is approved.
Me: Thanks Ma’am.
In my experience If you guys think that the VO is not being convinced please do not hold back and explain to them everything that you feel is appropriate. If you have a genuine case and know every detail then you will feel more confident and can explain much better.
Hope this helps someone get the visa.
Disclaimer: Please note that the experiences presented are submitted by visitors to our website. Individuals’ experiences may vary, and you should interpret each individual’s experience at your own risk. Do not make a decision solely based on an experience posted here. We do not endorse any individuals’ experiences, and we are not liable or responsible for consequences stemming from your use of the information presented within any individual’s experience.