THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, USA, UNITED STATES, U.S., AMERICA: These are some of the phrases we use to address the country. But for many Indians like me, it was UMREEKA (An Indian way of pronouncing) during our childhood days. As a kid I used to tease and make fun of my brother’s nickname i.e. “Jimmy” because it was a popular “dog name” in our neighbourhood. One day my brother got really annoyed and gave ultimatum to our parents to change his nickname. Our parents told him (just to calm down my brother) that they named him after the popular Umreekan President. My brother stopped complaining and had no effect of my teasing thereafter. Gradually, even i lost interest. It was probably the first time when i heard of the country.
I had no plan or intention of visiting USA during trump rule but sure i wanted to visit USA some day. The main purpose of my visit was to volunteer at Sundance Film Festival.
I heard and read so many disappointing stories of people who had applied for the U.S. visa and how their applications got rejected on no solid grounds. In this post, I’m sharing my personal experience of applying the notorious USA Visa.
Below are the steps i have taken to apply and obtain a U.S. VISA:
Checking the Visa Category
Submitting the DS-160 Form
Next step is to fill the DS-160 Form which is 5 pages long form consists of many questions ranging from passport information, personal and family information, Work and Education information, Travel information and some preposterous security and background questions. Before submitting the form, it is strongly advisable to recheck the filled information twice/thrice and the information filled by you should be true to your knowledge. After submission you will receive an email with the confirmation number.
Paying the US Visa Fees
Scheduling two Appointments
Next step is to schedule two appointments.
First one is for the Visa Application centre to have your fingerprints and photo taken. You need to carry below documents for this appointment:
- Your current Passport
- Your DS-160 Confirmation page
- Your Appointment confirmation letter
Second one is for the U.S. Embassy/Consulate for the Interview. You need to carry below documents for this appointment:
- Your current and old Passports
- Your DS-160 Confirmation page stamped at Visa Application centre
- Your Appointment confirmation page
- Supporting documents: Unlike schengen visa, Issuance of a U.S. visa is more interview based than documents based. The interviewer didn’t ask me to show any documents but it is highly advisable to be fully prepared on your part.
Okay, so here comes the tricky part for me. The latest interview dates available at Mumbai U.S. consulate was just few days before my intended departure date but as i find out we can give interview at any of the five US consulates/embassy in India. Luckily, few much early interview dates were available at Kolkata U.S. consulate. I left with two options: First one is to drop the USA travel plan and Second one is to go all the way to Kolkata and take this opportunity to explore the city since i had never been to Kolkata before but really wanted to visit. Fortunately, i choose the latter option. My first appointment was done at Mumbai Visa application centre only.
A detailed process to apply for a U.S. visa can be found here on the official website: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-visaapply.asp
It was out of the blue question. Firstly, There is no single film who had won. Many films won many different prizes at such film festivals. Secondly, i don’t care about the awards and always remember the ones which left an impression on me. I was not expecting this question and she asked this question in a rapid fire round kinda way. I fumbled for a second and then i confidently told her the name of the film that i saw couple of days ago. Even told her the leading actress’ name. She took my passport in her hands. I thought she’s going to return my passport which means my visa is rejected but she said the golden words instead “Your visa is Approved” and kept my passport for visa processing. I grinned and thanked her. The grinned remained on my face while i walk out of the room and then out of the consulate premises. After reclaiming my bag from the shop, the first thing i did was searched online whether i was right or not. Well, the film i named was indeed premiered at Sundance film festival but it was couple of years ago and No, it did not won a thing. I’m sure she herself don’t know the answer, just wanted to check how much i know. I set out to explore the city of Kolkata with an added excitement. Oh and in case you are wondering about the name of the film, It’s “Life After Beth.”
Hundreds of USA Visa applicants get rejected everyday in India. My suggestion to anyone attending the Interview is: Firstly, It just one opportunity and the world is wide open. Treat it like a discussion/conversation and be confident. For example many people in USA are so full of confidence that even when they are saying something wrong you feel like they’re right 😉 I believe in “Stop worrying about missed opportunities and start looking for new ones.”