F1 Visa application guidelines 2013

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Information about F1 Visa application guidelines 2013

Published on May 2, 2014

Author: sudeshkagrawal

Source: slideshare.net


F1 visa application guidelines

(by Sudesh Kumar Agrawal) Last Updated: 14/05/2013 13:35 (dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm) Please follow the guidelines at your own risk. :P The guidelines pertain to F-1 Visa; for other types some of the steps may be same. Also some steps might differ slightly even for the F-1 Visa. Don’t forget to check the hyperlinks. Do not forget to keep an online backup of all your documents. Step 1: Wait for your I-20 You’ll probably need to upload some financial statement along with your admission letter to get it. Talk to your International Advisor — he may help you in getting it issued early. You have two options for delivery — US mail and Express Delivery. US mail takes 2–3 weeks while the Express Delivery takes 1 week (actual time span though they’ll claim 2–3 days). You need to create an account at University Express Mail Services. The service charges you around $53–$60 (there two options). Once the I-20 is issued you’ll get an email stating the same and they will wait for 2–3 days for the express mail service to collect your I-20, fail, they send it through the normal US mail service. Step 2: Pay the SEVIS fee of $200 ($1 = ₹ 57 regardless of the exchange rate on that date) Once the I-20 is issued you’ll receive the SEVIS ID and the SCHOOL CODE in the mail itself. So, you can pay the fee even before the I-20 arrives. However, you can wait for the I-20 to arrive. You’ll have to print the digital receipt for the OFC (Offsite Facilitation Centre) and the Consular Appointment. Do not forget to collect the hard copy of the SEVIS receipt although it is not required for the VISA interview (Consular Appointment). Step 3: Fill the non-immigrant or the DS-160 form. After creating your application note down your APPLICATION ID and the answer of your security question so that you can retrieve your application later and complete the form in multiple sittings. You’ll require your Surname and DOB also to retrieve your application. There is an option of saving your form as .dat file to do the same. You can start filling this form even if you have not yet received your I-20; however you require your I-20 to complete it. You should not need more than 2 hr to complete this form. It is advisable to print the complete application while you are reviewing it though you do not require it. After you have completed filling out the form you’ll see a confirmation code (which probably will be the same as your application id). Print the confirmation receipt which you’ll be requiring for the interview. The photo thing is still not clear to me. On my confirmation page the photo tag has the following written on it — "Photo will be taken at the ASC.” This may mean that they will click you or it could also mean that we have to get ourselves clicked but do not have to paste the pic with glue and that they will take it during the first appointment. Step 4: Pay VISA FEE of $160 (for F1). Create an account. Fill the form. Most of the fields will be automatically filled but do check if they are correct. For example, in my case I found at the end that I was filling the IMMIGRANT FORM. You require your Confirmation No of DS-160

here (SEVIS ID, Name of the University, and University ZIP code too). You have several options to pay. I chose NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer). So, further guidelines are based on the assumption that you have chosen this option. NEFT typically takes place in batches between 9 AM – 7 PM on weekdays (don't remember for weekends). So, if you transfer after 7 PM on a weekday, the actual transfer will take place in the morning the next day. A new tab/window will open when you choose the NEFT option. Note down your Unique Beneficiary Account Number which probably will be something like TIERxxxxxxxxxxxxx where x are digits. The IFSC Code (BOFA0MM6205 i.e. Bank of America, Mumbai) and Beneficiary Name (BANA MUMBAI US VISA SFA) should probably be the same. However do note down those and check it since these amounts are non-refundable even if there is some mistake involved in the transfer. Also choose CURRENT ACCOUNT (and NOT Savings Account). Once your transfer has taken place you will receive an email saying the MRV Fee Receipt has been activated. Log in and schedule an appointment for the interview and OFC. “Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) locations are used by the visa applicants to submit biometric information including their fingerprints and digital photograph. One OFC is located in each city where the Embassy or a Consulate is located. You must take an appointment in advance before visiting the OFC. You will take an OFC appointment after you take the appointment for U.S. visa interview at the Embassy/Consulate. OFC appointment must be before Consular appointment. OFC appointment must be at least one day in advance of the Consular appointment. In that case, the applicants have no choice but to visit that city twice.” Email your appointment receipt and also download the printable version which has the barcode on it and is required during the appointments. Step 5: Go for OFC appointment on your scheduled day. If you had chosen Mumbai you need to go to Trade Center in Bandra-Kurla Complex (around 4 Km from the Bandra station). You require only three things — Passport, DS-160 confirmation, and Appointment Confirmation. However, do take all your other documents along with you. At the centre the guard will ensure that you do not carry bags, electronic gadgets, etc. inside, and the officials outside will check your passport and verify other documents. Once they let you in you’ll have to go to a counter on the left where some barcode is glued to your passport and some further verification is done. Then you enter some glass cabin where some guard will hand you some token and then you need to go to some official who will see the token and assign you some window where the person will verify the documents, take a photograph, and your fingerprints (ten-printing is done). After that you will be redirected to some counter where the person will try to lure into some service for the interview day after which you can leave through the exit. All this took around 5 min only. Also I had scheduled it at 1 PM but entered at around 12:30 PM. Step 6: Go to the American Consulate for Interview (In Mumbai it’s opposite to the Trident Hotel, BKC) Electronic gadgets, cell phone, sharp objects, etc. are not allowed inside. You are allowed to wear belt (unlike what I had read) and carry your wallet (it shouldn’t contain memory card or car locking key) inside. The queue starts from the outside; however if you are around 1 hr early you probably will have to wait only a minute or two under the sun. Also unlike at the OFC, there are shades at the Consulate (bushes and trees) for people accompanying you (they are not allowed to go inside). Keep your passport, I-20, DS-160 confirmation, and Interview Appointment Confirmation outside and rest

everything inside your folder. Once you are inside you’ll have to wait in a long queue. Don’t worry you have enough chairs and proper shades. Once you are near the final entrance, the officer(s) handling the queue will check your appointment confirmation, fold your I-20 and put it inside the passport and advise you to keep everything else inside. Once you are through the final entrance you’ll be directed to a counter (Counter no 18 or 19, I don’t remember actually) where you have to give your passport and I-20 and she will stick a paper with a token no. the front face of the passport. After that you’ll have to go to counter no 40, 41 or 42 for fingerprint confirmation (either left hand or right hand, it’s alternate for consecutive persons). Then you’ll have to sit and keep your eyes fixed on the television where counter numbers are displayed against token no. My interview session can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/s/qegmekapl5b22hg/VISA%20Interview%20Session.pdf. Some of the general interview questions can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/s/z9dlevc3qtauio3/Expected%20Interview%20Questions .pdf. This list does not cover all the general questions, but only those which I found to be relevant to me. Also do not forget to check the Technology Alert List (TAL). Step 7: Collect your passport as and when you receive a message and/or mail from them. You can also get it couriered for ₹ 300/- (not sure about it though). Take an original government-issued photo ID (I took my PAN card), a photocopy of the same, and printed copy of the appointment letter to the pick-up centre. You have to take it in person. If someone else is collecting it on your behalf you need additional documents too. However, they asked me only the photocopy of my passport. You can go alone with your bag(s) since the counter is outside. Visit http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-loc-passportcollection.asp. Step 8: Don’t forget to collect your SEVIS receipt when it arrives by mail. Also don’t forget to book you flight. :P Note: You will not be allowed to take electronic gadgets, sealed envelopes, etc. inside. So, it is advisable you make some arrangements for the same, preferably take someone along with you (He'll have to wait outside though. :P)

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