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Everything posted by thegraydude

  1. For your reference: Wikileaks "FRAUD SUMMARY - LAGOS" document: https://cablegatesearch.wikileaks.org/cable.php?id=09LAGOS476 I do not mean to be disrespectful towards your country. I'm sorry you feel that way. But at the same time you must remember that I did not do it to incite or offend you. If the Visas are being denied on a large scale (per your statement), there has to be a logical reason for it. I do not agree with your statement that I was being racist. It's like me trying to explain '419 Nigerian email scams' in the class, and someone stands and says, 'you are being
  2. @bbdd2: While you wait for her reply, here's my two cents: Nigeria seems to have a low Visa issuance rate since there are problems of document fraud there. I have heard that it's easy to bribe local entities and get the required documents forged there. The Visa Officers have to reject such people. So, IMHO, if you're documents are in order, you do not need to be particularly nervous about your interview because of your country. Goodluck! On a separate note: Please refrain from thread hijacking.
  3. I graduated in June, 2014 and since then I did a little 'writing' online -- and was paid a few dollars per article. In some months, I didn't write at all, since I was busy with GRE, TOEFL prep etc. Right now, I write 1-2 articles a month online. I do not have a contract, and I publish when and if I want to with this mag. Do you think it is alright for me to put 'unemployed' in my status? In the text-box that says 'specify other', I wrote: 'After completing my graduation, I have mainly been busy with PhD prep. I wrote some papers and reviewed some books.' Any thoughts?
  4. Thanks jujubea. I never thought about it from an 'emergency' perspective. Well, in that case, my parents would support me (since I do not have sufficient funds personally). So according to that, I should put 'parents' there. However, this emergency scenario aside, the evidence in I-20 shows that my department is supporting me, so I was thinking I'll go with that. @jujubea: On a separate note, you answered one of my questions about TAL concerns (information security major). There, in one of your posts, you say 'check your PM', however I never received a PM from you. I was wondering if you c
  5. Yes, that's what I thought as well, my department is "paying for the trip" since they are financially supporting me during my stay. However, in that case, should I put 'self' because the department is going to 'pay me' for my TA work and this is the money that I'll use to support 'myself'. Or, should I just choose "company/organization" and put my school's name there? I'm hoping to hear from international PhD students like TakeruK who would hopefully remember what they put in their DS-160.
  6. DS-160 asks who is paying for your trip. I was thinking they mean 'who's going to cover flight charges' etc. so I thought I'd mention 'other person' and list the details of my parents. However, I saw a guidelines online that says, 'it should be the name of the person that has agreed to support you financially while you are in the US'. Well, in my case -- PhD student with a TA offer -- that would be my department. So now I'm confused whether I should enter 'company/organization' and then list my school's department details, or I should list 'other person' and enter my parents details. Pleas
  7. I think it's not just about "capable of possessing nuclear tech". For example, in one case, a student from India was asked what she's going to study at the US, and she said 'Bio-technology'. Two random questions later, she found out she was placed on 'administrative processing' and had to go through TAL. She was requested a lot of information via email and it took months to process her Visa. I'm not sure if she got it in time for her semester. She said later it seemed that the VO was looking for the 'TAL keywords' and as soon as she said 'Bio-tech', her fate was sealed. I do agree with you
  8. Thank you Fuzzy and TakeruK. I did read that I would be required to show ability to pay for 1st year of school -- and the TA position covers that. However, I was confused because the TA position itself is contingent upon: 1. My continued progress towards the PhD 2. GPA of 3.5 or above 3. Satisfactory performance of TA duties (By the way, do other TA positions have the same conditions or is it just mine?) So, I thought the VO might ask what if the TA funding is taken away if I fail to satisfy these conditions (in the worst case). Sorry, I know I'm possibly over-thinking thing
  9. My department provided the Affidavit of Support to the 'Admissions Office'. So, the I-20 issued to me clearly show my cost (Tuition + Living + Health Insurance) to be around US $30,000, and it states my personal funds to be: '0.00' and 'funds from this school' to be around US $34,000. So, cost = 30,000 and funds from school = 34,000 as part of my TA position. Is there a possibility of VO asking to show additional funds in cases of emergency? Should I be getting an Affidavit of Support from my parents as well (like Masters' students do)? Also, should I be requesting my department to give m
  10. Wow, so do they really Google you while asking you questions during that 1-5 minutes of interview? Does that happen a lot? Alright. I guess it's best if I just reveal everything as it is and hope for the best.
  11. Background: I do security research and have worked (and written articles in magazines) on several 'ethical hacking' topics. For the record, I am NOT a gray hat hacker and I strive to enhance security technology rather than take advantage of holes. One of my seniors warned me not to mention anything about 'security research' during my Visa interview -- not even mention it on the resume. He did not tell me the reason. Problem: Now, I read about TAL on one of GradCafe's topics: "For some fields of study the wait is longer because of a process called TAL (Technology Alert List). If your re
  12. Final Update: I received the I-20 by FedEx 2 days after it was dispatched; still have not received the unregistered I-20 initially sent to me -- most probably lost. Oh well....onward to the next battle: F1 Visa. End Remarks: Students from India (and other 'developing' countries far from the USA) are advised to pay $55 for eShipGlobal (Fedex, USPS, or DHL) lest your I-20 be lost and you wind up waiting, looking towards your door with hopeful eyes of a distressed Bollywood actress waiting for her lover's return. Remember, the person responsible for I-20 at my university told me that I'm not
  13. Yes, this university is one of the biggest universities in the US with around 50,000 students. What I learned is that when you're dealing with a university of that size, it is crucial to know exactly whom to talk to about your concern. I cannot overstate the importance of this. The graduate secretary of my department was of zero help in the matter, the guy at Admissions Office actually made the situation worse, and no other office could help in the matter either--except for the right office, that is, office of international students. Ultimately, my issue was resolved when I talked to the perso
  14. UPDATE: I spent 1 hour over the phone, and 10 calls later, I'm told by the Office of International Students that it is in fact possible to generate a new I-20 and since many students from India are complaining about the same issue, they will dispatch mine right away if I make the payment at eShipGlobal. THANK. YOU. Finally, I made the payment ($55--FedEx) and eShipGlobal will pick up my new I-20 from the university tomorrow, and mostly importantly, I will be able to track it online. On a separate note, to the heartless a******** who didn't think before saying that the university cannot
  15. OK, I called the the Admissions Office and explained my situation-- Me: It's been 6 weeks and I have not received the I-20. AO: Wait for some more time; we cannot go ahead and generate a new I-20. Me: What if it is lost in the mail? AO: It cannot be lost. End of Story. Now, I have declined the offers from the other universities and I'm REALLY worried. An unregistered, untraceable mail from USA to India cannot be lost? Are you kidding me? Now, I don't even know what to do anymore.
  16. Are you sure about this? Because I remember reading somewhere that it is very much possible to get multiple I-20s from different universities, and just showing the one corresponding to the university that you plan to join at the time of the VISA interview. However, accepting offers and then declining them later is frowned upon. So, I didn't do this. But it is possible I think.
  17. UPDATE: I have declined the offer from other universities. Their reply: Thank you for your response, -------. We wish you the best of luck! For some reason, I am feeling very sad right now to have declined these offers. I do realize that other waitlisted students would now have an opportunity and I am glad about that. But somehow, it just doesn't feel good after having sent those 'decline' emails. Only a fellow PhD student can understand how hard we work to get those 'acceptances' and funding. I'm going to need some major distractions today--maybe watch the new season of Game of Thrones.
  18. I have been accepted into multiple universities. University A was by far my first choice and I accepted their offer on 25th Feb. However, I haven't yet responded to the rest of the offers (was waiting for April 15th deadline). Now, university A admitted me and dispatched my I-20 on 5th of March but I have not received it yet and there's very little communication from university A's admissions office. Basically, they just tell me to wait for it. My question is: should I decline the other offers? What if my I-20 is lost? Can I risk declining all other offers when I don't have an I-20 in my h
  19. Alright, the 6th week would be over this week and I sent an email to my department's graduate secretary, that I have been in touch with, asking if she would advise that I request that a new I-20 be sent through express delivery. She didn't reply. Awesome. Until now, I have been in touch with her and she contacted "Admissions Office" on my behalf. Would you suggest that I contact the Admissions Office directly now and ask for a new I-20? Or, perhaps my adviser? Although, I don't want to bring my adviser into this yet.
  20. Thank you TakeruK. I plan to call them to ask for a new I-20 by registered post if I don't get it by the 6th week. This comic is very accurate in describing the F-1 process; box 5 specially applies in my situation. AND, that character 'Tejal' is from India as well.
  21. UPDATE (or should I say no update): There is nothing to update since the package did not arrive yet. It has been over a month. It seems like I was right to be troubled by the fact that the university dispatched the I-20 via an untraceable, unregistered post. I have my doubts about the Indian Postal Service, and I want to know what would happen if the package is lost. Would the university generate and send a new I-20? Would this require some hassle or is it a routine process? <RANT> #!/usr/bin/python TIME = raw_input("Reader, Do you have the time to listen to me whine? (y/n)")
  22. Thank you TakeruK, your replies are always the most informative and thoughtful. I just wish the university had given the option of letting me pay for express delivery. I will wait a few weeks and post an update here when I receive it.
  23. Warning: The following may be considered a rant by an unstable and anxious mind of a graduate student on an emotional roller coaster since June 2014. So, I just got into a great university and as far as the I-20 was concerned, I felt safe in the knowledge that the university sends an email to the international student asking them to choose their preference for sending the I-20. At least, that is what their website said. I wanted to choose, and pay for, express delivery (eshipglobal) that would allow me to bypass the legendary local mail service of India. Ok, I may be exaggerating a bit he
  24. This one is really troubling me these days. I got into two schools of my choice and got TA offers from both (more or less the same amount of money). University A is my first choice and it says "We are pleased to recommend you for admission into the Computer Science department". University B says: "I am pleased to inform you of your admission into B to study Computer Science PhD". I have accepted A's offer; and signed, scanned, and emailed my acceptance to them. However, I cannot decline B's offer because of this recommended for admission clause that A has sent me. That means it is
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