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About AstroMason

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  1. I'm in the same situation as you. I asked my department about this and it's a relatively common thing - they'll just write a renewal letter for you. I read somewhere about the maximum length of time for an F-1 visa being 5 years, but don't quote me on that.
  2. Hmm, in my case I wasn't told explicitly that I'd have to go into "administrative processing". For me, I was told that my visa was approved and that I'd get it back any time between 3-5 working days. When I checked the passport status a few hours later though, I was under "administrative processing". I got worried for a few seconds, but if the consular officer has found something wrong with your application, they'd (to my knowledge) tell you on the spot that the application required a bit more scrutiny. Sometimes they might have only found something after the interview - it's quite the black box. In my case, my status changed to "issued" after a day, so it's probably also a generic "final processing" status where they're just checking last details and stamping your visa...
  3. You're right, it doesn't, but I'll be dealing with MIT's ISO for the next 6 years or so. It'd be nice to know what to expect.
  4. Do you mind sharing your experience? I'm curious about what they said in your situation.
  5. I should document my experience here since I've obtained my visa. I'm a New Zealand citizen who applied for the F-1 visa in Australia, so I was applying as a Third Country National, which turned out not to be a problem for me. I submitted my application to the MIT ISO on 24th April, my I-20 was shipped on 9th May from the US, and it arrived at my place on 15th May (Tuesday) local day. I checked the interview dates that day and had a lot of leeway - first interview date was late next week that week. I was waiting on a document from my parents in New Zealand, so I booked my interview for 6th June in another city. I got to the Consulate at 9.10am for a 9.25am interview, but had to wait for over an hour till it was my turn. There's a lot of processing - US sized passport photo, DS-160 confirmation, etc. The interview went like this: - How long have you been in Australia? - What are you doing in MIT? - What are you doing in physics? - What specifically are you doing in astronomy? - Is MIT funding you for the entire time you're there? After that, my visa was approved! Very keen to start the program! Of course, what I've gone through is only meant to be an indication, and in no way represents any one else's experiences other than my own.
  6. I'll be in Physics, specializing in Astrophysics! Incredibly keen for it!!
  7. "What field? Some fields might lead to your application being flagged under TAL, which can take some unspecified amount of time to work through the system with nothing you can do about it, could be weeks or even months." >> I'm in astrophysics - the proposed PhD topic (should have mentioned this) will be something to do with the theory of tidal deformations of neutron stars (I'll explain this better in the interview), so nothing on experimental nuclear physics. "FWIW the I-20 comes from the ISO and not from the department; the MIT ISO can sometimes be mildly incompetent, but they process a whole bunch of these requests right around this time of year and at least for this part, I think you can trust them. " >> Ah, then do I continue corresponding with the department to start the process, or should I start through the department liaison to the MIT ISO? I think I need to go through the department to get some web certificate to start the housing applications and the email account, but that shouldn't be a huge priority since it doesn't work on a first-come-first-serve basis, and the first round of housing applications close around April 28th. "The question will be when there are interview dates newar you; if you're fine for TAL, there's most likely no problem. Otherwise, the sooner the better. " Regarding interview dates, I should be able to go for one within a week (appointment wait time of 2 days?) at the latest of booking them, according to the closest consulate to me.
  8. Hi all, so now that I've accepted my offer to MIT*, I'll work on getting my F-1 visa from Australia. I wrote this in another thread awhile ago, but I'm actually a New Zealand citizen, so I'll be applying for my F-1 visa as a Third Country National which seems to not be a problem. The department has an Open House from 4th April to 6th April, and so they'll be quite busy organising it until then. This also means that they'll be too busy to help me start the process, i.e. with the I-20 form. Is that still alright in terms of the timeline for getting the visa (seems like they're mailing it over too)? Or should I be more assertive in getting it started? * Stating the university out there in case someone has experience pertaining to MIT
  9. That's great! Yes, if there's anyone else who had experience and/or heard anecdotes about others doing this, just leave a comment even if people have already said so - this would assuage mine and future people's concerns!
  10. Thanks both of you for the replies! At this stage, I don't think that being 'stuck' here will be a problem legally. As a NZ Citizen, I'm entitled to work and/or study in Australia indefinitely, I just can't receive the full benefits as for an Australian PR/Citizen. There should be enough time too, once MIT sends me the I-20 form. I suspect they're busy sorting out logistics for those going to the Open House (not me) happening in 2 weeks+, but hopefully I get the form physically by the end of April. I didn't think about checking with MIT ISO, but I've got in contact with them to make sure that it's fine.
  11. Hi all, I'm admitted into MIT and I just formally accepted my offer yesterday, so this is exciting! Now to start this visa process.. So I'll be applying for the F-1 visa. I'm a New Zealand citizen, but I am currently working [research] in Australia. The two countries have close diplomatic ties, so any notion of 'unfamiliarity with the other countries' workings' should not be a concern (I think?). I was wondering if anyone else has applied for an F-1 visa in a country they're not a citizen of, and how that process was like for you? PS: Before someone suggests that I go back to NZ for my interview to avoid worrying about this - it costs quite a bit to go back!
  12. Hi all, I got admitted to MIT and I'm just trying to find out more about the housing options. I'm from New Zealand and Australia (complicated), so I'm hoping my chances of securing graduate housing is high since I'm from pretty far away. I haven't seen anyone talk about how Tang Hall/Ashdown House/70 Amherst St/Sidney-Pacific are like over the last 1-2 years, so... Tang Hall is really affordable, but I've heard bad stories about how rundown it can be - I also heard it's been renovated very recently though, so how is Tang Hall like now? For the record, I'm looking for a living arrangement whereby I have my own private bedroom, but sharing an apartment (i.e. has a kitchen) with one person, and at most 2 people. 70 Amherst St has a shared kitchen in the hallway, but I'd like to know how intrusive/annoying that can be?
  13. Hey all! I've just been accepted for an interview with the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy at the University of Amsterdam. Has anyone gone through the PhD interviews before? I learnt about the program for the two days where the 1st day consists of presentations (30 students x 20 minutes??), and the 2nd day is for interviews with a panel. What is the interview like?
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