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F1 visa interview - Your opinion?


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Hello, I hope everyone is fine :)

 

I would like to share my visa experience because I am a little bit concerned with my interview. I was admitted for PhD studies

in Computer Science at Univ of Minnesota - TwinCs. As a short note, I already had a J1 visa issued before 1.5 year without

any delay.

 

I had my F1 interview done yesterday at the US embassy in my country (in European Union). I thought I had all of my documents in folder but I forgot

to take with me a bank note which was showing that I have personal funds of $500 (the amount was written in my I20). As a matter of

fact, the lady who first gathered my documents (passport, photo, I20, Sevis fee) told me that the VO will request this document.

I replied that I understand that he will request it and I can bring the note if I instructed to do so.

 

When the VO called my number, the interview did not took more than 3 minutes. He asked me the following:

1) Why I am going to the US

2) If I am married

3) If I have relatives in the US

4) If I have ever been in the US before

 

After I gave the answers, he asked me if the university will pay my salary (although he had an expression like: "I can see this information from

your documents and I ask you just for the records"). I think that after he saw and canceled my old J1 visa he did not asked me anything else 

and we were done.

 

Now comes the interesting part: I asked him if I got the visa and he told me: "I can not really say if you did because there is

some background checking to be done, if everything is ok then you are fine".  He also asked me if I knew how I will pick-up my passport.

However, when I returned home I saw that my visa status is set to "administration processing".

 

I understand that a missing document will delay the process (since I will have to submit it in a later date) but the VO didn't mention anything about

the missing document (maybe because my income from the assistantship is greater than the estimated expenses, even without considering this

small amount of money I have as personal funds) nor he gave me a 221(g) paper nor I received any email from the embassy. Could the administration

processing be a typical initial visa status or there is something that I will be notified in a later manner?

 

Any opinions? Thank you very much!

Edited by paparazzi
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Well, they took your passport so they're not flat out rejecting you. If all this is is the missing document, it should go smoothly once you submit it, because after all we're talking about a relatively small amount of money and if nothing else in your file raised suspicion then this would be just a formality.

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Thanks fuzzy! Everything else should be fine as long as I am concerned. I am worried because without the visa I can not set up my travel plans and the last day I can afford not have the visa is around the

beginning of August...

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I understand :)

Did they not give you an estimate for how long it will take to process your visa? If it takes more than 7-10 business days I think it'd be fair to contact them and ask, maybe even ask that they return your passport until the process is complete.

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Hmm, not really, I do not remember the VO telling something special about my case or giving a precise information. Only when I asked him about my visa result he made comment on background checking (I would say that he did not say anything about a special check in my application). My status saying "administrative processing" is what makes me nervous. Indeed, I will contact them in about two weeks and I hope that I will hear something good.

Edited by paparazzi
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Hello, I hope everyone is fine :)

 

I would like to share my visa experience because I am a little bit concerned with my interview. I was admitted for PhD studies

in Computer Science at Univ of Minnesota - TwinCs. As a short note, I already had a J1 visa issued before 1.5 year without

any delay.

 

I had my F1 interview done yesterday at the US embassy in my country (in European Union). I thought I had all of my documents in folder but I forgot

to take with me a bank note which was showing that I have personal funds of $500 (the amount was written in my I20). As a matter of

fact, the lady who first gathered my documents (passport, photo, I20, Sevis fee) told me that the VO will request this document.

I replied that I understand that he will request it and I can bring the note if I instructed to do so.

 

When the VO called my number, the interview did not took more than 3 minutes. He asked me the following:

1) Why I am going to the US

2) If I am married

3) If I have relatives in the US

4) If I have ever been in the US before

 

After I gave the answers, he asked me if the university will pay my salary (although he had an expression like: "I can see this information from

your documents and I ask you just for the records"). I think that after he saw and canceled my old J1 visa he did not asked me anything else 

and we were done.

 

Now comes the interesting part: I asked him if I got the visa and he told me: "I can not really say if you did because there is

some background checking to be done, if everything is ok then you are fine".  He also asked me if I knew how I will pick-up my passport.

However, when I returned home I saw that my visa status is set to "administration processing".

 

I understand that a missing document will delay the process (since I will have to submit it in a later date) but the VO didn't mention anything about

the missing document (maybe because my income from the assistantship is greater than the estimated expenses, even without considering this

small amount of money I have as personal funds) nor he gave me a 221(g) paper nor I received any email from the embassy. Could the administration

processing be a typical initial visa status or there is something that I will be notified in a later manner?

 

Any opinions? Thank you very much!

 

What documents did you take? I-20, Sevis fee receipt, passport, anything else? (letter of admission?)

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@MPPgal: Yes, they kept all of my documents. I do not remember if the same happened the previous time I took a visa (J1).

 

@Andean Pat: They only asked for my passport, a 5x5 cm picture of my face, my I-20, my DS160 and my SEVIS fee receipt. They didn't ask my letter of admission nor my grades, degrees and visa application fee (I had them with me). 

Edited by paparazzi
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  • 1 month later...

Administrative processing is usuaally "Background checks". Tehy run you through various federal/state databases and also the customs and borders database. It is usually to check if the applicant has any criminal history. This usally clears up in a week or two for most people.

 

Definitely update us :)

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My interview lasted less than 5 minutes. The questions were basic: Where are you going? What type of degree? Where did you learn English? Where are you staying? Ta-da!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys,

 

Since most of us will be funded by the PhD programs, did anyone of you had to bring or show your financial proof? Like a fixed deposit, to prove that you have the financial ability to live in the US without working illegally? I remember it was required and I did bring a proof of my parents' fixed deposit, when I did the F-1 VISA for my undergraduate studies, which makes sense because my parents and I had to pay all the tuition fees and living expenses.

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Hi guys,

 

Since most of us will be funded by the PhD programs, did anyone of you had to bring or show your financial proof? Like a fixed deposit, to prove that you have the financial ability to live in the US without working illegally? I remember it was required and I did bring a proof of my parents' fixed deposit, when I did the F-1 VISA for my undergraduate studies, which makes sense because my parents and I had to pay all the tuition fees and living expenses.

 

Yes, in my I-20 appeared how much I would need and how much I was given. They checked this. Fortunately, it was just enough, otherwise I would have had to show a  bank statement with my savings in US dollars, which banks here do not provide. 

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Yes, in my I-20 appeared how much I would need and how much I was given. They checked this. Fortunately, it was just enough, otherwise I would have had to show a  bank statement with my savings in US dollars, which banks here do not provide. 

 

So you are basically saying a bank statement was not required during your interview because the stipend you will be receiving and the estimated living expenses were both shown in your I-20, and the stipend > expenses? Did you bring any bank statement anyway?

 

It is hard to believe that I have not received my I-20 YET. I have been bugging the international office about this since May and last week I finally received an email saying that it has been completed and been mailed out to me. However, it was sent by regular air mail and no tracking information is available. I literally spent every night of my bedtime worrying about this.

Edited by zs3889
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So you are basically saying a bank statement was not required during your interview because the stipend you will be receiving and the estimated living expenses were both shown in your I-20, and the stipend > expenses? Yes. This was basically a clever move from my Office of International Students: I receive stipends for 10 months so they issued the expenses needed FOR TEN MONTHS (not twelve). All this is shown in the I-20.

 

Did you bring any bank statement anyway? No, my bank does not issue bank statements in another language, least of all in US dollars (since it is so volatile here). 

 

It is hard to believe that I have not received my I-20 YET. I have been bugging the international office about this since May and last week I finally received an email saying that it has been completed and been mailed out to me. However, it was sent by regular air mail and no tracking information is available. I literally spent every night of my bedtime worrying about this. That sucks!!! My I-20 was mailed a Friday and I got it the following Tuesday. Anyway, the Program Associate ('secretary') was kind enough to send me a digital version of the I-20 for my records. 

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Thanks for the detailed answers. I am just curious, why will you be receiving only stipends for 10 months in a year?

 

To be honest, I am hugely disappointed by the international office at the university that I am attending. If there was ever an evaluation, I would rate 2/10. I have been sending emails to them, asking about when will my I-20 be ready, and all I got was 'you need to be patient', 'it will be completed very soon', all that kind of crap.

 

Mine was mailed on last wednesday (well, that's what they 'told' me), and it's still not here. Hopefully it will come this week and I'll be able to schedule a VISA appointment next week.

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Thanks for the detailed answers. I am just curious, why will you be receiving only stipends for 10 months in a year?

 

To be honest, I am hugely disappointed by the international office at the university that I am attending. If there was ever an evaluation, I would rate 2/10. I have been sending emails to them, asking about when will my I-20 be ready, and all I got was 'you need to be patient', 'it will be completed very soon', all that kind of crap.

 

Mine was mailed on last wednesday (well, that's what they 'told' me), and it's still not here. Hopefully it will come this week and I'll be able to schedule a VISA appointment next week.

 

Have you tried speaking to someone on the phone? They tend to get a LOT of email and calling them up (at least in my case) yielded a more direct answer after they actually looked at my 'file'. (I had a similar but less severe delay but they gladly updated me of the status over the phone and after a couple of weeks, I had my I-20.)

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Thanks for the detailed answers. I am just curious, why will you be receiving only stipends for 10 months in a year?

 

To be honest, I am hugely disappointed by the international office at the university that I am attending. If there was ever an evaluation, I would rate 2/10. I have been sending emails to them, asking about when will my I-20 be ready, and all I got was 'you need to be patient', 'it will be completed very soon', all that kind of crap.

 

Mine was mailed on last wednesday (well, that's what they 'told' me), and it's still not here. Hopefully it will come this week and I'll be able to schedule a VISA appointment next week.

 

You're welcome!

 

That's too bad your international office isn't as effective as one should expect. Maybe you can speak to your program associate who can clarify this inconvenience, I did everything through her. I only got e-mails from the IO when she did not knwo the answer and forwarded my queries to somebody there. Could it be that you are sending the e-mails to a 'general' account and you could get a straight answer from an officer's one? In my case, I looked in the webpage for the staff in the office and could identify who was suppose to follow my questions and paperwork. 

 

And, to satisfy your curiosity, yeah, stipends for 10 months :( 

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Have you tried speaking to someone on the phone? They tend to get a LOT of email and calling them up (at least in my case) yielded a more direct answer after they actually looked at my 'file'. (I had a similar but less severe delay but they gladly updated me of the status over the phone and after a couple of weeks, I had my I-20.)

 

Well, I did not call anyone, just emails. Now that I was informed that my I-20 was mailed out last week, all I can do at this moment is simply wait for it to reach. The worst thing is that, it was mailed out by regular airmail, which has no tracking information available, and god knows when will I be receiving it.

 

 

You're welcome!

 

That's too bad your international office isn't as effective as one should expect. Maybe you can speak to your program associate who can clarify this inconvenience, I did everything through her. I only got e-mails from the IO when she did not knwo the answer and forwarded my queries to somebody there. Could it be that you are sending the e-mails to a 'general' account and you could get a straight answer from an officer's one? In my case, I looked in the webpage for the staff in the office and could identify who was suppose to follow my questions and paperwork. 

 

And, to satisfy your curiosity, yeah, stipends for 10 months :(

 

I did speak to the graduate coordinator from my department in the beginning, and then she directed me to the international office when I started asking about my official letter and I-20 questions. I think the international office is actually the one that should be in charge of these matters.

 

At first, I was sending emails to a person from the international office. A few weeks later (after many times of telling me 'to be patient', and I was patient but I lost it finally), I started sending similar emails to several people from the international office. Guess what, same outcome. All I got was stuff like 'it is still in the process', 'we have many I-20's to process, yours is still in queue', 'you need to be more patient', 'we are trying everything we can'........

 

It has been a week since it was mailed out to me, and I have not received it yet. I emailed to ask for a digital copy last night and I was told 'we can't send I-20 over email because it is not secure'. I mean what kind of cr*p is that? Sending through email is not secure, and the original copy of my I-20 being mailed out by regular airmail is considered secure?

 

sorry for all the bragging, I am utterly disappointed and just trying to get some help over here.

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