I wasn’t able to sleep last night. I was “over thinking” my F-1 visa interview, completely convinced that they were going to deny me. For what reason you might ask? – For spending too much time in the U.S the last couple of years.
I arrived at the embassy too early. My appointment time was 10.10 am, but because I was afraid of getting lost (it was so easy to find!) I left home early and was in front of the embassy at 9.30. Since it’s not allowed to queue up before appointment time I decided to walk around the streets. I noticed a nicely dressed young man coming out of embassy, talking on his phone and saying something about ‘lack of paper’. This added to my insecurity, because how can such a nicely dressed man be turned away because he didn’t have proper papers.
30 minutes later I arrived and I did see a small line of people outside. Two dark dressed security guys checked our passports and gave us instructions regarding the security check. No phone, cords or any electronic devices are allowed into the embassy.
I started conversing with another man, who was there for a business visa interview due to a conference in California. I was surprised that he too had to get a visa despite it not being ‘work’ and only for a 6 days stay. Proves to show how important it is, always to be aware of rules and regulations and your purpose of travel – so you don’t end up getting denied at border/customs.
After handing your phone etc. to some other security guards and yourself and your bag have been checked (like in the airport) you’re let inside a relatively small waiting room. Inside there was about 15 people waiting. You get a number and you wait for your name to be called. It took a very long time! —- Once it was my turn to get ‘checked-in’ I asked the woman, what time it was, only to find out that I’ve been waiting for 1 hour 20 minutes. During your check-in, you’re asked for your SEVIS fee and MRV fee receipts, your passport, your confirmation of visa application, your I-20 plus any other documents relating your financial situation. Also remember a medium-sized envelope already stamped. The woman asked me how I was going to pay for my stay, and a few questions regarding my visa application (change of my name when I was teenager, plus my experiences with my previous work) Then she told me that all the papers were going to be handed to the consul, who would be the one making the decision of my visa.
At this point I was really nervous. But then, my new friend (the guy with the business visa for 6 days) pointed out that Henrik Qvortrup was there applying for a visa. He’s probably not very known to Americans but in Denmark everybody knows and have an opinion about his work as a editor-in-chief at one of our colorful tabloids, his skills (or lack of) as a journalist etc. I thought it was interesting when I saw that he was turned away and came back 15 minutes later. Apparently he didn’t have all his papers in order either. I heard him say to the woman behind the counter(with his broken danish/english accent): “Yes, I am a journalist. But I do not know if I am famous!” … That made me giggle out loud. Really, Qvortrup?
Anyways, side track …
After my check-in it took approximately another 10 minutes when my name was called. She asked me what my purpose of the trip to the United States is, how I was going to financially support myself and after I nervously answered her questions she said: “You have been approved. You will get your visa in 2-4 days!” and handed me my documents.
Just like that! It’s been 5 years, 3 months and one week since I came to the United States the first time. 13 trips back and forth over the atlantic ocean and now I’m going to have a visa that allows me to stay and study until Dec, 31 2017!
I think THAT calls for a celebration!
(To all of you going through college application and visa application, please feel free to send me an email if you have doubts or are unsure of all the rules and things to be aware of. I wished I had a guide that would have helped me. It is tough and hard work – and it’s not cheap either. I started my college application in Dec, 2010. Since then I spend about $900-$1000 on fees. There’s a lot of paperwork and a lot of waiting. But now I can finally start enjoying my efforts! If you want help, again, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thank you Embassy of the United States of America! 🙂