My First Ever Visa Interview – Experience of a Lifetime

The story started when my husband returned from office late at night and excitedly gave me his “big” news. This is a news which incites different emotions in different people. I am assuming it develops feeling of jealousy in his competitors, a great deal of admiration in his true friends’ hearts, mixed feelings in his parents (they get happy because of his progress and, of course, feel a bit sad because of increased distance), tremendous respect in his siblings, an immense sense of self achievement in his own heart and unimaginable anger and depression in my heart. Yes, this makes me sound selfish. Yes, I vowed to be happy for his achievements when I married him and a million Yes that I am somebody who keeps saddening an innocent human being just for a simple fact that he is progressing in his career. But in my defense do you know how many responsibilities I need to take, how much I miss him after 2-3 days of his absence (yes I said 2-3 days and not immediately because I like being all by myself sometimes), how many nights I spend sleepless as I am scared of ghosts & I can’t sleep alone and also because every time he goes on his little “business meetings”, my sweetheart sister is supposed to leave everything and stay with me as if she has no life. Yes, this was his big news. He got the opportunity to go to the US for a few days.

Needless to say, my reaction was brutal. Well, my brutality means going in silent mode. I stopped talking to him immediately and then he spoke the words which started it all,” let’s apply for your visa so that you can come with me and add a few cities of US to the list of places you visited.” I thought he is trying to lessen my anger by offering me this candy and at the last moment he’ll make up an excuse to not go ahead with the process. But to my surprise it did not happen and turned out in the end I thought,” God! Let us just stop. What an overwhelming process it is!”

He started bugging me right from next day to fill DS160 application. It is a long application and we have to enter accurate information in it. So I asked my mom to send me screenshots of my degree (thousand thanks to technology that I didn’t need to go to my home to get documents) and started gathering all other required documents. Well! My husband started gathering documents while I was just sitting and thinking to myself,”Oh God! So many documents are required”. Also, being the geniuses that we are, we did not have our marriage certificate so my husband started the process to get affidavit for the same. Account statements, degree, passport, NOC from my office, payslips, my joining letter, offer letter, my husband’s visa photocopy are documents which he managed to collect at the speed of light while of course I was feeling overwhelmed.

Once we were done with DS160 application, he paid 10,000 INR (I think) and scheduled my OFC appointment (Sunday 27th Sep) and consular appointment (Monday, 28th Sep). Of course, I was going bananas just thinking about appearing for the consular appointment. Then something disturbing occurred and my dear husband met with an accident on Saturday. He came back with bruises on his face and corner of his eye terribly red. It was an awful sight and I am getting goosebumps all over me while remembering it and writing about it. That was one of the longest nights of my life. I wonder where do we get strength from when we see our loved ones hurt.

Anyway next morning, I went to my French language class while he went to see a doctor (before anyone judges me, it was his idea to go alone). After that poor guy met me at OFC centre where I went in for my fingerprints and getting a photograph clicked. At the entrance was a very friendly guy who asked for my DS160 application and carefully started comparing it with my passport. To my shock, place of birth was incorrect in my DS160 application. Then he suggested I get it corrected and if I could be back in 15 minutes, I could get the process done that day itself. Just when my husband and I were frantically exiting the centre, a middle-aged man came up to us asking whether we needed DS160 application to be corrected. I immediately said yes and then he directed us to a shop where they had DS160 written in big bold letters. We quickly corrected our application and thankfully went back in time. Finally I was allowed to enter and after just 5 minutes my process was completed and I exited the centre and entered McD for burgers and French fries.

Next day we had the interview scheduled at 10:30 am so we left home at 9 am and were at the embassy at 9:30 am. No bags, no mobile phones and no relatives were allowed inside. My husband waited on the roadside while I stood in a queue where passport check was in progress. Once it completed I entered the embassy and stood in another queue wherein I think fingerprints taken at OFC are matched with the fingerprints taken here. Finally when they matched, I was sent to another and more dreadful queue- “The Queue of Interview.”

Standing in my queue, I was observing visa officers and their facial expressions. A few officers were wearing a smile on their faces and responded sympathetically while interviewing. A few had very stern expression. A lot of people returned with their passports in their hands and a very depressed look in their eyes. I prayed in my heart to get a smiling and gentle officer. But as it happens to most of the wishes, this one too did not come true and I got a serious looking officer. I lost all the hope and my pessimism declared its reign over me. I answered his questions with full honesty but in the end he picked up my passport in his hand and I thought to myself here it goes. Any moment now he’ll hand over my passport to me. I started working on my rejection speech in my head but then to my surprise he spoke golden words which every person there was craving to hear, ” Your visa is approved. Have a nice stay in the USA.”

Yay! Just like that I was at cloud 9.

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