F1 VISA interview and experiences- Fall 2014

Hello guys, Lets use this platform to share our F1 interview experiences and seek expert help from those who have cleared it. Regards, Sid

Hello guys,

Lets use this platform to share our F1 interview experiences and seek expert help from those who have cleared it.


About myself:

GMAT: 660
TOEFL: 104
UG: 2011-B.Tech from West Bengal University of technology(7.4/10)- No pending backlogs (I had two backlogs in my first year and as per my university rules, I got them cleared by the next semester)
XII: 2006-CBSE (73%)
X: 2004-CBSE (86%)
I spent the one year after passing out class XII and before joining college for B.Tech, preparing for the different engineering entrance exams at Kota, Rajasthan

Admits from:
College of William and Mary, Mason School of Business, Williamsburg, Virginia
Tulane University, A.B.Freeman School of Business, New Orleans

I appeared for VISA interview on 22nd of April 2014 at the Chennai Consulate and I was denied one under section 214-b of the INA which basically means that I was not able to convince the visa officer fully that I do not intend to settle down permanently in the US. He took me as a 'potential immigrant' and thus denied me a VISA. This is how my first ever visa interview went:

Me: Good morning
VO: Good morning, can I have your passport please?

I handed him the passport

VO: When did you pass out?
Me: 2011 (I took it, that he meant to ask about my undergrads)

VO: What have you been doing since 2011?
Me: I have been working at XYZ at Bangalore

VO: How much do you earn at XYZ?

VO: Can I have your I-20 please?

I passed him my I-20

VO: Why do you want to do an MBA?
Me: I believe MBA is one of the most sought after line of study in the world at the moment and I can do a lot of good to my career with an MBA from The Mason School of business

VO: Did you get admits from any other school?
Me: yes, I got an admit from Tulane University, new Orleans as well

VO: So why did you choose William and Mary over Tulane?
Me: I chose William and Mary because of two reasons: first because it is the second oldest university in the US and has a highly reputed MBA program and secondly as the university is located in Williamsburg, I will save money in my living expenses as compared to living in New Orelans

Then the VO did a lot of typing on his computer and after about a minute handed me a blue 214-b form and passed back my passport and I-20 and said "I'm sorry, you are not being issued a visa, you can check the reapplication procedure"

I was distraught. What I had heard from my friends studying already in the US that an F1 Visa was a piece of cake and as a result I went in with minimal preparation. Moreover, the school where I am applying has a 99% success rate in visas.
Now, when I look back at the interview, I can clearly see the mistakes I made:

1. I was not clear why I wanted to do an MBA. I gave him some generic answer which he himself might have heard a thousand times from other candidates

2. I was not clear about why I chose William and Mary over Tulane and I did the big mistake of bringing in the money factor(typical Indian mentality- when you get something for 5 then why buy it for 10?). he thought that I did not have enough money to fund my education (he did not ask for any supporting documents) and decided that I was a potential immigrant and thus denied me a visa. Fair enough on his part!

The fact is, I went prepared with financial documents enough to support me for more than 2 years of my course duration. As for ties in India, I have taken an unpaid leave from my company and my company expects me to join back at the end of my course. Also, I have enough land and property here back in India and I am my parents' only son (though I did not have any proof of the land that belongs to my father as it is yet to be divided between him and my uncles).

Now, I plan to schedule my next interview in the coming 2-3 weeks but am confused over a lot of things.. expecting some help from the experts here:

1. Is my assessment of what went wrong correct?

2. What do I say to the VO's question "what went wrong the last time"?

3. What do I do to prove that I have enough ties back in India that will compel me to come back?

4. How soon can I apply again, is there any waiting period?

5. Should I seek the help of any consultant (only for the advise part, not for the application, as I am confident enough in that and want to do it myself)

6. For my next interview, do I need to appear for biometrics again?

7. is it necessary to apply in Chennai ONLY as I appeared for my first interview(and got rejected) here?

8. Any other ideas of how can I improve my candidature?

Any help will be highly appreciated. My classes begin on August 14 and I applied with ample time in hand to deal with any possible scenarios like this.