|Consulate Review: Mumbai, India
Review Topic: K1 Visa
|Review Date :
||February 7, 2019
|Embassy Review :
||The day started as badly as it could have, as the Uber that I'd booked for 5:30-5:45 a.m. slot left the EXACT moment I saw it, I tried to stop it by shouting but it didn't stop. Luckily, I was able to locate another taxi quickly AND he knew where the US Consulate was! With clear roads & no traffic in the morning, we were at the US Consulate in half the time, so it was only 6:05 when I got there. There were about a dozen people on the footpath near the Consulate, & I saw a girl who I thought was another visajourney-member (K1journey_16) as she'd mentioned on the India-thread that she was also going to have her interview on 7th February but I didn't approach her at that time since I wasn't a 100% sure. I walked around the area for a bit, & came back to the Consulate at around 6:45. The Indian staff from the Consulate asked for immigrant-visa people to form a line, everyone rushed there but non-immigrant visa people were turned away, & I was able to secure 4th place in the line, right behind the other visajourney-member, we talked for a bit as we were let in, after the barcode on our passports (stamped at biometrics) were scanned. It's always nice to see someone even slightly familiar when we are all alone in the middle of a battlefield! So, I'd definitely recommend getting in touch with other (willing) visajourney members, if you're going to have the interview on the same day. Just talking with someone familiar helps you relax a little bit.
During the security-check, they asked me if I had a stapler in my bag, & I was asked to leave it with someone outside the Consulate, I & another girl with a stapler rushed out, & dumped both of our staplers in the garbage-bin just outside the Consulate, & rushed back in as fast as we could. After passing the security-check, I was in a room with other immigrant-visa-hopefuls, where a bunch of Indian Consulate-staff put our papers in order - Passport, DS-160 confirmation-page, biometrics/interview appointment-letter, original birth-certificate & copy, medical package, original PCC & copy, & 2 passport-size photos. Then we were given tokens, & I was so gutted with G225 whereas the other visajourney member, being 3rd in line, got G203, so I guess I went from being 4th in Fiance Visa line to being 25th! What a disappointment! Nonetheless, I tried to look at the positive-side, that I'd be able to see other K1 inerviews live as well as revise my answers to questions.
At about 7:30, my token was called, & I went to the designated counter, where the Indian Consulate-staff asked me a few basic questions, like who's calling me, have I been to the US before, when am I going to travel to the US, etc. & she took everything that was put in order earlier but gave back medical report paper, biometrics/interview confirmation-page & original birth-certificate. She also took I-134 & my fiancee tax-stuff, though I think she returned the payment-stuff from her employers as well as the letter from her bank-manager stating her balances.
Then, I sat beside the other visajourney-member, & we talked for half an hour or so, until her token was called, & I think she was grilled for maybe 15 minutes (I didn't even bring a watch as I thought it might also be a security-issue) but her K1 was approved, & she left happily giving me some useful advice to be confident & firm, & not let the CO twist my answers. She must have left before 9:00 a.m., & I was so gutted thinking that I could have been next & going home early. But I turned my attention to the printed sheet of questions in my hand & started revising my answers. Then, I waited & waited & waited & waited, hoping that my token would be called next but it wasn't.... UNTIL it finally was, probably just before 12:00 p.m. This is probably some sort of a record amongst the Mumbai Consulate reviews I've read on here, in terms of worst wait-time for a k1 interview. So, as I moved towards the counter, I'd several reasons to believe that I might NOT be approved; first being that I was bored to death & half-asleep given the lack of sleep last night, second being that almost every K1 candidate was seemingly grilled for 15 minutes or more & I didn't think that I was in a mental state to concentrate & last that long against a continuous barrage of questions, third reason being that I presume CO's must also have been a little mentally drained & irritated by that time & perhaps more likely to reject than approve.
At the counter, there was a middle-aged, white, balding man with a stern demeanor, who greeted me with the sternest expression on his face & I immediately thought that I was going to get rejected. I was asked to raise my hand & take an oath that all of the information provided by me is true. Then came the rapid-fire round, where I often broke the Golden Rule of fiance-visas interviews, as advised here & elsewhere on the Internet, that is, in my drowsy state, I "volunteered more information" than was asked for, & every time I did that, I internally rebuked myself thinking that I was killing my chances of approval by doing that but MAYBE it seemed more authentic rather than rehearsed (just a guess, though I could be wrong). I have never had alcohol in my life but I presume this is as close as I'm going to get to blurting things out while drunk.
1. Who's calling you?
2. Where did you meet?
3. What kind of work does she do?
4. What's the name of the company?
5. What does the company produce?
6. Where does she live?
7. Have you ever travelled internationally?
8. Have you ever stayed outside of India for more than 6 months?
9. So, you met on okcupid.com, then what? --- As I was answering, he interrupted but then, he stopped & asked me to keep going, & I was glad because I felt that this was one of the questions that I needed to really hit hard to get "our story" across to him.
10. Have you had a ring-ceremony of some sort? --- I confidently said No but he glanced at my intertwined fingers & maybe thought that I was trying to hide the ring or something but I insisted that we hadn't because we're both atheists & don't always follow cultural/religious norms. Maybe I should've stopped there but I "volunteered information" that we're working on getting a ring right now, which may have been unnecessary.
11. What was the proposal like? --- There was no proposal, it was more of a mutual recognition & agreement that we were compatible as a couple, not just online but even offline. Again, I "volunteered information" that there will be a proposal when I get to the US.
12. So, how long were you on okcupid.com before you met your fiancee? Were there other women that you'd been communicating with? --- I guess trying to prob into whether I was "hunting" for a fiance-visa but I said that that was the only significant communication I'd had with any woman on okcupid.com
13. So, if you met your fiancee in 2015, then why did it take such a long time for you guys to meet in person? --- We took things very slowly because we wanted to be sure, then my tourist-visa attempt failed in 2017, & it was difficult for her to take an entire month off from work, & we wanted it to be a LONGER stay & spend more time with each other to see if it would be a good decision to get married or not rather just spending a couple of days together & basing a big decision, like marriage, off of that.
14. Has anyone from her family come to visit you? Parents, relatives?
15. So, are you both the same religion? --- Obvious googly! Given that I'd already mentioned that we're both atheists, he was testing whether I was consistent with my story or just making things up.
16. Was this arranged or love relationship?
17. What do your parents think about you getting married with a non-Indian?
18. What are your plans about marriage? --- Another crucial question. I said that we don't have anything concrete right now, given the nature of uncertainty of visas but one thing that we've definitely talked about is that we'll "legal marriage" in a 'courthouse' as soon as I'm able to enter the US, then file for AoS, work-permit, etc., & 6 months or so after that, we'll have an "actual wedding" with guests, decorations, etc.
19. Courthouse? You mean you'd get married in her house? ---- Tried to trap me in my own words but I said, no, it wouldn't be in her house, & I came out clean & said that I honestly don't know what the EXACT procedure would be in the US but it would probably be in some sort of government-place, a court or whatever. He said it's alright, you can say you don't know something, if you don't know.
20. Will there be celebrations after the court-marriage?
21. Who will attend the court-marriage?
22. Will my parents attend the court-marriage?
23. Do my parents already have a tourist-visa?
24. What about honeymoon?
25. Any plans to move out of the State she's presently in? --- Not for a year or two until we've our finances & other things in order but yes, we've talked about moving South, to Arizona or Colorado because she hates the snow.
26. Has your fiance always been in the State she's in right now?
27. As for the "actual" wedding 6 months down the line, who'd conduct that ceremony? --- I said, given that there aren't a lot of atheists in India, I'd always assumed that if I ever got married, it'd just be a court-marriage but my fiancee has told me that there are people in the US who officiate ceremonies for atheist-weddings, though I'm not sure about all of the details regarding what happens in such ceremonies.
I might have missed a question or two, or perhaps didn't get the order perfectly right but I believe this is pretty close to what it was like.
The interview took, maybe 5 minutes, CERTAINLY less than 10 minutes, so given the other seemingly 15-20 minutes interviews, I was ready for at least another 10 minutes of grilling, but to my surprise, out of nowhere, he said "Your visa is approved". I was a bit shocked, then he repeated it, so I smiled & said "Thank you very much" & left the counter. Though even then, as I moved towards the Exit, I kept looking at the white-slip in my persistent state of drowsiness because I thought I'd read that approval meant pink-slip but of course, it said Approved, which is all I care about. So overall, even though the wait was EXCRUCIATING, I'd say my interview itself was a breeze!
A few pointers. My fiancee is a white-American female & I'm an Indian male but we're both young, of similar ages, religion (or lack thereof), education, never married, no children, no criminal history, so not a particularly complicated case of its kind. The reason my interview finished so quickly was because all we did was talk. HE DIDN'T LOOK AT ANY PROOF OF RELATIONSHIP! I had photos, physical greeting-cards, prints of virtual greeting-cards, close to 100 pages of chats from okcupid, facebook & skype, FRESH Letters of Intent To Marry, copies of her passport, immigration-stamps, boarding-passes, pictures of the rings that we were discussing about. NONE OF IT WAS ASKED FOR & I NEVER TRIED TO SHOW ANY OF THAT TO HIM! Not to brag (or maybe I do want to brag since I'm pretty happy today :D ) but I can speak English fluently, & tried to be casual but confident (not that it's always very easy to do), as if just having a random conversation with a regular person. My body-language was positive, & NOT too anxious or afraid, I wasn't afraid to make eye-contact with the CO, & every time he paused to ponder over the next question, I was intently looking at him, eagerly waiting to pounce on his next question, & every time, I had an answer for him without any pauses of my own (thanks to the list of questions provided by visajourney members), & maybe he noticed that as well, & saw it as a sign of veracity of my claims because obviously, when someone lies, they usually have to take a moment or two to think. The point about "volunteering information" is NOT necessarily to suggest that it should be done but to say that, no matter how much we think & prepare beforehand, we will likely make mistakes, & do things at the interview that we didn't plan on doing (because maybe it's part of our personality, just like being descriptive is part of mine), & that's ok (to an extent, of course), because sometimes we think too much about the advice given, & get too confused, anxious & fearful about what MIGHT happen if we just acted more "normal", & that fear makes us perform worse than we otherwise would have. Another point to be noted, as I've learned from other experienced visajourney members, maybe CO's more or less have their decision made before we get to the counter, & while one could look at that possibility in a negative light, one could also say to themselves that IF CO's decision is more or less already made, then I can't really do much wrong, & that should take some pressure off of us, which is what I tried to do.
Another thing to note from my experience is that just because a day started badly, with multiple instances of mistakes or bad luck or whatever, it doesn't mean that it won't/can't be turned around, & this applies to the day of the K1 interview as well as any other day.
Sorry for being so long-winded but like I've said, it's a part of who I am. Furthermore, I have enjoyed & learned the most from the more detailed & descriptive Consulate-reviews, so hopefully, this review will help one or two people in the future.