Background (the good part): I had been admitted to Purdue University for PhD in computer engineering starting from Fall 2004. I had planned to pursue the area of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The unofficial admit letter from the department graced my yahoo inbox on February 19 , 2004, with an offer of financial aid for four years, just two days before my birthday. What an ideal birthday gift!! I thanked God so much.

cobblerbeggarΤεχνίτη Νοημοσύνη και Ρομποτική

15 Οκτ 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 7 μήνες)

69 εμφανίσεις

Background (the good part):



I had been admitted to Purdue University for PhD in computer engineering
starting from Fall 2004. I had planned to pursue the area of Machine Learning and
Artificial Intelligence. The unofficial admit letter from the departmen
t graced my yahoo
inbox on February 19
th
, 2004, with an offer of financial aid for four years, just two days
before my birthday. What an ideal birthday gift!! I thanked God so much.


Prior to Visa Interview:




I was pretty confident that I would get a vi
sa. I thought that with such a good
university and an aid offer, nobody could deny me a visa. I had cheerfully booked my
visa date for July 9
th
, and carelessly
skimmed

through various visa issues that were being
discussed in the yahoo groups formed by purd
ue students for fall 2004. It so happened
that I also nonchalantly skimmed through an e
-
mail that mentioned about TAL, thinking
that it wouldn’t be so serious and that it wouldn’t affect many people. Little did I know
that I would be on
e

of those not
-
so
-
ma
ny unlucky persons.


The “Fateful Day” (July 09, 2004):



My interview was at the Chennai US consulate. I had gone to the consular office
with my dad and brother carrying all the required documents which were screened by my
dad to ensure that everything wa
s present
.
After going through all the required processes,
I was at the interview hall. I could see one of the consular officers, thin and lanky,
peering through his glasses across the counter. I witnessed him literally screw a poor guy
for not being able
to explain in his own words the reason for going to the US. All through
this I was pretty confident. Finally it was my turn…


All the usual questions ensued.

Officer: What is your area of interest?

Me

: Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Compute
r Vision

Officer

: Can you briefly explain about these areas of study?

Me

: (Yeah, of course, this is what I had prepared for!!) … blah.. blah.. blah..

Officer

:
Good. (Gives me a piece of paper with some questions in it…) You have to fill
up this question
naire and email it to (some email address).

Me

: What is this? What happened to my visa? Why am I supposed to do this?

Officer

: This is for further information about you which is required for further screening.
We’ll be able to issue your visa only after
you submit this information.

Me

: (Only then did I realize that it was the TAL in action…) How much time would
it take for me to get my visa?

Officer

: I am not sure. Typically, it’ll take 3
-
4 weeks. And please don’t call the consulate
before that time per
iod. I’ll retain your passport, i
-
20 and other documents. It’ll be
returned to you along with the visa.

Me

: (Mind racing, heart beating faster…) Are you sure, that I will get it in 4 weeks?

Officer

: I cannot say anything. Thank you. (meaning, I had to le
ave!!


)


Realising that I had nothing more to do inside, I came outside just to meet a horde of
anxious parents hovering around to ask about my experience…


One month later…



One month later in the middle of August, I heard that another friend of mine
with
a similar experience got her visa within 5 weeks. With my regular temple visits and
worships, I though I too would get it within 5 weeks.


What I learnt and what I should have done:


Visa refusal under 221(g) could be because of some missing documents

or it could be
because your area of study/work comes under the TECHNOLOGY ALERT LIST (TAL).
In my case, it was the TAL. I had