In previous post, my emergency visa request got approved and interviews were scheduled without any glitch. First interview was Biometrics which is for fingerprinting and capturing applicant’s photograph. These interviews are conducted at Visa Application Centers, also knows as VACs.
My appointment was scheduled for 12:30 PM on 29th Aug. I knew it would be a long day for me due to distance of Mumbai VAC from my home. I woke up early at 6:00 AM and got ready till 7:45 AM. Taxi was booked in advance, so no last minute surprises there. Driver was on time and we left for VAC at 8:00 AM. It took us around 4 hours to reach there due to traffic. I was at the VAC center at 11:50 AM.
There were two guys wearing masks at the gate. One of them asked about the appointment time and directed me towards the entrance. Whole area was kind of deserted with just 3 guys (with masks) at the entrance. One of them checked my body temperature and asked to sanitize hands while other one provided a token number. They directed me to first floor.
At first floor, I presented the token number to a guy-in-uniform. He asked me to have a seat and wait for my turn. There were just 4 applicants before me and to maintain social distancing, every middle chair was marked with “do not sit” slogan.
Documents Required :-
- DS-160 confirmation
- Appointment Confirmation Letter
- Visa Application Fee Receipt (Included in appointment confirmation itself)
I waited for few minutes and when my turn came, went to the assigned counter. At the counter, lady officer asked to sanitize hands and to provide passport with DS-160 confirmation. She reviewed the documents and informed that travel date on the form is not updated. I got confused and bit nervous as Biometrics generally goes very smooth, without much questions, and here there was some issue with travel date itself. After she explained properly, I understood the situation.
The problem was that my earlier visa interviews were cancelled due to COVID by embassy itself and they were based on DS-160 with Intended travel date as 25 March. For this emergency request, we used same DS-160 without updating it, making travel date as incorrect.
There was another lady with the officer who were very keen to reject my application. She kept telling the officer, that just reject it and ask her to come again with correct data. I was very furious on her, but didn’t expressed myself 🙂 . I asked for the solution and officer asked me to get it corrected in the VAC itself, I never knew this can be done there as well.
Correction facility was on the same floor, just in-front of the elevator. There was a guy with computer sitting there. I explained him the whole situation and he told that, it will cost 500 Rs. Unfortunately I had left the money in taxi itself, so I had to go outside to bring money.
Once outside, I just thought of checking with the guard about this. Guard was very helpful, he told me about a nearby cyber cafe good enough to understand the requirement. Cyber cafe is around 5 mins from the embassy. I took the money from the taxi and went to that cafe. That decision proved to be really fruitful, as there were some other fields in the DS-160 form that required corrections. Cafe guy was smart, he retrieved the application online and did all the corrections quickly. As per him VAC charges 500 Rs. per correction and he did all changes in just 300 Rs.
He gave me fresh copy of DS-160. I came back to embassy and submitted the copy at the counter. Officer validated form and asked to sanitize hands again. Fingerprints (firstly left hand four fingers, then right hand four fingers, at last thumbs of both hands ) were scanned and then I was asked to remove the mask for photograph. Once done, she returned my passport along with stamped copy of DS-160 which is required for main interview.
Points to consider :-
- If you have filled DS-160 long time back, check for the travel date before going for interviews ( travel date should be the future date )
- Carry some money with you for such situations. Debit/card cards are also accepted.
- If you bring your own car, would suggest to go for nearby Cyber Cafe for such corrections.
I was happy that even after this small trouble, everything went well (thank god, that second lady was not in charge 😀 ). I was back to my house at around 6:00 PM. As guessed, it took my whole day but it was totally worthy.
Hope you find this helpful. In case of any question or doubt, feel free to leave comments.
Happy Reading !
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