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PyCon US diary - Consulate interview experience

by Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer

PyCon US diary - Consulate interview experience

My interview was at 09:00 AM. I gathered the required documents. In my case, it was:

The consulate is located at Rogers House, 4th Floor, P.O. Box 544, President John Kennedy St, Port Louis. Yes, of course, it had to be at JFK Street. The website says embassy, there is an ambassador but mails say consular and you meet with a consul.

To go to the fourth floor, Rogers security has to see the appointment confirmation. Then it is confirmed via walkie-talkie. Then you are seated on chromium chairs, waiting to get into the elevator. I recommend going early, well before 09 00. I think I got in at 08:40. The interview is at 09:00 means you have to clear everything to be ready at 09:00. If you come at 09:00, the interview will be farther away.

Once you get out of the elevator, you need to speak up and tell you were first. Else people coming after try to pass in front of you. For me the security asked who was first, sometimes they don’t though. You need to be alert.

Then it’s like at the airport. You need to scan your bag, yourself and put metallic items in a tray. The security officers spoke English with me. Turns out they thought I was a foreigner. The building itself is like a matchbox.

Then you sit, waiting to pay for your visa. The lady at the counter took my passport, documents, and photo and kept them with her. You speak to her and her to you via speaker/mic. Then I got in a second queue waiting for the interview. I had to wait outside on seats near the elevator as there was not enough seating space inside.

For the interview, you enter into a soundproof wooden cabinet and talk to the consul via speaker/mic. She was nice. Mind you anything you don’t enter in the application form is not going to be missed. You’ll be asked about it. They asked about the background of the grant. Spoke about PYMUG (Python Mauritius User-Group), FlaskCon, and American relationship. She asked me about finance and related items. Also about my trip details. She was pretty much interested in Python and the community. It was really speedy. At the end, she said: Your visa is approved. Lol, she handed me a receipt that I paid for the visa with a time on it to collect my passport next Monday, saying I need to see this next time.

Then you just take the elevator and go out. Next Monday I came around 1 hour early to collect the passport. Thought I was going to be bored. But was great since the queue when it was time to enter reached the door of Rogers house. Then you collect your passport. Typically visitors get 10 years with a 6-month allowance in one go.

Dedicate some one and a half hour for each visit.

Note: Penning down my experience attending a US conference to help anybody who one day needs to go to the US.