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Visa Experience

by Sarah Riaz

Got the visa yesterday. It was just a matter of 20 mins for me, out of which about 15 were spent waiting in the queue to get my application back, bound with the passport and going through security checks to walk inside!!! I was the 21st person to go inside for finger printing, but the 1st person to get it even before an air hostess who was there on a routine visit and was asked to wait in the next room for them to get back to her. I did not have a formal interview at counters, nothing was checked in my financial documents, only the acceptances.


Here's the whole story: I was told to go to room 2 for my finger printing, as i entered it i took it in at first glance and saw a very, very bored lookin middle aged man standing, yawning widely behind a bullet proof screen with only a sliding window for documents in it. I nodded slightly at him in professional acknowledgement while i entered and then walked to the side of the room to a chair a chair, waiting for my turn and watching the people before me. He didnt talk or greet any one other than the air hostess who he was acquainted with already and his helper guy who was helping people with the finger prints outside the window. When I got to the window he gave the slightest hint of a smile, switched his intercom on and said,


"Hello, and how are you today??"

Me: (surprised) "Oh im very well!!! Thankyou!! how are you?!!!"

him: "good, good, Im good too."


Then checked my application both on paper and in his computer, while I was being finger printed. Then switched his intercom again and asked,


"Are you a student now??"

Me: "yes, Im a final year student at King Edward Medical University, Lahore."

Him: "why are you goin to the US?!!"


(I was surprised because he was not supposed to be the person asking the questions and he didnt ask any one either, while i waited!!!!)


me: "To do 3 month electives at Emory and Umass, starting March 1st and ending May 28th!"

him: (Again checkin my application and pointing to it ) "who's this contact person here?"

me: "Oh that!! Its Ms Barbara Bingham, she's the elective cordinator at Emory."

Him: "Ohhhh, ok!!! Do you have ur support documents for that??!!"

ME: "Oh yeah i do, i have em all here"


(Now i was more  surprised because this was not where i had even taken them out yet, there were so many of them and you are supposed to go through finger printing twice and another pic taking and then waiting for an hour then u are called for an interview at the counter acc to ur number and while in the waiting room only do u take your documents out!!!)


Him: "can i see them?!!"

Me: "Oh yeah, sure!!" (taking them outa my folder, he gave me a min to do that, just watching and by this time, my thumb prints were taken!!!)


I gave him my first 1st sheaf of pages, I had paper clipped them in this order and put a tab on them. He took the tab down, checked the pages, my VC LOR, then I had put in another LOR from a teacher with good and long list of foreign credentials, and then my acceptance letters from the two Uni's and then at the end, (as a last minute thought) copies of the original applications i sent to the two Unis with my dean's approval and college seal as a REQUEST FOR ELECTIVES. He was impressed, gave me a smile and said,


"....and.... you have never been to the US before???!!!"

Me: "noo, never!!!!!"

Him: ok!!


I waited for him while he typed sthg in his computer.


(All this while, i was thinking whether I ought to ask for my tab back which he had stuck to the screen he had in between us!!!! :D )


He looked up and said, "so when do u plan to come back?!"


I told, Friday the 4th of June because my elective ended 28th May, I gave myself 2 days to leave the US, then 2 days to get rid of the jet lag, and then two days to get my things in order!!!!


At that he did smthg in his computer that changed the screen, I had the impression he checked the date in his computer calender and it was Friday on June 4!!! He handed me back my sheaf of above mentioned papers, along with them gave me a green sticker. I held it, not even acknowledging it and waited while he switched back to the original screen, typed something again.


He said, smiling broadly: "oh you can go back, I have given you the visa, u just collect your passport back in some time, it will take less than a week for you!! The American Express office in Lhr...."


Me: "ooooooh OHHHKKKAAAY!!!  THANK YOU!! i appreciate that!!! I really do!!!" 


lols that was the first time I laughed, I dint have to go through the standard procedure at all, no waiting, no walkin through different rooms,nothing!!! No talk of finances, no bank statements, no transcripts,no accomodations not a thing!! While all my other class mates, girls and guys who were there that day and days before that, they all had rigourous interviews, pleading they have the finances and all… everyone that was there who had token numbers before mine got free at 10:45 , I walked in at 7, walked out at EXACT 7:22!!! All smiles!


The key was only to be hyper-relaxed (which i was because it was not the place to be nervous yet!!!), not too over dressed not too plain, just professional yet courteous!!!

Can you please tell me where

Can you please tell me where you stayed at the time of your elective at Emory? I'm having great trouble trying to find a suitable reasonably priced accomodation. Please please help me out. I will be so grateful

About UMASS elective


Is it worth trying to apply for a Umass elective, even though they specifically mention on their website that they accept international students only from medical schools with which UMMS has an established exchange program?

My school does not have a partnership with Umass, so, if i apply early enough, do i still have a chance?


I dont think it is wise to

umar's picture

I dont think it is wise to apply there considering your school is not in their list!

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

sarah im also from lahore.

sarah im also from lahore. could u plz tell me if u have appeared in usmle part1? bcoz emory demands  that from all applicants now

Dear Dr. Andy, you can obtain

Dear Dr. Andy,

you can obtain the email addresses of the entire faculty by simple googling emory medicine faculty, or search by specific departments to check the names. email them in bulk, at least some will hopefully respond.. best way though is to find someone who has been there, or knows a doctor there and can work from your side. and then start a reciprocal exchange of info.

@ Dr.M

Hey Dr. M,

              Thanks a milllion for ur kind reply.. The last line u mentioned really makes sense.. cuz i mailed around 30 docs using the same procedure dat u mentioned abt 1-2 months back n not a single person has replied yet!

      I shall be grateful if u could temme under which doc u managed to secure an elective (this is just a request).. i plan to undertake an elective in internal medicine (or any of its subspeciality) in march 2011..

    hopin to hear from u soon..


Dr. Andy

hi .. i  have a  question. my

hi ..

i  have a  question.

my passport name is devam paresh sheth..

all my marksheets and other school documents say devam pareshkumar sheth..

1]  so does this diff really matter?

2] what should i write in the elective and other forms.?

3]   is it ok if i write paresh everywhere  and attach a xerox copy of note in passport clarifying the difference?


It might be a problem... I am

umar's picture

It might be a problem... I am not sure... better consult someone else... if u can convince them then its no problem at all... better carry all your documents with photo IDs with u all the time...

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

thanks a lot....

thanks a lot....

i would be much grateful if

i would be much grateful if someone here who has faced the same problem  can provide some guidance on this.

Dear Sarah, thank you so much

Dear Sarah,

thank you so much for your comment. there are a few things i want to ask if you can help me out here. i have a sponsor at emory and i've just received an ok from them. i haven't submitted the application form yet. there are a few questions i want to ask.

a. what do i fill in the OSHA date certification blank..a year, month or what?

b. my sponsor will be one moderator, the form asks for two..should the second name be random faculty or otherwise?

c. how long will it take for my acceptance letter to come from emory once i have sent my documents

 d. what time should i send in the visa app and how many days do they give bw applying and interview dates.

 Thank you very much..i would appreciate if anyone at all gave me the right answers. i'm very worried and don't want to mess up this chance..

Elective at emory

Dear Dr.M,

               I am really keen to get myself an elective at emory. I shall be forever indebted to u if u can tell us d procedure to secure an elective at emory.. i contacted dr.barbara bingham n she told v require a sponsor. i serachd d emory website for emails of concerned faculty but not sure where to obtain them

plz help me out!!!!



there will be links leading

there will be links leading to the various departments. choose the department you are interested in. then there u will get links to contact details of that dept. You can call them at those contacts and ask them to get your call through to the concerned faculty. This should work.



It was damn nice of you to post ur visa interview experience here! jus needed sum help... its regarding elective at emory... i contacted dr.barbara bingham regardin electives at emory n she said i required a sponsor for the same...

i tried searchin the emory site for emails of cardio faculty (the elective 'm interested in)... n sent mails to 5-6 ppl... but i dunno if thats d rite way! hell i dun evn kno if those email ids are active... (all of 'em end with HOW DID U MANAGE TO SECURE AN ELECTIVE?? Kindly guide us!

Hi Dr. Andy Im sorry im

Hi Dr. Andy

Im sorry im replying so late, my electives were quite time consuming n i just came back. Ok the hing with Emory is that they are closing up gradually to IMGs, because they had a steady stream of Pakistani's and Indians and they were getting a sense of being overwhelmed by the sheer number of people coming from Pak and India. The time I was there I was told that this was the last batch. Now u may try the same way of  emailing and waiting for a positive response. Thats th only way to go about it. Lets hope for the best!!!



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