Expert Tips on How to Crack Visa Interviews

Wednesday, Sep 05

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You’ll need an F-1 study visa to pursue higher education at a college, university or any other accredited academic institution in the US. 

Part of this application includes an interview to determine whether you qualify to receive the visa or not. This is just a part of the process and there’s no reason to be nervous if you prepare well in advance.


Visa Interview 

Like any other interview, this is also just a formal interaction between the Interviewer and Interviewee. As a student, you need to be well prepared for it. Prior preparation and a systematic visa file containing all the essential documentation helps you to reply promptly and confidently at the visa interview. Many a times the deserving students also fail to get Visas, as they do not know how to present their evidence before the consulate office. So this is one very important aspect to be considered.


The Purpose of Visa Interview 

The officer at Consulate/Embassy taking the Visa Interview is essentially interested in three things 

  • Whether your purpose is genuine that is  higher studies abroad
  • Whether your family/sponsor have enough financial resources to finance your studies & living 
  • expenses during your stay abroad. 
  • Whether you will return to India or not after completing your education. 

If you are able to convince the interviewer on the above three typical questions, getting a Visa will not be a difficult issue. 


Tips for Visa Interviews 

The tips below are intended to help you prepare for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate in your home country. 


1. Visa Interview Questions 

The interview questions often focus on four main issues: 

  • Academic qualifications 
  • Your chosen college or university in the US 
  • How you will finance your education and 
  • Career progression and family ties in your home country

In order to check this here’s what the officer may question: 

  • Why did you choose this university/institution and why is it the best for you? 
  • Why did you choose to study in the US instead of your home country? 
  • What are your test scores GRE, GMAT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS, GPA, and your overall performance as a student in the past?
  • How are you funding the entire duration of your education, including tuition, room and board, transportation and other expenses? 
  • Who are your sponsors? 
  • What would you like to do after completion of your bachelor’s or Master’s program in the US? 

Try to answer each question as specifically as possible but keeping your answers clear and concise. 


2. Command on English 

The interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. Thus, it’s important to be well versed in English so that you can understand the interviewer well and face the interview confidently. 


3. How the chosen program fits your career plans 

The purpose of the visa is to permit you for legal residence in the US throughout your studies. The focus here is on your study program, so you need to know about your program in depth, convey why you’re interested in pursuing the specified program and why especially in US. Apart from this you should also be able to articulate how studying in the US will help with your future career options in your home country. 


4. Your main objective to go to the US 

If you want the visa to be approved, you must remember that finding work isn’t why you’re heading to the US, but your only aspiration is studying. This should be made crystal clear in your interview answers. Though you may be allowed to work part-time while studying, you need to state that this isn’t your primary goal before, during or after your studies. 

The officer will surely try to ascertain that you have strong ties with your home country, to ensure that you will return to your native place after completing your studies in the US. 

You can make this clear by throwing light upon the career progression back in India and specifying your family ties. 


5. Essential Documents

You may need to show certain documents to the consular office. Make sure your documents are filed and neatly catalogued for the same. 

• I-20 & Passport 

• Academic Documents 

• Financial Documents 

You can check the documents checklist for US on our US Visa Requirements page. 

The consular officer should be able to gauge at a glance what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Remember that you will have 2-3 minutes of interview time (if you're fortunate enough).


6. Be Concise 

Because of the volume of applications that are received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute or two of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. As such keep your answers to the officer's questions short and precise. 


7. Maintain a Positive Attitude Be Punctual 

Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. 

Schedule your interview appointment early on as the wait time for interview appointments vary by location, season and visa category. Ensure to be on time to avoid any hassles or delays. 

The key is for you to arrive at the interview calm and with extra time to review your preparation to ease the whole process. 

If you follow these tips you will surely be able to crack the Visa Interview.

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