Travel and Visa / Preparing for Visa Interview

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Preparing for Visa Interview

F-1 Visa applicants who receive their I-20 from a U.S. university or academic program have to interview with a consular officer before they receive their visa.

During the few minutes of the interview, as an F-1 Visa applicant, you must explain how you will pay for school costs and living expenses. You also have to prove that you will not become an immigrant, but are going to return to the home country after studying in the U.S. If you cannot prove this, the consular officer is required to refuse the visa.

It is your responsibility to show:

  • Strong ties to the your home country
  • Your intent to return home after completion of the course of study
  • Access to financial assets that are necessary to support your course of study

"Ties" are the various relationships or possessions that bind you to your home country: owning property, having a bank account, having a job, having a husband or wife, and having other close family members or friends are some examples of why you would want to return home.

In cases of younger applicants who may not have had an opportunity to form many ties, consular officers may look at the applicant’s educational goals, long-range career plans and employment prospects within his or her home country.

  • Show that you or family members own property
  • Show that there is a job waiting for you when you return
  • Show that family members will remain at home
  • Show that family members have not immigrated to the U.S.
  • Show that you have completed any required military service

Consular officers must decide in a very short time if you are qualified to receive a visa. Most cases are decided after a brief interview and review of whatever evidence of ties you present. An officer might also ask you other questions as well.

  • Show bank statements, sponsor letters
  • Show that you are aware of the length of time it will take to complete your entire program and you have a continued source of support for the full program
  • If you indicate that you intend to work to earn part of your expenses in the U.S., you are likely to have the visa denied
  • Anticipate that the interview might be conducted in English
  • Practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview
  • The interview has to be kept short, so keep your answers short and to the point
  • Do not bring family members with you to the interview, you must be prepared to speak on your own behalf
  • Be polite. Do not argue with the consular officer. If you are denied a student visa, try to get the reason for the denial in writing. Make it clear to the officer that you expect to return to your home country as soon as you complete your studies.