The interview process is an integral part of the student visa application process. The interview in many cases end up being the deciding factor based on which you could be granted or denied your student (F-1) visa.
We have explained in detail in our previous articles about what is F-1 visa, how to apply for your F-1 visa and the requirements for F-1 visa. All visa applications culminate with the interview. The visa interview cannot be given a miss and is mandatory for all those who are between the ages of 14 and 79. The interview date is given to you when you submit your completed visa application. The interview date can be as early as ten days from the submission of your application or it can be a month from the date of your application submission. It all really depends on the number of applicants. The waiting time for an interview varies from location to location.
When you do go for the interview, a digital, ink-free, fingerprint scan will be taken. Some applicants may require further administrative processing. The additional processing usually takes place after the visa interview. The additional processes are taken up the same consular officer who takes your interview. But, this is on a case to case basis and is also dependent on the information submitted by you in your application.
Based on your academic and personal information, the questions that would be asked to two different applicants will not be the same. You could be applying to the same university and to the same course, but to expect the same questions is foolish. There will be many differences in your personal and financial information. Most of the questions will be based on the individual and the information the applicant has submitted as part of the application. Again, based on your supporting documents your administrative processing may also differ.
It is important to be thorough when it comes to documentation. This particular point cannot be emphasized enough. You must be prepared with all the necessary academic, financial and application related documentation to avoid unnecessary delays and possible rejection.
Documents to carry along for the visa interview
The mandatory documents required to be submitted by each student are as follows
- The I-20 form (signed by you and your issuing school), Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students and Form I-20A-B.
- Form DS-160, Online Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application.
- A valid passport for travel to and from the United States
- One 2×2 photograph with a white background.
- The fee receipt of the visa application fee.
- The fee receipt of the SEVIS I-901 fee paid.
Besides the above documents, students should also produce the following educational documents or certificates
- Certificates, diplomas and transcripts of previously attended educational institutions
- Scores of standardized such as SAT, TOEFL, GRE and GMAT, etc…
- Financial evidence to prove that whoever is sponsoring your education has adequate financial resources to pay for your tuition and living expenses during your period stay in the US.
As mentioned earlier, you would be required to carry additional proof pertaining to your financial background, proof demonstrating how you would sustain yourself (financially) in the United States.
Besides the above, it is absolutely important that you prove to the consular officer that you have strong ties with your home country and that you have a concrete intention to return to your home country after you are done with your education in the United States. The consular officials are known to deny or reject a visa application due to ineligibility under section 214b of the INA. Apart from your intent or perceived immigrant risk, your documents could be another reason that your visa would be denied.
Tips for your student visa interview
- It is absolutely important that you are well groomed and speak clearly into the receiver.
- Do not dress garishly and maintain a clean and well kept appearance.
- Speak to the point and have complete and proper information about your course and college or university. Be prepared to answer a question on what your education from an American university would bring to your resume or do for you.
- Carry additional documents. Arrange them in an organized fashion. It is not necessary that the consular official will require seeing all your documents. But, they could ask for anything and you should be prepared to hand over the requested document.
- Do not get into an argument with the official as this only would spoil your chances. If needed, ask the official whether you could come back with the additional information and support your case.
- DO NOT think of taking fake documents with you as this would only lead your visa being rejected and you being banned from entry into the United States for a period of at least 10 years.
- Last but not the least and probably the most difficult tip of them all, Relax and take it easy. Be calm and composed. For all you know, your interview would not last longer than a minute and you would be granted your visa with the visa officer barely asking you any questions and/or looking at any documents.
- For complete details on documents required during your visa interview, visit- http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html#1
- To find out the latest and the most current information regarding waiting times, head on to – http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html
- To know more about scheduling your interview appointment and payment of application fee, visit- http://www.usembassy.gov/ . On this website you will get all the information about the application processing and specific instructions that need to be followed by you for your application and interview.