Studying in the United States is nothing short of a dream come true for students across the world, owing to its first rate education, top notch infrastructure, excellent research environment, and vibrant campus life and to top a promising global career ahead. Easier said than done, studying in the U.S. requires an F-1 visa, securing one, requires one to attend a Visa interview conducted by the U.S. consulate in your country. The word interview doesn’t have to put you under undue stress, as the purpose of the interview is to assess whether you have genuine intention of studying in the USA and that you are not taking education as a pretext to migrate to the U.S. Here are few of the tips to give your best shot at the U.S. visa interview.
- Be on time for the interview
Reach the consular office, at least 15 minutes before your appointment as this will help you get accustomed to the place and would give you ample time to mentally prepare for the interview those arriving late by 30 minutes or more may not be permitted to attend the interview, so make sure you don’t turn up late on your D day and start things on a negative note.
- Sound genuine
Having a sound clarity on the purpose of the interview, will help you face it with confidence, as, all that the visa officer wants to ascertain is whether the candidate is honest in his intention to study in the United states and is not making it as a pretext to enter U.S. The visa officer also would verify whether you have reasonable funds for your education, boarding and lodging, upkeep etc, for the entire duration of your studies, and that, you will not become a liability for the state. Having a clear cut answer about how you intend to pay for your studies; stay etc would help you to convince the interviewing officer on all these fronts. Don’t try to outsmart the visa officer with tricky answers, as they must have interviewed hundreds of students like you before, so don’t even try that.
- Exhibit your keenness to return post study
As under U.S. law, all applicants for non immigrant visas are viewed as potential immigrants, until one convinces them otherwise. You must be able to convince the interviewing officer that, you have strong ties with your home country, and that you have strong reasons to return back, which may include employment, business interest, inheritance, strong family relations, long term plans etc. You should have strong reasons to put forth your objectives in taking up education in the USA and how it would help you in future course of life. The questions expected can vary from person to person on ones financial standing, back ground etc, but will have a true bearing on the outcome of visa results.
- Be prepared to speak in English
Obviously you can’t expect a U.S. visa interview to be in your native language, so be prepared for it. As someone intending to study in the U.S. a certain level of language proficiency is expected from your side. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to practice English conversation with a friend or someone, this will give you a fair idea about areas that you would need to work on, as far as avoiding any potential grammar mistakes; lack of clarity, comprehension is concerned etc. Now since, English language is not something that one can master in a days’ time, such preparation should be done well in advance.
- Know in detail about your intended course and how it will benefit you
The most important question, one can expect is about the program, you intend to pursue and the reasons for selecting this particular program in the United States and how you in tend to benefit from it. Answering these questions in the most convincing manner, would help you in proving to the Visa officer that you are serious about studying in the USA and not using studies as a route to migrate to the U.S.
- Bring All Required Documents
Make sure you bring all required original documents and its photocopies to the visa interview. Failure to produce them during the interview may cause delay or denial of the visa.
- Avoid being accompanied by someone to the interview room
Turning up at the Visa interview room with your parents or relatives, sends a wrong message that you are not capable of carrying yourself and would require an aid to assist you. How can a visa officer, expect a student to travel all the way to the U.S. and complete the study period, when he /she is not able to attend an interview without outside help.
- Be brief with your answers
With large number of visa interviews scheduled, visa officers are under considerable time pressure to wind up interview of each applicant within a stipulated time, and arrive at a decision and hence expect straight forward answers to the questions asked. Usually an impression is created within the first few minutes of the interview. Don’t expect that the visa officer would be convinced with your long answers in chaste English.
- Don’t be too vocal about your part time work intentions
Remember that your primary aim is to study and not work. Though working part time is allowed within allowed limits and should be put forth as something that is incidental in completing your studies in the U.S. and that you have very strong reasons to return back home. If your spouse is accompanying you on F-2 visa, be prepared to answer questions like what she / he intends to spend this time period in the United States, as a F2 visa holder they are not legally allowed to work, though there are exceptions to it .So make sure you don’t give any answers that would jeopardize your chance of getting a student visa approved.
- No arguments please
Remind yourself that you are here for an interview and not to win an argument, so make sure you answer in a calm and composed manner, don’t force your argument on the visa officer. In case you are denied a visa, remain composed and ask him /her reasons for the refusal in writing.
There is no fool proof method of cracking a U.S. visa interview, as it depends on the particular case, however with these simple tips, you will be able to put your best before the visa officer, and moreover being original, would increase your chance of succeeding in a U.S. visa interview, rather than going there with tailor made answers.