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F1 VISA Interview Questions

After securing the coveted admission in a reputable US college or university – the only substantial cause of concern can be getting your f1 student visa. If you goof up your student visa interview and get rejected – it feels like the proverbial “the whole elephant gets through and the tail gets stuck” at the very end. But a little reading up and a lot of preparation will carry you through. The article below will provide an idea what a student visa consultant can do for you.

Introduction – What you should know about F-1 Visa

The F1 visa is a visa to study in the USA and is specifically for students who have enrolled in colleges, universities and other academic institutions. Once you are accepted at a US university you will need to apply for F1 visa. The criterion to apply for an F1 visa are:

  • Having been accepted at a school or college in the United States, specifically a school which is a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified school.
  • You can only apply if you are a full time student.
  • You must have proof of financial capability or support to bear the education costs.
  • You must be able to prove your intention is only to go to the USA for gaining education and not to seek residency.

The interview for the Visa – seeks to primarily establish these above points, for which you need to be clear, concise, well-spoken and well prepared. The Visa Interview itself is not a lengthy process a few minutes generally. But the preparation needs longer and the questions will be unique as they will flow from your own answers. But the general direction of the questions must be understood to prepare for it.

F1 Visa interview Preparation

You are meeting someone on whom you would like to make the best impression possible. The best impression can comprise of:

  • Being appropriately dressed: First impressions are made the minute you walk through the door. It is important to be appropriately dressed. So, what is the appropriate dressing for the student visa interview - this is discussed in detail below.
  • Correct greeting and salutation: If English is your second language, you may find the conversation and greetings difficult initially. Don’t get intimidated, just practice with our Student Visa consultant and before you know it, you will be comfortable with the greetings and presentation.
  • Being organized and carrying all the documents required: A well-structured file, divided into subsections with all your documents filed and catalogued will be a great help and create a favourable impression of you being a well-organized and mature person, who will conduct themselves well in a foreign country. Have your documents ready in this fashion, but do not pull out a single document unless the Visa Officer asks for it. The file of papers is to be carried in case of need only. Be aware of the f1 visa cost and carry appropriate payment with you.
  • Being well informed: It is important to be prepared to answer pointed and specific questions relating to your plans for study, your stay in the USA, your finances, motivations etc. These questions may be personal but are an important part of what the interviewer is ascertaining about you. You may prepare for this by reading in detail your Admission Essay and SOP is submitted; knowing details of the university enrolled for – such as its history, which US state it is in, the course highlights, any outstanding faculty or resources they have, the credit system that they have; as well as your financial history, source of funds for education in details and future plans.

Important documents to carry for your F1 Visa Interview questions

Carrying all the necessary documentation in a well-planned way – divided into sections and cross referenced, is a great way to make the interview process easy for yourself while making a great impression.

The important Documents you need to carry for your F1 Visa Interview can be subdivided as:

  • Personal Information: Your personal information will include your Passport, photograph, any receipts (such as MRV Fee, SEVIS Fee receipt), Visa Interview Appointment Letter, etc.
  • Education Certificates and other Documents: Academic information will consist of Mark sheets of 10th and 12th, your GRE/GMAT/SAT scores, IELTS/TOEFL/PTE scores, and other degree or certificate course completed along with mark sheets and any other certificates.
  • Documents related to Profession: if you have been working and are applying for a postgraduate course then your Joining Letter, Salary Slips, letters of commendation Relieving Letter, Bachelor's degree and in case of internship done – then the relevant letters for that.
  • Documents related to Finance: You will need your Tax Return copies, Property documents, loan papers (if loan has been availed of), and any other documents showing your financial solvency.

How to dress for your F1 student Visa Interview?

The importance of appropriate dressing in any setting cannot be overstated. It is crucial at not only forming a good impression but also displaying your own ability to put your best foot forward.

The key impression you are trying to make in your student visa interview on your interviewer is that you a respectful, sensible, well thought out person. The key is to be dressed formally and well without detracting from the content of your interview. To this end, it is advisable to:

  • Wear light or neutral colors instead: avoid bold prints, flashy colors etc. Bold Accessories must also be avoided as they cause a distraction from your words. Your dressing can be appropriate to the weather, pastel shirt and tie for men in the summer and maybe a jacket or a dark shirt in the winters. Women can also wear elegant and formal, western wear, or Indian wear. But nothing flashy or shiny will be appropriate.
  • Well ironed clothes – maybe wrinkle free would help as you may have to wait for your visa interview. Polished or presentable footwear, scuffed shoes are a no-no.
  • You can use a mild deodorant with an agreeable fragrance. You should also avoid strong smelling perfumes, as it could put off the interview officer.
  • Wear something that you are comfortable and move easily in. It is important to feel at ease as much as possible to stay composed during the interview. A close-fitting collar or tight dress may make you fidget and look uneasy.

What are the Commonly Asked F1 Visa Interview Questions or what questions can you expect in your Visa Interview:

The Visa Interview officers’ primary motive is to gauge two important considerations. One is that you can afford to study and come back from the USA, and the second one is that you do not intend to settle in the USA permanently.

Their questions range from simple information to probing questions related to future plans to determine your honesty and intent. The questions will be about:

Current Facts:

  • Academic Ability: which will look at your study plans and College and University Test Scores, work experience and question you about your study plans and university choices.
  • Financial Ability: will look at your financial ability and your Sponsors.

Future Plans: to identify if you are a Potential Immigrant:

  • Family and Relatives,
  • Job and Work,
  • General Questions

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR STUDY PLANS AND UNIVERSITY CHOICE

The questions about your study plans and university choices aim at finding out your academic capability and the reason for making the choice of university that you have. Is the choice linked to your university choice or simply the country you wish to go to? They also wish to understand your choice of further education at a considerable cost vs. entering the job workforce in your own country or educating yourself further in your own country or any other besides USA.

To answer such questions you must recollect and revise the SOP and university essays that you have submitted. You should also know in detail about the history, the state and location, the faculty and facilities of the university you are admitted to.

Some sample F1 visa interview questions:

Ques 1. What are your reasons for choosing this specific University?

Ans 1. Your reply to this question should communicate your excitement for going to this particular University. You should be able to speak specifically of your choice and benefits to you from the university’s ranking, faculty, facilities, programs, affiliations, alumni profile etc. It should convey you would have liked to go to this university – no matter which country it were located in. For this you can read up on the famous professors with details books and famous research papers published by them, accolades and awards they have won. You can also find out about notable and well known alumni to be able to speak of them specifically.

Ques 2. Why don't you do this course in your country?

Ans 2. This is an important question. You can speak about the difference in quality of education, course structure as well as differences in facilities and faculty. Often the course with the different subjects you wish to pursue is not available in India and create a compelling argument to the Visa Officer.

Ques 3. Which all universities did you apply to (both admits and rejects).

Ans 3. The Visa Officer will be gauging your response and will be able to cross check and determine if you have lied. So even if the reply to this question is not complementary to yourself. For example, you received an acceptance from only 1 of the 4 universities you applied to, you must still state this truthfully. Higher caliber universities acceptances do have higher visa acceptances as well.

A lie caught is an instant rejection of visa. You may couch your answer in polite words. Such as “I was accepted at one of the four universities I applied it. All four were as per my specific requirements of the course I intend to pursue and I am fortunate to have been accepted at this university as this was one of my top choices.”

Ques 4. Where did you complete your schooling from or bachelors from?

Ans 4. The Visa Officer will ask you to mention the name of the university or college that you have studied in prior to seeking admission in USA. If your university has a high ranking feature and is recognized you can mention that to build your academic credentials. Your answer should be to the point and not elaborate, conveying that you are proud of the past but are keen to embrace the future.
Other questions you can expect in this category may be:

  • What will your degree specialization be?
  • What will be your major?
  • How many colleges did you apply to?
  • What were your test scores (Scores across GRE, GMAT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS)?
  • What was your previous GPA?
  • Who is your current employer? What do you do?
  • Why are you planning to continue your education and not start working?
  • How will this study program be related to your past work experience or studies completed earlier?
  • Why not study in India?
  • Why did you choose USA? Why not any other country such as United Kingdom, Canada or Australia?
  • Have you been to the US before?
  • How will you cope up with the educational and cultural differences in the US?

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL STATUS AND SPONSORSHIPS

The acceptance of your Visa is highly dependent on your financial ability to meet the cost of your education. Regardless of your acceptance rate, if the Visa Officer feels you cannot cover the cost of your education he will not issue the Visa. The cost of education comprises of tuition, living expenses, living expenses, food costs, health insurance and any other basic related expenses.

Even after submitting all relevant documents you can expect several questions in this regard. Some sample questions are:

Ques 1. Whom are you being sponsored by?

Ans 1. The only way to finance your education would be by either Scholarship or Sponsorship. If you have a scholarship then specify from whom and for what amount with all relevant details. If sponsorship – then all details must be mentioned, such as name, relation etc. Once it is established that your parents are sponsoring your education the following further questions will be raised.

Ques 2. What is the profession followed by your father/mother – what do they do?

Ans 2. The financial capability of the sponsors will be established by the Income Tax Returns, Bank statements and property papers being submitted. You should be able to specify their job and profession in a concise but clear way. Such as “My father is a businessman who is in the space of chemical trading for 20 years now”, Or “My mother is a Chartered Accountant working with Deloitte and Company in the capacity of Senior Manager.”

Ques 3. What is the annual income of your father/mother/ sponsor?

Ans 3. The annual income if it can cover the majority of your education costs, along with loan documents submitted - are perfect proof of ability to meet education costs.

Ques 4. Have you received any scholarship? If yes, then from whom and why?

Ans 4. The scholarships you have got and may get should all be specified. The statement of purpose submitted for availing of the scholarship can be shared with the Visa Officer. After scholarship how will you cover the rest of the expenses should also be stated.

Ques 5. How do you intend to repay the education expenses you will incur?

Ans 5. You should show your knowledge of how much your school costs, the sources being accessed to pay these off in the meantime as your future plans regarding paying them off. In this question you must not bring into annual salaries in US and show any intention of earning your money in the USA either as a student with an on campus job or afterwards. You could mention how your education in the US improves the pay scale and job profile that you fit in in your own home country.

Ques 6. How do you intend to manage healthcare and other expenses you will incur?

Ans 6. Healthcare particularly is extremely expensive in USA for the uninsured. Obtaining a comprehensive health insurance policy or indicating your research and intention to obtain one – shows you have thought through your expenses and potential expenses once you get to the USA.

Ques 7. Do you have a brother and sister being sponsored or otherwise?

Ans 7. This question is asked to understand whether your sponsor’s finances are also committed or may be soon committed towards securing further admission for your siblings as well, and if they would be able to meet the expenses.

Other questions related to sponsors and finance may be:

  • What is your monthly income?
  • How much does your school cost?
  • Have you got any other loans?
  • How do you plan on repaying your loans?
  • What is the source of the recent large deposit in our bank account or any other non- regular transactions?

If you are asked for your passbook, latest finance transactions, bank statements, fixed deposits, balances etc. Keep all documents handy and available.

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR FUTURE PLANS

Questions about your future plans are the trickiest, as they are not rooted in any factual information that has already happened and is more dependent on your plans and intentions.

Even after submitting all relevant documents you can expect several questions in this regard. Some sample questions are:

Some sample questions that the Visa Officer may ask you:

Ques 1. How do you intend to manage healthcare and other expenses you will incur?

Ans 1. Healthcare particularly is extremely expensive in USA for the uninsured. Obtaining a comprehensive health insurance or indicating your research and intention to obtain one – shows you have thought through your expenses and potential expenses once you get to the USA.

Ques 2. Have you been to the USA before?

Ans 2. Answer accurately if you have been or not and the reasons for the visit. You can always convey to the Visa Officer that you would like to visit as a tourist even if you hadn’t chosen to study there.

Ques 3. What are your plans post-graduation? What job or career do u have in mind?

Ans 3. The Visa Officer is trying to ascertain your career options and intentions. They want to know that you intend to return home after your education in USA. They are looking for small statements or responses that may convey that you actually intend to stay back in the US. If this happens then the Visa will definitely be denied. You may mention your family, property, business, even parts that you have in your home country that you would be wanting to get back to.

Ques 4. Will you be coming back home in your vacations?

Ans 4. The answer to this question should be yes. It shows your strong connections to your roots in your home country that pull you back. It would also highlight that your intention to go to the US is just for pursuing education and not earning money through an internship or other opportunities.

Ques 5. Do you have relatives or friends in the US?

Ans 5. Your answer needs to include your immediate family - and this must be answered honestly. Questions regarding your relatives may also include: What are your siblings doing in USA? Are they working there? Would you also consider working in the USA? Is your spouse planning to get an F2 visa? Does anyone in your family have a student visa? etc.

Ques 6. Why should you be given a Student Visa?

Ans 6. You need to make a concise summary of your case and put your best points forward. Emphasis on your excitement for the quality of education you will receive and your ultimate goal to come home to your roots.

Tips for your F1 Visa Interview Preparation

After going through the above, you know that for your F1 Visa interview questions you should do certain things. Here are some F1 visa interview tips:

  • Be appropriately dressed.
  • Carry all documentation properly organised.
  • Arrive on time – and calm and composed and formulate polite and clear responses.

Other things you can do to help your case are:

  • Eat before you go – as it might take time
  • Smile when you talk – let your dream of being able to study in the USA shine through.
  • Look the interviewer in the eyes – this builds honesty and trust.
  • Speak in English as you are going to an English speaking country and should show your comfort with the language.

You should not:

  • Fake an accent or speak in a forced manner.
  • Stare or appear insincere.
  • Offer documents without being asked.
  • Offer excessive information or make long-winded statements.

FAQ Section

Ques. Can I request for a visa extension?

International students who are studying in the US on an F1 student visa may stay in the US until the completion of their academic program. However, students may apply for an F1 visa extension if more time is needed to complete their coursework than what is authorized on their Form I-20.

Ques. Can I work with a student visa?

Foreign students can be employed in the US while studying, however, there are some conditions. International students who have an F-1 and M-1 student visa are allowed to work on-campus and in specified training programs. Foreign students are not permitted to be employed outside the campus during their first academic year. Work hours are limited to not more than 20 hours per week while school is in session, however, you can work full time during holidays and vacation periods. If you choose to work more than one on-campus job, your total combined hours per week cannot exceed 20 hours on as dictated by the US student visa conditions.

Ques. What is OPT?

Optional Practical Training or OPT is temporary employment permit that gives students on F-1 student visa an opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge gained during classroom learning to a hands on work experience off-campus. You may use some or all of a total of 12 months of practical training during your entire course of study or save the full twelve months to use after you complete your program. Permission for Optional practical training is granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and can take anywhere from 90 to 120 days to obtain. It is therefore important to apply for OPT at the earliest possible date.

Ques. Can I change my university/school once I reach the USA?

Once you arrive in the US, you are governed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services rules. As per the student visa conditions, you cannot change your university/school before completing a year there.



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