F-1 Visa Interview Tips

Top Tip: Reassure the consular officials by talking about the things that tie you to your home, like family, property, employment.
Here are some specific suggestions to help you prepare for your visa interview:
1.       You need to know and show what you will do with your degree from a U.S. institution (or, if you want to attend an English language program, with your better English) when you return home. You need to have good (plausible) future plans in your own country.

2.       It is often very helpful to have a job offer–in writing– from an employer in your home country promising you a good job or a higher position in the company WHEN YOU RETURN FROM THE U.S.

3.       You should know what the job situation is in your field in your home country. With a little research you can find out what the job prospects are. The U.S. consular officials will know about these things, too. It’s usually better for you if you can show that you will have good job prospects in your home country after finishing your program in the U.S.

4.       You should practice for the interview with friends. The practice interviews should be no more than three minutes long and very unfriendly. While the consular officer will probably be cordial in the real interview, it is best to be prepared for the worst. You should be ready to answer questions such as “Where did you hear about this school?” etc.

If you don’t know very much about your chosen school, the consular official will often refuse to give you a visa. Consular officials may think that you are not really planning to go to school but are simply trying to enter the U.S. to work.

5.       You should write a “statement of purpose” explaining why you want to go to this particular school and what you hope to do with the knowledge later on IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY.

6.       If your financial status is an issue, you may want to pay tuition to the school in advance and present the receipt to the consular official. The official will almost certainly respect this gesture. Bank loans are NOT good evidence of financial support for students. Consular officials think that people with loans are more likely to seek employment in the U.S. so they can pay back the loan.

You should be honest with consular officials at all times. For example, applicants in some countries might not want to show their true financial status because they may be trying to “shield” income from taxes. Thus, their financial statements may not show this “black money” and so may not show enough money for education in the U.S.
But, U.S. consular officials actually don’t care at all if your family is hiding income from your own government. They will, however, appreciate your honesty and be much more likely to grant the visa if they know your true financial status.