Preparing for your Student Visa Interview
This information is strictly for informative purposes only. The visa decision is solely based on the interviewer’s opinion of the information you provide them. The visa interview has personal and consequently unpredictable factors involved in whether your visa application gets accepted or rejected.
Consular officers would really like to see that applicants are honest. They do not want anyone to stay illegally in the U.S.
- Wear dress clothes. Make sure your appearance is clean and neat. The interviewing officer will always be an American (the interpreter if required may be local).
- Arrive early. You don't want to miss your interview just because you got stuck in traffic.
- Candidates should greet the officer with a smile and a "good morning" or “good afternoon”, as soon as you enter the interview booth.
- Candidates should have a confident posture and look at the interviewing officer straight in the eyes throughout the interview.
- Be confident in your answers, whatever you say. Make short, clear, to-the-point replies, in a clear voice. Do not tell anything that is irrelevant or not asked. By mistake, you may give some unnecessary information that may lead to your rejection.
- Be polite, do not argue and do not ask unnecessary or unrelated questions. Do not unnecessarily elaborate your responses as this may not work in your favor.
- Demonstrate respect in your language even if you don't feel this is being reciprocated.
- Often times you might not understand what the interviewing officer is saying because of his/her American accent and/or the microphone system. If you do not understand one of their sentences do not feel afraid to say, 'beg your pardon; I did not understand you.'
- If you know English, it is preferable to have the interview in the English so that you and consular officer can understand the each other. Interpreters mess up sometimes.
- Consular officers are very smart in their profession. They can figure out true intentions of applicants most of the times because of their training and experience.
- Be honest during the interview and while preparing the documents. The consular officer is not your enemy and he is just doing his duty.
- Remember the purpose of the visa is to get your college degree.
- Always reply with correct answers. All data while applying for the visa and details of the answers given in your interview are computerized and maintained. If your visa is rejected once, you can't be changing your details the next time you go for an interview.
- Your appearance should convey who you are. If you are a student, you should look like a student. If you are an executive, you should look like an executive. Your body language should convey friendliness, but also that you are serious about your goal.
Documents to take with you to your Visa interview:
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application
- Application fee payment receipt
- Photo (printed version)
- Acceptance letter
- Financial documents (bank statements, sponsor letter, etc.)
- I-20 (signed)
- Photos of your family
- Program of study information (printed off from the school’s Website)
Consular Officer Didn't Look at Documents
Many people complain that the visa officer did not even ask any questions nor looked at any documents and rejected their application which is not fair at all. It is not like that in reality. Visa officers are experts in their profession and they are appointed in consulates in foreign countries after extensive training. Due to their vast experience, visa officers, many times, can figure out true intentions of applicants just by looking at them. They can even figure out whether information provided in the application and/or documents may be true or fake. They don't need to talk to applicants in many cases. You may be surprised to know what things they may know, such as the value of property in a given area, income/income tax ratios, and many other things.
If You Get the Visa:
You will need to leave your passport at the embassy to receive the visa stamp. It can take up to 2 weeks to receive your passport back with the visa stamp.
Once you receive your passport, immediately go through all the information on the visa stamp very carefully. Make sure there are no typographical errors in your name, passport, number, date of birth, etc. written on the visa stamp. If there are any such errors, contact the visa application center to get it corrected. Even a small error is not tolerable as it can cause trouble later on, and should be corrected as soon as possible.
If You Don't Get the Visa:
- That's not the end of the world! It doesn't change anything in life. Things continue to be as excellent as they were before.
- You did your best. The rejection was solely due to a whim of the interviewing officer.
- We can always apply a second time. Something to think about...