How To Prepare For a US Student Visa Interview

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    Your visa has been approved”, are the magical words that every study abroad aspirant yearns to hear. Post your acceptance letter, this is yet another tough nut to crack. Having made through your GRE, TOEFL, and admissions, you can’t afford to think too little of the visa process because this is the golden ticket to your la-la land. Some students who have been successful in their admission process get rejected for their visas.  As intimidating as it appears, proper groundwork can easily reduce the risks and set you up for success in your visa interview.

    Basics First - International students wanting to study academic courses in the US would require an F1 visa which is a non-immigrant visa. J visa is for exchange students and M visa is for those wanting to pursue vocational/non-academic courses. 

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    What are the Key Steps to Apply for a US Student Visa?

    • Get accepted by a reputed school.
    • Pay the SEVIS fee after you have been issued an I-20 
    • Complete the visa application form that is available online
    • Schedule your interview with the visa consulate (plan ahead to get a good slot)
    • Prepare your documents and attend your visa interview

    What are the documents required for a US student visa interview? 

    There is a list of mandatory documents that you need to carry. The documents would include - 

    • Copy of your interview appointment letter
    • DS-160 Confirmation printout
    • Original Visa fee receipt (applicant’s copy)
    • Original I-20
    • SEVIS fee receipt 
    • Passport 
    • Birth certificate
       

    Other important documents include academic documents, financial documents, and documents related to your admission to the US university.  
    Never miss out on any document as it is not possible to run back and fetch it on D-Day.

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    What are the things to keep in mind on the day of your US visa interview?

    On the day of your interview, make sure your alarm doesn’t fail as you are required to reach the venue at least an hour before your scheduled time of appointment.  Owing to the importance of the first impression, carry a warm smile and a poised attitude. You will be interviewed by an American consular officer. Not to be forgotten that the officer is an expert in his profession and would have interviewed thousands of candidates like you.  He would expect genuine straightforward replies.  It is not a difficult task for him to judge you based on your answers and documents as to whether they’re genuine or fake. His truth detector seldom fails.  Honesty, as they say, is the best policy.

    What are some commonly asked US student visa interview questions?

    • Why have you chosen this university?
    • Why did you prefer this school to others?
    • What are your plans post MS/MBA/Ph.D.?
    • What is your source of funding? You should show a combination of liquid funds sufficient to cover your total expenses. These funds can be from your parents, an education loan or other 1-2 sponsors.
    • Few questions based on your GRE/TOEFL/GMAT

    You should remember all the research you did on your chosen university as there might be a lot of questions about it. These questions are framed to ascertain whether you are qualified to study there. Never tell the officer about your green card plans if you have any. As much as the US promotes international students, they never intend to keep you there forever. You should embrace your culture and talk about the plans you have after returning to India. Have a valid and believable explanation as to why you want to return. It can be your job, family, or even your marriage but whatsoever it is, let it be in India.  Also, be clear and specific if asked about your source of funding. Keep the documents handy since they might be needed. 

    Do’s

    • Take all the required documents such as the I-20/ Sevis form, the D-160 form, receipt of the visa application fee. Sevis receipt fee, appointment letter, passport, or the Xerox, passport-sized photograph.
    • Take the documents to show your finances and how you are going to manage your study fees. Hence it is very important to get a clear idea of your finances before you go. 
    • Give an explanation of your gaps in the curriculum if you have any.
    • Observe student visa experiences from blogs and videos to prepare well for the interview; Also ask your friends and seniors about their experiences. You can also avail of Visa Counseling. Contact GyanDhan for the same and we will get you the best service at a discounted price from our partners.
    • Fill all the forms in a black ballpoint pen.
    • Speak the truth and prepare for questions like - “Why the United States and not India or Europe?”, “Why did you choose this university? ”, “What plans after MS?” , “How do you plan to fund your education?” 
    • Ensure that you tell them that you plan on returning to India after your education is over.
    • Be polite and confident in your answers

    Don’ts

    • Not having suitable support documentation or producing false documents.
    • Avoiding eye contact with the officer
    • Appearing too confident/too nervous
    • Dishonest or evasive answers. Don’t exaggerate your answers. Be to the point.
    • Insufficient research on your school
    • Book your visa interview more than 120 days in advance. 
    • Argue in case of rejection
    • Wear any unnecessary accessories on the face in the photo unless they are for religious purposes.

     

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    There would be administrative processing post your visa interview which might be lengthy in certain cases so it is advisable to schedule your appointment at the earliest.  Just in case you don’t qualify for a visa, don’t panic as you can always reapply for it. Financial documents do play a significant role during your interview. We, at GyanDhan, work closely with Indian banks and hence assure expedient processing so that you can move forward with your visa process at the earliest.

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