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F1 Visa Interview: How to prepare for US student visa interview?

F1 Visa Interview: How to prepare for US student visa interview?

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Learn how to prepare for your F1 visa interview with our comprehensive guide, covering essential tips and insights to help you succeed in obtaining your US student visa.

GyanDhan
Rohit Gidwani
Updated on:  04 Mar 2024  | Reviewed By: 
Aman 
| 5.7K | 10  min read

If you're aspiring to study in the United States, obtaining a student visa is a crucial step. The moment you hear those words, "Your US student visa has been approved" brings a sense of excitement and anticipation. Now, there's great news for international students planning to study in the US, you can apply for the F-1 student visa up to 365 days before your academic term begins. This significant update allows for a more extended timeframe to complete the visa application process.

In particular, if you're an Indian student, there's even better news. US authorities have acknowledged the significant number of Indian students choosing to study in the US and plans to increase student visa appointments for Indian students by at least 30 percent this summer. As the visa appointment slots are expected to open in the third week of May, now is the perfect time to equip yourself with essential knowledge about the F1 visa interview and prepare effectively. Understanding the interview process and having a few preparation tips up your sleeve will empower you to navigate through the visa application journey with ease.

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Types of Visa for USA

There are majorly three types of visas for US, they are -

  • list items F1 Student Visa - If you are a student who intends to study in the United States for a full-time program then you will need to obtain an F1 visa. This applies to both undergraduate and graduate programs such as pursuing an MS in US or an MBA in US. Starting from May 30, 2023, the fees for F1 student visas will be increased from USD 160 to USD 185.
  • list items J1 Exchange Visitor Visa - The J-1 exchange visitor visa is designed for individuals such as students, visiting scholars, or lecturers who are participating in an exchange program. For instance, Fulbright scholars and many other students from Indian universities who are traveling to the United States for short-term study abroad programs.
  • list items M-1 Vocational / Non-Academic Student Visa - The M1 visa is a category of student visa that is specifically intended for those attending vocational or technical schools. Although the application for both F1 and M1 visas is similar, the key difference is that M1 visas are time-stamped upon entry and students are not permitted to exceed their authorized stay period

 

Before digging into preparation tips for the F1 visa interview, it is important to grasp the general eligibility requirements and application process for obtaining an F1 visa. Let's explore these aspects to ensure a comprehensive understanding before proceeding further.

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Eligibility for F1 student visa to study in USA

There are some eligibility requirements that you will need to meet to get an interview slot and clear the same with ease. The eligibility requirements that you would need to keep in mind are -

  1. list items The students should have a nationality other than American that is they should be foreign natives.
  2. list items Must have admission letter/offer approved by the university as it forms the very basis of the visa.
  3. list items Financial proof that can show you will be able to complete and fund your education.
  4. list items Health Insurance and Medicare backups.

 

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How to Apply for F1 student visa to study in USA?

This is where most people get confused as there are steps that they are not able to understand and ultimately leading to challenges in the process. All the steps below are mentioned should be carefully followed -

  • list items Step 1: Get your I-20 from your university: I-20 is a form that is issued by your university that act as additional proof that you are legally enrolled in a program of study in the United States. You will need it when you are applying for F1 student visa, as this will have information like the student's personal details, program start and end dates, and estimated expenses.
  • list items Step 2: Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee: SEVIS tracks and monitors nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors. Once you have received I-20 from your university, then you can go online and pay SEVIS I-901 fee. The price would be around USD 350 for F1 student visa.
  • list items Step 3: Fill out the DS-160 form online: You will need to go online and fill out the DS-160 form. This will contain your basic information which is required by the US government to understand what is the purpose of your visit (study in this context) and whether it is safe for them to let you enter the country or not.
  • list items Step 4: Make an OFC Appointment: The applicant must book an OFC appointment to submit important documents and biometric data for visa processing. Applicants give their biometrics such as fingerprints and visa photos before their visa interview at the visa application centers(VAC).
  • list items Step 5: Make an appointment for your visa interview: Contact your nearest US embassy or consulate (preferably, the one you listed on your online application i.e. DS-160) to organize your visa interview after you’ve filed form DS-160.
  • list items Step 6: Make payment for your visa application fee: After that, pay the application fee of USD 185. This charge is the same regardless of where you apply or where you are from. It is important to note that the exact date you pay this charge will differ based on your embassy.
  • list items Step 7: Attend your visa interview: The interview is the final major step in the visa application process. This interview will determine whether or not you are granted a student visa in the United States.

 

Important Update: Applications window for US student visa to open 1 year before the start of the academic program. Click here to read more about it.

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Document required for F1 visa interview

Although a majority of the documents have been covered in the process above, let’s summarise all the documents that are required in the F1 student visa application.

  • list items Valid passport
  • list items Recent photographs according to the format and dimensions mentioned on the visa website.
  • list items Payment proof of 185 USD visa application fees.
  • list items I-20 form or the certificate of eligibility for non-immigrant student status.
  • list items DS-160 form or the non-immigrant visa electronic application form
  • list items For male candidates, in the age group of 16-45 years, the DS-157 form needs to be filled

 

Read more about: Documents required for US student visa

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How to prepare for F1 visa interview?

Now that you have applied for F1 visa interview and booked your slot, you will be soon going for the same. These preparation tips may be helpful for you in knowing about the whole interview scenario and how can you clear it in one go.

F1 visa interview questions and answers

During the F-1 visa interview, the interviewer will assess your preparedness for the academic program and eligibility. Personal and career-related inquiries will be made regarding your educational background, program selection, career objectives, finances, and sponsorship. It is advisable to arrive at the interview venue ahead of time with all the required documents. Researching potential interview questions in advance can help prepare for the interview. While the documents serve as evidence to support your statements, it's important to only present them when requested.

Having an idea of what does a visa officer look for in US student visa interviews can help you to be more confident and prepared. Questions are generally asked on:

  • list items Academic qualification
  • list items Financial status
  • list items Personal questions
  • list items Future plans and job prospects

 

Some example questions are as follows -

  • list items Which all universities did you apply to (both admits and rejects)?
  • list items Why did you choose this particular school/program?
  • list items How are you funding your education in the US?
  • list items Why are you going to the US? What will you specialize in for your degree? What will be your major?
  • list items What is your next move after completing the course? Will you come back to India?

 

Read more about: F1 Visa Interview Questions with Tips

Are you seeking additional assistance with more questions similar to these and looking for tips and advice on how to effectively answer F1 visa interview questions?,  you can connect with other international students that have cleared F1 visa interview to learn from their experiences via GyanDhan’s discussion forum.

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Mistakes to avoid at your F1 visa interview

There are several pitfalls that you should be aware of so that they do not cause any difficulty during the interview. Some of the common pitfalls that you need to be careful of are -

 

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Now that you have all the required information about F1 student visa for the USA, you will be able to better prepare yourself for the whole process. The visa process can be time-consuming and thus it is advised to start your visa process at the earliest. To help you with F1 visa, Gyandhan has partnered with the team of best counsellors to help students prepare for their interviews. So, what are you waiting for, start your visa counselling service now!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can we change the I-20 after the F1 visa slot has been booked?

Yes, you can change the I-20 after you have booked your visa slot but have not still attended the interview. all you need to do is transfer the SEVIS from University A to University B. You do not need to pay the SEVIS fee again for the new university. Once you have a new SEVIS number then you would have to fill out a new DS-160 form for your new university. When both of these are done then you are required to just log in to your account on the CGI Federal website and change your DS -160 confirmation number and SEVIS ID. You will not have to pay the visa fee again. To know about the process in detail click here!

I have heard that accessories are not allowed in F1 visa interview, is it true?

Too much jewelry may distract your interviewer and can be inappropriate given the formal nature of the interview. Limit your choices to simple accessories like watches and more.

What should you wear to the F1 visa interview?

It's recommended to wear professional attire for F-1 student visa interviews, such as dress shirts, ties, suits, pantsuits, and jackets. These formal clothing options are always considered appropriate.

When are the visa slots available for fall 2023 intakes?

US student visa slots will be open for Indian students in mid-May. This will be the first batch of appointment for the upcoming fall 2023 intake.

     

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