Most students think that obtaining a US student visa is a herculean task because it involves preparing a lot of documents and obtaining and appointment and facing an interview. This may be because sometimes visa applications are rejected by the embassy despite having all the required documents and meeting all the criteria.
The visa interview is essentially conducted to determine these factors:
· Determine whether the sole purpose of your travel is to pursue a program of study
· Understand your ability and intention to be a full-time student
· Know your financial status and plans to fund your education
· Assurance that you will return to your home country on completion of your study.
Below are a few pointers that could help you prepare for your student visa interview:
Know the process in detail: Visit the website of a US embassy in your country and get information regarding the visa application process. This will help you know the specifics to prepare the required documents and understand what to expect in the interview. Keep in mind that a visa should be applied for no more than 90 days prior to the expected date of arrival at the university as listed on the I-20.
Be prepared to answer for everything: Preparing for the interview is a must for all those who are applying for a visa. First and foremost, identify your long-term goals and its importance and relevance. Prepare for most commonly asked questions. Reach the consulate a little early. Keep your documents in place. Know the details mentioned in your application. Learn about the university, course, people and your funding options.
Document Preparation: Bring the following to the visa interview:
· I-20 form and the SEVIS I-901 fee receipt.
· Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160
· Eligible passport and photographs.
· All school documents and test scores
· Evidence of funding
· Letters of recommendation for your educational plan
Take any additional documents that you feel would help you prove your ties to your home country and intent to return home. Be completely familiar with all information on the I-20 form, especially those relating to finance. Remember to fill in the applications /forms neatly and completely. If you are getting copies of your documents, ensure that the copies are clear and readable. Organize your documents in proper logical order. A well-organized and orderly set of documents will make it easier for you to find the right one quickly during the interview. Being organized will also help you stay calm.
Answer to the point and truthfully: Know your personal plan well and avoid any prepared speech or script. It is your sincerity and the clarity of your plan that will help you. They are looking for evidence that you have given serious thought to your plans. Provide to-the-point, clear, and concise answers. Do not provide any information that is not relevant or is not asked for. Always give honest answers. Do not lie or exaggerate. Do not hesitate to politely ask to repeat or rephrase a question if you don't understand it.
Some frequently asked questions:
Have you been to the US before?
How did you know about the university or college?
Why this particular university?
How many universities or colleges have you applied to?
What were the responses from these other places?
Why study in the US and not India?
What is the scope of the chosen course and its relevance to you?
Is this course available in India? If yes, why not study in India?
Who is funding your education?
What is your family income?
Are you being sponsored by someone? If yes, what is the relationship you hold with your sponsor?
Why do you think the university has offered you a scholarship (if they have)?
Have you taken GRE, GMAT etc.? If not, why?
Do you want to work in the US?
What will you do after you go back to your home country?
Do you have any friends or relatives in the US?
Six tips for the visa interview
· Wear a business suit or formal dress
· Be specific when you answer your questions
· Bring bank statement or financial documents
· Provide details of study plans
· Stay calm and be professional
· Tell the truth