Ever wondered why some people experience a smooth U.S. student visa processing, but others don’t?
It’s even worse when you ask people for advice, but they keep bombarding you with incoherent information. Such confusion and misleading advice have consistently caused many to fail the student visa interview year-in-year-out.
We’ve all been there and wish things could be more straightforward.
As part of our efforts to promote clarity, we have compiled this article that explains the 10 things you must remember when applying for a U.S. student visa.
Whether you’ve applied before or are applying for the first time, we encourage you to note the points highlighted below and remember them when going for a U.S. student visa interview.
10 Important Things To Remember When Applying for U.S. Student Visa
1. Maintain a Positive Attitude and Give Concise Answers
The most crucial point to know about passing visa interviews is to show a positive attitude and concisely answer every question. Be brief and straight to the point.
Consular officers usually conduct visa interviews under significant time pressure because of the many visa applications they get. It’s no wonder the officers make decisions within the first minute of visa interviews.
2. Proof You Have Ties to Your Home Country or Residence Abroad
U.S. laws compel consular officers to reject people trying to use a student visa to relocate “permanently” to the U.S. The law requires that F-1 or J-1 student visa applicants quickly provide proof that they have ties to their home country and have a residence at home (called residence abroad).
You should prepare to give a good answer if the consular officer asks about your career plans, educational objectives, future employment, family, and other relationships. In whatever you say, try to give the impression that you share ties to your home country and will return home after your studies abroad.
3. English Language is a Big Deal
Student visa interviews are mainly conducted in English because it is the most spoken language in the United States. You will communicate with the consular officer in English throughout the interview session.
If the purpose of your visa application is to study advanced English in the United States, you might be required to explain how that will benefit you in your home country. The reason for such questioning is for them to ensure that you do not intend to use advanced English skills as an excuse not to return home after your studies.
4. Speak only For Yourself
During your student visa interview session, speak only for yourself and not your family or friends, even if you must mention them when explaining things.
If you are in the category of a minor and will need a parent or family member to answer questions on finances or funding, make sure to check the procedures for bringing a non-applicant to the consulate.
5. Understand How the Program Fits Your Career Plans
You must explain why you want to study in the United States. The need for a convincing explanation is to make the consular officer believe that you have no other motive besides studies.
More importantly, during the visa interview, your explanation should indicate that you intend to study in the United States to gain an advantage when you return to your home country. Avoid telling the consular that your career plan involves getting employment in the U.S. after your studies. And if you are applying to be a graduate student in the U.S., ensure your goals have a research focus.
6. Go With the Right Documents
You should only present documents that are well-written, clear, and authentic. Avoid going for a student visa interview with a document that contains lengthy explanations.
Remember the supporting documents to be presented by applicants vary by their situation or condition. The commonly required documents include the following:
- Financial documents (assistantships, scholarships, and letters issued by sponsors, schools, and other organizations)
- Scholarship letter
- Admission letter
- Letter from a supervising professor or faculty member indicating intended research goals
Do your research, ask questions, and ensure you show up with the correct documents when it’s time for your student visa interview.
7. Understand the Requirements for Your Country
Your country’s U.S. embassy or consulate determines the specific requirements for processing your student visa. Certain conditions might be compulsory in a neighboring country’s consulate but not so crucial in your own country.
Review the U.S. consulate’s website to understand the specific requirements for processing student visas in your country. Also, check the page for Visa Appointment and Processing Wait Times on the U.S. State Department’s website to understand the average appointment and wait times for visa processing in your region’s consulate.
8. Be Careful With Questions on Employment
In whatever you say, avoid mentioning that you wish to work in the United States before or after your studies. The primary purpose of your student visa application is to study—focus only on that.
Consular officers appreciate when applicants clearly explain how they plan to return to their home country after their studies in the United States.
Remember that the U.S. does not allow spouses and children applying for accompanying (dependents) F-2 visas to be employed.
9. Defend Your Dependents That Will Remain at Home
If you are leaving behind a spouse or a child, be ready to explain how they will survive in your absence. Avoid giving the impression that you intend to support your family with money earned in the United States during your study.
If you are the breadwinner of your family, put more effort into convincing the consular officer that your family will be fine.
10. Other Small But Vital Points to Note
Some other vital points you must keep in mind when applying for a student visa include the following:
- Before the interview, you will do a ten-digit fingerprint capture (see Biometric Signature and Affirmation of DS-160 NIV application, 9 FAM 403.3-6)
- Individuals applying for a non-immigrant visa must indicate the social media handles they’ve used in the past five years to their application period. (see NAFSA’s page on the DS-160 social media question)
- Administrative processing delays usually occur when an applicant’s name is similar to another person’s own
- The consular officer will question your past visits to the United States and any prior visa status held.
- During a visa interview, the office will also question your current and past legal issues, including arrests and convictions.
Now that we’ve simplified the 10 things you must remember when applying for a student visa, please avoid all forms of confusion from here on.
You stand a much higher chance of acing your student visa interview with ease if you can keep the things we’ve discussed above to heart.
Meanwhile, click here to check out our professional package for students and candidates seeking admission into any university or training program.