The F-1 visa is a non-immigrant type of visa, meant for students who wish to come to the United States of America and study any course or level of education. Aside of eligibility criteria and the required documents that a student has to fulfill in order to get this type of visa, the applicant also has to attend an interview with the consular officer.
The purpose behind this interview is that the consular wants to know more about the applicant aside of what the documents say about him or her and understand if the applicant wished to enter the US to study for real, or if there is any other reason behind their application.
Therefore, an applicant must be prepared in advance about the interview. Aside of arriving in time, trying not to be nervous and wearing appropriate clothes, the applicant should also check about commonly asked questions and try to prepare answers prior to their interview.
Most Common F-1 Visa Interview Questions
The consular officers usually ask similar questions to every F-1 visa candidate. This is in your favor since it helps you prepare in advance. Usually the interviewer asks the applicant questions related to their:
- study plans
- university choice
- academic capability
- financial status
- post-graduation plans
Below you can find some of the most commonly asked questions at an F-1 visa interview and also tips on how to answer to these questions, some of which can be really tricky.
Why are you going to the US? What will you specialize in for your degree? What will be your major?
The interviewer will ask you these questions one by one. This is just a ‘warm-up’ for the questions to come. You should tell him / her that you have been admitted to an educational institution in the US. Do not talk a lot. Give short (but not very short) answers, and try not to gibberish since the visa consular will not like that.
Where did you go to school now? Who is your current employer? What do you do?
Other questions that enable the interviewer to understand more about you and your character and get more into the real questions about topics he really wants to know about.
Why are you planning to continue your education? Can you not continue your education in your home country? Why choose the United States of America? Why not choose Canada or Australia?
The interviewer wants to know why you are not joining the workforce, but wish to continue your studies. He / she will ask about your choice of the US as a study destination instead of another country. Try to give more specific answers.
Avoid giving answers as “US is a powerful nation” or “because it has a strong or developed economy” because such cliche answers will make the interviewer think that you admire the US in a way that you wish to live there even after the completion of your studies. Instead, try to talk more about the university / college you will be attending. You can mention professors who lecture in that institution, and are well known as professionals of their field, etc. You can also mention some highlighted features of it such as world ranking, the research facility, the faculty profile, alumni profile etc.
How many colleges did you apply to? How many schools did you get admitted to? How many schools rejected you?
The consular officer wants to shed light on your qualifications as a student and future professional. Keep in mind that students admitted at higher caliber universities will have better chances for a visa. However, you should be honest, when telling how many colleges have rejected you before being admitted to this one. If you lie, the interviewer can easily find out, which may lead to your visa application rejection.
Do you know your professors at that university? What are their names? What city is your school located in?
If you know very little about the university you have been admitted, it would be better for you if you did some research before you attend your visa interview. The interviewer will ask you about the names of professors or other people in charge of the university. Take care to read about the most famous professors at the university, so you can mention their names and any price they have won, book they have published or any other achievement of them.
The consular might also mention some notable alumni to you, if they know any, or ask you whether you know about any notable alumni of the university you have been admitted to. These questions are just to check if you are really interested in getting a proper education, or you are just using this as a way to enter and remain in the US.
Have you been to the US before?
Answer honestly. Tell about the reasons you have visited the US before, i.e tourism, training, medical reasons, etc. If you have never been to the US before you can also say that this is not because you did not want to, but you did not have the chance. Give the impression to the consular that if you don’t get the chance to study there, you would still like to visit the country as a tourist.
What are your test scores (GRE, GMAT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS)? What was your previous GPA?
Even if your university has admitted you, the consular officer will still want to know your likelihood of success at university.
How do you plan to fund the entire duration of your education?
With these questions the interviewer wants to discover how you are planning to fund your stay in the US. If you have enough savings for the entire period you will be in the US then present that to the consular officer. Otherwise, if you have a sponsor as parents, cousins, partner, etc., then you will have to present how they will fund your stay in the US, and if they are capable to do so. If you have won a scholarship for that present documents that prove your statement.
How much does your school cost? How will you meet these expenses?
Tell the consular how much does your school cost, and how much you will have to pay for your accommodation and other expenses. Tell him / her how much money you will be receiving each month and try to prove that it will be enough to cover your studies. Even if you are planning to work some student on-campus job, it would be better not to mention it, because this would lead the interviewer to think you might become a burden to the US public funds.
What is your sponsor’s occupation?
They want to know if your sponsor is really capable to cover your expenses.
Do you have any brother / sister?
If your parents will be your sponsor, then the interviewer wants to know if they would be capable to do so, or they will have to financially support other people too.
Have you got any loans? How do you plan on repaying your loan?
If you do not have any loans you simply say that you do not. Otherwise, honestly tell the interviewer about the quantum of the loan you have applied for and from where you have received the same.
You can also say that you will be able to find a good job in your home country upon your graduation and repay the same. Do not suggest by any means that you would be paying off the loan by taking up odd jobs in the US.
Will you come back to home during vacations/ holidays?
Again, the visa officer wants to know about your relations with your home country and your family. Tell them that you will be going back to your holidays to meet family and friends even if you do not. If you plan to stay in the US during summer or winter holidays and work do not tell that to the interviewer. He will have the impression that you are going to the US to earn money and that you might stay there even upon the completion of your studies.
Do you have relatives or friends currently in the US?
Answer honestly. Even if you have some far away relatives that you only meet every three – four years, tell the consular about them. Or if you have a friend you have only met once or twice, you will have to tell the consular again.
What are your plans post-graduation? Do you have a job or career in mind after you graduate?
Since the F-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa, you will have to convince the consular that you do not plan to remain in the US but rather to return to your home country. If you tell him more about what you plan to do, you will most likely convince him / her that you have no intention to stay in the U after your graduation.
Do you plan on returning back to your home country? Are you sure you won’t stay in the US? Will you continue to work for your current employer after you graduate?
Try to tell to the interviewer that you have strong ties to your home country, and that you will for sure return. Tell them you have your family, closest friends, or a partner in your home country, if you really do. If you have any pet, tell to the him / her about that too. Mention any property, business, organization, etc., that you have and because of which you will return.
Why should you be given a student visa?
In general, this is the very last question you will be asked. Try to put forward a strong case why you should be issued a visa. Try to make a strong point of your case, and be confident. Once again, do not gibberish. Even while answering to this question, try to convince the interviewer by giving him the impression you have no plans to remain in the US and that you will return to your home country for sure.
These are the most commonly asked questions. The consular officer might ask you other questions aside of these. Answer them clearly, do not take a lot of time to think, since in general the interview is short. Provide the consular with all the documents he requires to see. Organize your documents prior to your visa interview so you will not have a total mess in your hands when you go at the embassy / consulate. Keep calm, and try to avoid drinking any alcohols at least 24 hours before your interview. On the day of the interview eat before going to the appointment center, since sometimes you might have to wait a bit longer than foreseen.