How To Pass the F1 Visa Interview
Ed Zaleck | Dec 01, 2023 Visas
Studying abroad as an international student is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that few will get to experience. With all the perks studying in the U.S. carries, the process to actually get into the country and begin your studies can be incredibly daunting.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already cleared half the battle and got accepted to a U.S. university. However, getting through the F-1 visa interview is another hurdle that can easily throw you off your path if you’re not careful.
But not to worry – ISO’s team of former international students has put together a guide to help you get ready to ace your F1 visa interview.
What to Expect During The Interview
After you have your F1 visa interview scheduled at the U.S. embassy in your country, it’s time to begin preparing. The interview will be different depending on where you go but there are some things you can expect:
- The interview is very brief and typically lasts about 5 minutes, which requires you to be as prepared as possible since your responses need to be concise and time efficient.
- Embassies have strict security measures so you will often be called to a window where a representative will interview you from the other side of the glass (possibly with other people at neighboring windows).
- All interviews will be conducted in English, so you’ll need to be at a level of proficiency to understand what is being asked and answer clearly.
- The consulate officer conducting the interview will generally inform you of the decision at the end of the interview (though there will be additional processing time before you get the visa if approved)
The intent of the interview is to prove why you want to study in the United States. For this, you need to convey that the school you plan to attend is the best course of action for you and give reasons why.
Please be aware that those on F1 visas are supposed to go abroad to study and return home after. If you give any indication that you plan on staying in the U.S. after school, you will be rejected on the spot. You can still apply for jobs or citizenship in the future if you say you aren’t intending to during the interview – just don’t mention it!
Though this all may sound nerve racking, please note you can always re-apply for an F1 visa. So if it doesn’t work on the first try, you can make another attempt later in the future. Take it seriously but try don’t get too stressed out so you can perform your best.
What Information Do You Need to Bring to The F1 Interview?
Since the process is so quick, every second matters and the first impression will go a long way in determining whether you get approved or not.
With this, you need to make sure you have all the necessary documentation for this process. In general, you should make sure you have:
- The I-20 form you received from your sponsoring university
- A passport valid for travel to the U.S.
- Proof of your completed DS-160
- Proof you paid the SEVIS fee
- At least 2 copies of photos that meet passport photo requirements
- Transcripts/diplomas/degrees/etc. from your past academic experiences
- Standardized test scores required by your U.S. university
- Proof of strong ties to your home country
- Can include proof of residency, family member information, future employment/education, etc.
- Proof of financial ability to pay for school
- Can include any approved loan confirmations, bank statements, financial aid/scholarship letters, etc.
In addition, you should make sure you are dressed business professional and comfortable. For men, you should aim to wear a suit and tie. For women, look to wear some combination of a blouse, button-down top, skirt, dress, pants or two-piece separates.
What Types of Questions Will Be Asked?
We included a list of sample questions to prepare for below. Make sure to answer every question honestly and to the best of your ability during the interview. The consulate will often conduct research on you prior and will be able to tell if you aren’t being truthful.
- About your college/university
- Why did you choose to apply here? How many schools did you apply to?
- Where is your school and what are they known for?
- Why do you want to study in the U.S.? Why not your home country? Why not another country?
- What was your GPA/school percentage? What classes did you excel in?
- Why should we give you the opportunity to study in the U.S.?
- Bank and finance
- Who is paying for your education? How are they paying for it?
- How much does your university cost to attend? Will you be receiving any scholarship or loan to pay for your studies?
- Can you explain more about your current bank statement?
- About relatives/family members
- Do you have any family in the United States? Are they U.S. citizens?
- What do your parents do for a living? Where do they live?
- If you have brothers or sisters, do they currently or plan to study in the U.S.? How will they be paid for?
- About your future plans
- What are your plans after your studies? Will you return to your home country?
- What are your career goals after your studies? Do you have any place you’re interested in working at?
- Do you plan on studying beyond your undergraduate program?
Though the interview for F1 may seem overwhelming, preparing sufficiently is the number one way to help calm your nerves. We hope you use the information above to help you. All your hard work has led up to this moment, so make sure your don’t let the opportunity pass!
When you get to the U.S., you’ll need a health insurance to ensure you don’t wind up stuck with major medical debt. If you need a plan designed to meet your school’s insurance requirements, look into ISO’s F1 student plans.
About ISO Student Health Insurance
Founded in 1958, ISO prides itself on being the leader in providing international students with affordable insurance plans. Administered by former and current international students, we are able to assist our member with multilingual customer service in Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, and more. ISO serves over 3,200 schools/colleges and more than 150,000 insured students every year.
For more information, please visit www.isoa.org and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn.