WES Advisor Blog

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Updated for 2019: Preparing for the F-1 Visa Interview

Friday | February 1, 2019 | by WES Advisor

F-1 visa interview

The F-1 student visa interview can be an intimidating experience. Not only do you have to be prepared with the required documentation and receipts, you also need to be ready to answer questions regarding your future plans and motivation behind studying in the U.S.

You can prepare for the F-1 visa interview by getting a sense of the types of questions that may be asked.

Listed below are the five topics you should prepare to discuss:

  • Study plans: These questions relate to your goals and aspirations as a student. They will be very similar to the questions asked in university application essays and interviews. Your interviewer will want to know why you are choosing to pursue higher education in the U.S.
  • University choice: Your interviewer will also be interested in your chosen university. For example, they may ask questions such as how many universities you applied to, how many accepted you, and which schools rejected you. These questions will help your interviewer determine the strength of your academic qualifications.
  • Academics: You will need to prove that you are capable of excelling as a student in the U.S. Your interviewer may take into consideration your past GPA, former test scores, and even past study abroad experiences. All of these factors will help them determine whether or not you will succeed as a student in the U.S.
  • Financial security: You can’t get your F-1 visa without proof that you have enough funds to live and study in the U.S. Your financial plan should include such expenses as tuition, housing, food, transportation, and health insurance. If you have a sponsor who will help pay for your educational expenses, the interviewer will likely ask about the nature of the relationship between you and your sponsor (particularly if your sponsor is not a parent). They will request to see supplemental documentation, such as an official bank statement and letter of support from your sponsor. If your sponsor is not a parent or close relative, then you can expect closer scrutiny of your supporting documentation. That might include proof of what your sponsor earns and how long they have been at their job.
  • Graduation plans: Although you may be interested in working in the U.S. after graduation, through programs such as optional practical training (OPT) and H-1B, it is important to emphasize that you will return to your home country upon graduation. First, you must provide evidence of ties to your home country. Additionally, you must prove your intention to return home following your studies.

Here are some final tips for the F-1 visa interview:

  • Present yourself professionally (and dress professionally) for the interview.
  • Answer all questions clearly and succinctly.
  • Do not lie or exaggerate any of your answers.
  • Remain calm and confident when answering each question.
  • Maintain eye contact with your interviewer when speaking.
  • Ensure your body posture conveys confidence: Sit with your back straight, shoulders held back, and head high.
  • Avoid slumping in your chair and fidgeting.

By following these tips, carefully preparing, and providing honest answers to each question, you will set yourself up for a successful interview. Best of luck!

Related Reading

New U.S. Visa Policy Affects International Students

Employment Options for Students on an F-1 Visa

WES Advisor is an initiative of World Education Services, a non-profit organization with over 45 years of experience in international education. We provide advice and resources for international students and skilled immigrants to help them make informed decisions about education, employment, immigration, and integration opportunities in the U.S. and Canada.