Getting an F1 student visa is a long process and requires a lot of patience. As an F-1 visa holder, you can pursue any course, i.e., diploma, bachelor's, master's, Ph.D., and can even work part-time for 20 hours every week. Under the OPT program, you can likewise work for a year with an F-1 Visa after completing your academic program. For STEM-approved courses, you can also apply for a year-long extension to the OPT program.
It is essential to understand that while the Visa Interview is an integral part of your F1 Visa application, it is by no means the lengthiest. Usually, on average, the interview lasts for 3-4 minutes. During the interview, the Visa counselor interacts with the student to validate the student's reasons for visiting the US.
This article aims to familiarise students with the interview process and frequently asked F1 visa interview questions. We also cover the documents required for the F1 interview and best practices to follow.
Questions to Expect during your US F1 Visa Interview
The objective of the interview is to establish your status as a legitimate student in the US. Be prepared to answer specific personal visa interview questions from your interviewer about your reasons for attending college or University in the US, finances, work experience, and intent to be back in your home country after completing your course. The visa officer analyses your documents and determines if you are eligible for the US student visa.
*Note: To help you prepare for your F1 student visa interview, Zolve has researched various forums and interacted with students already given the interview. We have compiled a list of common f1 visa interview questions across various categories.
F1 Visa Interview question about your US study program
Q. Which college/university are you going to for your MS, and why have you chosen this University or college?
Tip: Research the university website; keep in mind significant features such as World ranking, the research facility, the faculty profile, Alumni profile, etc.
Q.List of all universities you applied to, and how many admits did you get?
Tip: You aren't going to be judged on the number of admits, visa counselor is looking to gauge how successful you are in your education. Honestly, list all the universities you applied to and the admission status.
Q.What course would you be pursuing during your time in the US?
Tip: Visa counselors look to know more about the students to see how passionate they are. You can start by talking about why you chose that particular course and convince the visa counselor that doing this course adds value to your profile. You can talk about a few pieces of research being conducted in that field or the professor you would be working with.
F1 visa interview questions about your work and educational background
Q.When did you complete your bachelor's, and in which field? What is your undergrad GPA?
Tip: Mention all the specifics of your undergraduate program: name of the course, University, and year of graduation. You can also mention how your undergrad course laid the foundation for your master's.
Q. Do you have any experience in the field?
Tip: You can mention any of your relevant internships or work experience here and the length of your tenure. Talk about what projects you worked on, what you learned from them, and if they motivated you to pursue your master's.
Q. What is your GRE/GMAT score? How much did you score in TOEFL?
Tip: If you haven't attempted any of the exams mentioned by the counselor, explain to the counselor that these weren't required for your program.
F1 Visa Interview question about the finances of your study program in the US
Q. How are you taking care of your financials? Do you have an education loan?
Tip: Mention the name of your sponsors; you can always add that your father and mother are supporting you in your higher education. If you have taken an education loan, It is suggested to keep the supporting documents with you. Share the details of any education loan or scholarships you have.
Q. What does your father/mother do?
Tip: Precisely mention your parents' role in the organization and their nature of work.
Q. What are your sponsor's profession and income?
Tip: You are suggested to carefully go through the Income Tax Returns (ITR) and supporting documents (e.g., documents for any properties mentioned) of your sponsors. Have a good idea of the income source of the person who is sponsoring you
F1 student visa Interview question about your family
Q. How many siblings do you have?
Tip: Visa counselor wants to verify if you have any siblings, are they working, can they help you out with expenses, or do you have a younger sibling for whom your parents may have to raise funds later on.
Q. Do you have any relatives in the US?
Tip: You are suggested to answer honestly. Tell the interviewer about any immediate family member or a relative or friends living in the US.
F1 Visa Interview question about your plans
Q. Do you plan on working while you are studying in the US?
Tip: As an international student on an F-1 student visa, you can work part-time on campus for 20 hours per week during your academic semester and full-time during academic breaks. You can tell the interviewer about any specific internship/work experience you are looking for while in the US or that you wish to focus on your studies and work on campus if you get an opportunity to do so.
Q. Have you been to the United States before?
Tip: If you have been to the US, you can speak about the reasons behind your previous trips, be it a vacation, training program, or medical reasons. If you haven't been to the US, say that you have not yet had an opportunity.
Q. What do you plan to do after completing your studies in the US?
Tip: You can share any career plans you have in mind. Is there a particular job you are looking for? As a student on an F-1 visa, you need to specify to the visa counselor that you plan to return to your home country and do not intend to remain in the US after your graduation. Share what you plan to do after returning home.
Q. Are you aware of the quarantine/vaccination rules?
Tip: Answer by your university procedure. A quarantine period isn't required for every University. If vaccination is required, you can mention that you are awaiting your chance to get vaccinated.
Documents required for the F1 US visa interview
The visa officer isn't looking to scrutinize all your documents; they will ask you for your I-20 and other documents supporting your finances, loan, or scholarship. They might ask for documents to verify your test scores as well. Below is the list of documents required:
1. A valid passport.
2. Form DS-160, The Non-immigrant visa application.
3. Form I-20
4. Additional documents required for F1 student visa eligibility checks include academic transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates.
5. Documents with Test scores such as TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, or SAT.
6. The proof of your strong intent to return to your homeland or your own country once you complete the program.
7. Proof that you can financially pay for your program fees- Bank statements, bank transactions, ITR receipts, etc.
8. SEVIS receipt fee.
9. Receipt of the visa application fee.
10. Visa appointment letter.
Like any interview, it is a formal interaction between two or more people. And like any interview, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the interview questions. You can read up on your admission essay and SOP, a list of universities you applied to. Get to know about the state you will be visiting, the University's history, and the nearby location. Also, go through your financial documents to clearly understand how you would be paying for studies in the US.
However, like in all interviews, confidence and intent are the keys. Stay calm, and practice by answering common interview questions shared above on your own.
Zolve wishes you the best on your journey to the US. You can access various visa resources that we offer online.