Getting an F1 student visa is a long process and requires a lot of patience. As an F-1 visa holder, you are allowed to pursue any course, i.e. diploma, bachelor's, master's, PhD, 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 completion of your academic program. For STEM approved courses you can also apply for an 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 counsellor 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 F1 Visa Interview
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, intent to be back to your home country post the completion of your course. The visa officer analyses your documents and determines if you are eligible for the visa.
*Note: To help you prepare for your F1 visa interview, Zolve has researched various forums and interacted with students who have 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 for your MS and why have you chosen this specific 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 counsellor is looking to gauge how successful you are about your education. Honestly and precisely list down all the universities you applied to along with the admit status.
Q.What course would you be pursuing during your time in the US?
Tip: Visa counsellors 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 counsellor 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 bachelors and in which field? What is your undergrad GPA?
Tip: Mention all the specifics of your undergraduate program: name of the course, university, year of graduation. You can also mention how your undergrad course laid the foundation for your masters.
Q. Do you have any past experience in the field?
Tip: You can mention any of your relevant internships or work experience here along with the length of your tenure. Talk about what projects you worked on, what did you learn from them and if they motiated you in any way to pursue your masters.
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 counsellor, explain to the counsellor that these weren’t required for your program.
F1 Visa Interview question about 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 for your higher education. Share the details of any education loan or scholarships you have. In case you have taken an education loan It is suggested to keep the supporting documents with you.
Q. What does your father/mother do?
Tip: Precisely mention about your parents role in the organisation and their nature of work.
Q. What are your sponsor’s profession and income?
Tip: You are suggested to go through the Income Tax Returns (ITR), and supporting documents (eg. documents for any properties mentioned) of your sponsors carefully. Have a good idea of the income source of the person who is sponsoring you
F1 Visa Interview question about your family
Q. How many siblings do you have?
Tip: Visa counsellor 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 future plans
Q. Do you plan on working while you are studying in the US?
Tip: As an international student on a F-1 student visa, you are allowed to 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 you are 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 for medical reasons. If you haven’t been to the US, simply 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 a F-1 visa, you need to specify to the visa counsellor 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 about the quarantine/vaccination rules?
Tip: Answer in accordance with your university procedure. 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 visa interview
The visa officer isn’t looking to scrutinize all your documents, they will ask you for 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. Other additional documents required for F1 student visa eligibility checks like 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 familiarise yourself with the interview questions. You can read up on your admission essay and SOP, list of universities you applied to. Get to know about the state you would be visiting, about 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, just like all interviews, confidence and intent is the key. Stay calm, 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.