USA F1 Student Visa Guide: Application Requirements, Interview Questions, Preparation Tips

By Subhashri Roy Updated On - Nov 30, 2020 08:44 AM

Here's how to answer USA F-1 student visa interview questions and what kind of questions you will be asked. From how to apply for an F-1 student visa to how to prepare for the interview, this article has got it all covered. Scroll through to learn more.

Are you right in the middle of the process of transitioning to the US for higher studies? In 2019, more than 200,000 Indian students went to the US for further education, according to the 2019 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange (IIE). Taking into account the huge number of students who apply for an F-1 visa and its low acceptance rate, on the other hand, getting confused while preparing for an F-1 visa interview could be somewhat challenging. 

When attending an F-1 visa student interview, you will be hit with some unexpected questions that might leave you bothered. Although a long process, it is better for you to be prepared for all possible questions related to your study plans, family members, finances, or academic background. 

While every visa interview would be different, with some being extremely formal and some turning into a discussion, it is important that you are prepared for both. Read on to find all about F-1 visas, tips to prepare for visa interviews and the questions you can expect during the interview. 

About F-1 Visa

What is an F-1 Visa?

An F-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the US Department of State to those wishing to study in the US. F-1 visas, granted only in US embassies and consulates outside the US, require students to maintain a full course of study. 

How to Apply for an F-1 Visa?

Here are the steps to follow that will get you your F-1 visa:

Step 1: Get accepted into an education provider in the US

Step 2: Pay Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee and get your I-20

Step 3: Complete the visa application

Step 4: Schedule and get ready for your interview

Step 5: Attend the Interview

Eligibility Criteria for an F-1 Visa

There are not really any eligibility requirements to apply for an F-1 visa but you might have to fulfil the below-mentioned conditions:

  • You must have been accepted to an institution approved by the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

  • You must be able to produce evidence of having strong ties to your home country and that you intend to return home when the program ends.

  • You must have cleared English languages proficiency tests such as TOEFL or IELTS.

  • Lastly, you must be able to prove that you have sufficient funds to cover the expenses of studying and living in the US.  

When to Apply for an F-1 Visa?

A prospective international student can apply for an F-1 visa after he/ she has been accepted to a US institution and the program is to begin within the next 120 days. One cannot apply before that but applying later may lead to delays due to the time required for the visa to get processed. 

Documents Required for an F-1 Visa

Here is a list of documents that you should keep handy at your F-1 visa interview: 

  • A valid passport with a validity date at least six months beyond your duration of stay

  • Recent passport size photograph

  • Payment receipt of application fees for SEVIS

  • Form I -20

  • Confirmation page of DS-160

  • Application as a non-immigrant

The embassy or consulate might ask for additional documents such as the following:

  • Your test scores you used for your university application

  • Your official school transcripts

  • Your diploma and/or degree certificates that you have

  • The bank statements you used for your I-20

Questions to Expect During F-1 Visa Interview

Keeping in mind how crucial the fourth step (F-1 visa interview) is, we have prepared a list of questions that you could be asked during your F-1 visa interview:

Questions Related to Your Study Plans

  • Why do you think that the US is the right study destination for you?

  • What specialisation and major would you opt for?

  • How was your experience at your current/ last institution?

  • How did you know that the programme is ideally suited for you?

  • Why not in India and in a foreign country?

  • What are you aiming at by pursuing higher education in this field?

  • Which universities did you apply to? How many? 

  • Did you get accepted into all of these universities?

  • Why did you choose this university?

  • Tell us about your academic achievements/ background?

  • Which professors of the US university have you contacted?

  • How many universities/ institutions rejected you? How did that make you feel?

  • How do you think you will cope up with the cultural and educational differences between India and the US?

  • Why did you apply for the Fall intake and not the Spring intake? (or vice versa)

Questions Related to Your Academic Record

  • What was your previous score? 

  • Which standardized tests have you appeared for (GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, TOEFL, IELTS)? What are your scores?

  • Do you think you are fluent in English? How would you rate your English proficiency on a scale of 1 to 10?

  • What do you know about the higher education providers in the US?

  • Are you planning to study PhD in the US after completing your Master’s?

  • How many times did you take the test (GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, TOEFL, IELTS)?

Also Read: SAT vs. ACT: What is the Difference & Which One is Right For You?

Questions Related to Your Finances

  • Are you currently employed? What is the salary that you draw?

  • If your visa is approved, who would be sponsoring your education?

  • How is your sponsor planning on funding your education? What is his/her occupation?

  • Have you calculated how much your education would cost you overall?

  • Are you going to be entirely dependent on your sponsor for your expenses, be it educational or living?

  • Can you show us your bank statements?

  • Does your university offer scholarships?

  • Would you apply for scholarships offered by your university?

  • Would your sponsor pay for it all or would you also apply for an education loan?

  • Can we see your tax returns?

  • In your bank statement, huge amounts of money have only been deposited now. Can you explain it?

  • Would you work part-time on campus while studying?

  • Do you have savings?

Questions Related to Your Plans After Graduation

  • Do you already know someone (family/ friend) who is in the US currently?

  • What are your post-graduation plans?

  • What are your career plans?

  • Do you plan on returning to India or staying back in the US and looking for job opportunities?

  • What job role would you prefer after you graduate?

  • Are you sure you would not stay back in the US after graduating?

  • Can you show your updated resume/ CV? 

Questions Related to Your Family

  • Do you have siblings? If yes, how many?

  • Do any of them live in the US or are planning on going to the US in the future?

  • Are you married?

  • What are your siblings currently doing?

  • In which country do your parents/ siblings live?

  • What is your brother/ sister doing in the US? 

  • Do any of your relatives study at the same university that you are going to join?

Also Read: US Election Results 2020 to Determine Higher Education Scenario for International Students?

General Questions

  • How do you plan to go ahead if we do not accept your visa application?

  • Why should we approve your F-1 visa?

  • Have you visited the US before?

  • Why do you think the university gave you this scholarship? (in case the university did)

  • How many international students do the university welcome on an average? Did you get a chance to have a look at that?

10 Tips for a Successful F-1 Visa Interview

Wondering how to crack your F-1 visa interview? Given below are the top 10 tips to ensure a successful F-1 visa interview:

  1. Practice Conversing in English Every Day: If you are coming to the US for higher studies, the first thing you need to make sure is that you are fluent enough in English. The interview, which would be conducted in English, would require you to always reply to all the asked questions in the same language. 

  2. Know the University To Which You Have Been Accepted: One of the biggest mistakes that most applicants make during their F-1 interview is not having studied about the US university well. Understand that questions on the university to which you have been accepted and your answers to those questions could play a decisive role in acing the visa interview. List down all the positive points as to why you have chosen the university for your higher studies along with learning all about its rankings, history, and more.

  3. Have a Clear Set of Goals of Studying in the US: When asked, you must have a clear idea of why you chose the US as your study destination and what goals you seek to achieve while studying in the country. While answering, make sure you have covered aspects such as how you wish to spend your time in the country, contribute to the respective area of study and your post-graduation plans. 

  4. Employment: Never say that you are going to the US with a hope to work after graduation. Try to be as straightforward as possible while talking of your main objective to go to the US, which is to pursue higher education and return home at the end of the programme. Also, if your spouse is accompanying you to the US, she/he would be given an F-2 visa, denying them to be employed during their stay.

  5. Get an Idea of the Programme and How it is Ideal for Your Future Plans: Your interviewer would be interested in knowing why you have chosen the programme and the reasons for which you want to study it in the United States. Be direct and let the consular officer know that you are going to the US to study and not just for the sake of immigrating. 

  6. Display a Positive Attitude: Nobody wants to have a chat with someone who is putting his/her negativity out there. Do not engage in any argument and even if you are not comfortable with the situation/ question, try not to make it visible on your face. In case you are denied the student visa, be calm and leave. You can later ask for the reason in writing.  

  7. Be to the Point: Consular officers would be bound to conduct short interviews because of the volume of applications and limited time. So, it is your responsibility to make their experience with you extremely smooth and quick, giving as concise answers as possible. 

  8. Practice All Common Questions with Someone: It is recommended that you go through the above-mentioned common F-1 visa interview questions not only to have an idea but also to practice their answers in English. This would improve your English speaking skills and prevent you from uttering something that they might not want to hear. 

  9. Gather All the Required Documents: Here is a list of documents that you should keep handy at your interview: 

  • A valid passport with a validity date at least six months beyond your duration of stay

  • Recent passport size photograph

  • Payment receipt of application fees for SEVIS

  • Form I -20

  • Confirmation page of DS-160

  • Application as a non-immigrant

The embassy or consulate might ask for additional documents such as the following:

  • Your test scores you used for your university application

  • Your official school transcripts

  • Your diploma and/or degree certificates that you have

  • The bank statements you used for your I-20

  1. Learn All About the Recent US Visa Changes: Being one of the most heated topics in the US, make sure you are up to speed on the latest developments with relation to an F-1 visa. You might also be asked about your opinion on the same, answer to which should always be neutral.

Hope this article helps you crack your F-1 visa interview? Write to us at abroad@collegedekho.com or call us at 785 9990 990 to simply let us know how it went or clear out your doubts regarding the same.

All the best!

You can share this post!

Related Institutes

Admissions open for 2020

Connect with us to know your study options overseas and kickstart your learning journey for a rewarding experience!

GET FREE COUNSELLING