International students looking to further their education at a United States
institution will need to obtain an F-1 visa. Obtaining one of these visas
is not always an easy process. Not only do you have to prove that you
are a desirable candidate to your university, but you must also demonstrate
the same facts to the U.S. government in order to have them allow you
to pursue your education.
Understanding the Application Process
The application process for an F-1 visa includes an interview, during which
you will be asked a number of questions about yourself, your goals, and
your study plans. It’s normal to be nervous about these interviews,
but preparation can help you pass with ease. Here are five types of questions
you can expect to be asked during your interview.
Your Study Plans
These are the most simple and straightforward questions you will have in
your interview. The U.S. government simply wants to know why you wish
to come to the country to study.
- What degree or field of study are you pursuing?
- What led you to want to pursue that field?
- Where did you attend school previously?
- Why do you want to continue your education?
- Why come to the United States as opposed to attending an institution in
your home country?
Essentially, these questions all focus on what you want to study and why
you have chosen to pursue it at an American institution.
Your Institution Choice
These will be more specific questions as to why you have chosen to study
at the particular school or university that is sponsoring you for your F-1 visa.
- Why did you choose that school?
- Did you apply to any others? How many?
- Were you admitted to any others?
- Were you rejected by any others?
- Do you have any connections at your university already, such as professors
or advisors? What are their names?
- Where is your school located?
The interviewer will be looking to make sure your education plans are solidified
Your Academic Credentials
You’ve been admitted into an American institution; that’s quite
an impressive academic accomplishment! Many U.S. universities are lauded
as some of the finest in the world and perform ground-breaking and even
- Why have they chosen to admit you?
- What are your standardized test scores (GRE, GMAT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)?
- What was your grade point average?
- How good is your English?
- Will you need assistance learning the language while at your school?
- What do you know about U.S. colleges or universities?
It’s a smart idea to bring any supporting documentation to these
interviews, such as a high school diploma, unofficial transcripts, test
results, and more in order to verify your claims as legitimate.
Your Financial Situation
When you come to study in the United States, you are
not permitted to work, so you must have the financial means to support yourself,
which is no small task. The cost of an education in the United States
is considerably higher than that of other countries, and you’ll
also need to factor in housing, food, transportation, health insurance, and more.
Your interviewer will ask many questions about this;
- What is your monthly income?
- What is your sponsor’s annual income?
- How much does your school cost?
- How do you plan to fund the entire duration of your education?
- Were you offered any scholarships or financial assistance?
Bring your bank statements and tax documents with you as well as notes
and supporting documents from your sponsors to your interview to better
clarify your financial backing.
Your Post-Graduation Plans
The F-1 visa is only granted to those who plan on returning to their home
country after their program is completed. While you may change your mind
and opt to have the status of your visa changed later, it’s important
to prove that you do have strong ties to your home country that will motivate
you to return after your studies are completed.
Your interviewer will ask about these ties in detail:
- Do you have family in your home country?
- Do you have a job in your home country?
- Do you have any job offers or positions available to you upon the completion
of your program?
- What are your plans after graduation?
The key to these questions is the interviewer wants to make sure that you
plan on leaving the United States after the completion of your program.
You’ll want to make it abundantly clear that you do in order to
pass this part of the interview.
If you need help preparing for your visa interview, call the
Law Office of Matthew Archambeault. Our Philadelphia immigration attorney has helped numerous clients throughout
his more than 10 years of experience in immigration law. Attorney Archambeault
believes all clients deserve an ally when facing a complex and intimidating
immigration issue, and he provides compassionate and individually-tailored
counsel to all clients.
Contact the Law Office of Matthew Archambeault today at (215) 649-7535 to start your case with a consultation!