65 Questions to Prepare for the F1 Visa Interview
Posted by Rohit Mittal in Education | Updated on November 15, 2022
When applying for your F1 student visa, you will have to do an interview at the United States consulate or embassy in your country.
It’s crucial to prepare for your F1 visa interview. A lot of students fail simply because they didn’t put in the work to get ready for it. Many ended up getting asked unexpected questions they were not ready to answer.
Below we go over what kind of questions you can expect in your F1 visa interview so you can go to your interview prepared, no matter what your interviewer throws at you.
Table of Contents
What is an F1 Visa?
If you are a student, looking to pursue your dreams of studying in the United States, F1 Visa is one of the most common terms you could have heard of. Essentially, this visa could open the door to higher education in the States.
For starters, this is a non-immigrant visa that is usually granted for a period of 5 years. This visa is issued to academic students enrolled in universities, colleges, high schools, language training programs, and other academic institutions.
It is important to mention here that the eligibility criteria and qualifications set for obtaining an F1 visa are quite difficult.
First and foremost, you would have to prove that you have intentions to return home after your education is completed. If your visa interviewer knows that you want to become a permanent resident in the States, your application will be rejected.
That being said, your application must be backed by an official acceptance to a school or educational institute in the US. Talking about financial requirements, you must have sufficient financial backup to cover you living and study costs in the country.
Lastly, an important requirement of the application process is knowing that you possess ties to your home country, including family ties or assets or bank accounts, and the likes.
F1 Visa Acceptance Rate
Although a lot of students want to study in the US, they are often laid back by the tough F1 visa acceptance rate. This is because the chances of getting a visa approval here are very low.
However, over the last few years, the visa acceptance rate has been on the rise which has enabled a lot of students to pursue their foreign study dreams. Let us understand how this analysis stands at present.
2015 Acceptance Rate
In the fiscal year 2015, a total of 987,831 visa applications were accepted. This also includes the J1 and M1 visa applications. This seems like a pretty big number. But, considering the fact that 259,722 more applications were eventually rejected, getting through the F1 visa application process is not easy.
2016 Acceptance Rate
Let us move one year ahead from then. In 2016, there was a total of 644,204 visas issued to students wishing to study in the USA. Coming to 2017, there was a 17% drop in the approval rate for pursuing students. In the year ending September 2017, the total count of issued visas stood at 393,573. This indicates a 39% drop from the numbers we encountered in the fiscal year 2016.
Acceptance Rate in Recent Years
Over the last 4-5 years, the US government has been scrutinizing visa applications far too strictly. This statistical change, however, is dependent on the schools and their categories. While some high-end schools and institutions receive better responses for visa applications, some other schools fall back in this regard.
The F1 Student Visa Interview Questions
During the interview, visa officers are trying to figure out whether you are actually coming to the United States to study or not. Many F1 applicants will pretend to go to the US to pursue studies so that they are granted passageway into the country. The important parts covered during the interview include questions about the college and university, bank and finances, family and relatives, work and job prospects, and other miscellaneous questions that might seem irrelevant during the time of the interview.
Student Visa Questions, Part 1: College & University
In this part, the visa officer is going to ask you questions about the college or university you have applied to. Please note those are just example questions, but they will help you to get prepared.
- What is the name of the college or university you are planning on going to and why did you choose to go to this specific university or college?
- To how many universities did you apply to and why?
- What are the names of the universities you have applied to?
- Did you get accepted by all of them?
- What are the names of the universities you got accepted to?
- What is the name of the university where you completed your undergraduate or graduated degree, and where is it?
- Do you know your undergraduate Academic GPA or Percentage?
- Let us know more about your university: Where is it, which degree did you study or which degree are you planning on studying?
- Tell us the name of the professors you are in contact with from the US university.
- In what year did you get your Bachelor’s degree and from which university?
- What are the reasons for you coming to study in the United States?
- How long are you planning to stay in the United States?
- Why did you apply to this university and not to another one? And how do you know about this university?
- Tell us more about your academic background.
- Are you also planning to study a Ph.D. in the US after having completed your master’s degree?
- The major which you are taking is also available at other universities, why did you decide to go to this university and not to one of the others?
Student Visa Questions, Part 2: Bank & Finance
This part is a really important one and you have to be prepared for all of these us f1 visa interview questions. The visa officers want to know if you will be able to financially support your studies in the United States, as we all know, to live and to study in the United States can be overwhelmingly expensive. It is very important that you answer all of the questions in a way that visa officers are expecting.
For this part, you need to bring your bank statements, transactions, passbook, latest transactions, and other finance-related documents.
- Who is paying for your education?
- How are they able to pay for it? What is their professional background?
- Tell us more about your father’s/mother’s job and income and how long they have been working for the company.
- What is the monthly income of the person who is going to sponsor your studies?
- Apart from that, tell us more of your sponsor’s annual income?
- How much does your university cost for a year?
- Does your sponsor pay for all of it or did you also get a loan?
- Please show us your current bank statement.
- If you are planning to stay for two or three years, how will you finance your education and your living?
- On your bank statement, we can see large portions which only have been deposited recently. Please explain!
Student Visa Questions, Part 3: Relatives & Family Members
For this part of the student visa interview, you need to remember the answers you have given in form DS160. For example, if you have relatives in the United States, tell them that you have relatives there – don’t lie about it. Lying only makes things worse and can cause you a lot of trouble. The following questions are ones you can expect in the part of relatives and family members:
- Do you have brothers and sisters? If yes, how many?
- Are any of them living in the United States or do you have any other relatives who live in the United States?
- Does your mother/father work? If they don’t, what do they do for a living?
- Why does your brother/ sister live in the United States? What do they do here, do they work or study here?
- What is your brother/sister doing in the United States and where? Would you also like to stay in the US to work?
- Did your parents/brother/sister complete any studies? Which ones?
- In which country and in which city do your parents live?
- As we can see you have brothers and sisters, will your parents be able to afford your education abroad in the United States?
- Do you have any relatives studying at the same university you are planning to go to?
- Are you in a relationship?
Student Visa Questions, Part 4: Work & Job
These questions also give an idea about your lifestyle and whether or not you might be going to the US to stay for longer.
- If you work, why do you plan to leave your current job in order to go abroad to study?
- Please show us your CV or any other paper which shows your work experiences.
- What is your salary at the moment?
- Do you also have savings?
- Once you have finished your studies, do you plan to stay in the United States to work?
- Do you plan on working while studying?
Student Visa Questions, Part 5: General Questions
Here you can find a mix of all kinds of questions. Apart from the above-mentioned, they will ask you general questions in between. Here are some:
- What are your reasons to study in the United States, why didn’t you choose to go to Canada or another country?
- Tell me some positive things about the United States, why do you like the United States as a country?
- What are your expectations after having completed your studies and returning to your country?
- Why do you want to do a Master’s or Ph.D. degree?
- Can you tell me why your GRE/TOEFL scores are so low?
- I think you want to immigrate to the United States, or are you planning on going back home?
- Tell us everything you know about education and the education system in the US.
- Why did you apply for a summer semester and not for the fall semester too?
- What are your plans after having completed your studies in the US?
- How can you prove to us that you won’t stay in the US after the completion of your studies?
- Is it your first time to the US or have you visited before?
- What are your career goals back home after your studies? Or are you planning on going somewhere else?
- As you choose this specific university, do you happen to know anyone who studies there?
- What are your plans if your student visa is not approved?
- Are you planning to go home during your summer vacation?
- We can see you got a scholarship, why do you think they gave it to you?
- Why don’t you want to study in your home country?
- Can you explain to us why you changed your field or career?
- Why should we give you the possibility to study in the United States?
- Do you think you deserve to get an F1 visa?
It is an exhausting list but it encompasses the possible us student visa interview questions you might be asked in your interview.
F1 Visa Interview
Once an F1 visa applicant completes all of the documentation for their visa application, the next step to determining their qualification is the student visa interview.
What Is It?
The F1 Visa interview is a brief interview between you and a visa officer that establishes that you meet the requirements of the visa. Not all F1 visa applicants need to interview, specifical students under 13 years old or older than 80 years old, have no requirement to interview. However, if you do need to interview, you will schedule the interview through the US embassy or consulate in your home country.
It is important to note that you must receive your F1 visa at least 30 days prior to your academic program start date. Since the F1 visa is the last step before receiving your visa, make sure to schedule your interview as early as possible to ensure that you will meet the deadline for the visa.
How Does It Work?
Every visa interview is different, and many applicants experience varying types of interviews based on their interviewing officer and their personal plans for the visa. Some interviews are very formal, whereas others are more like a conversion about your academic plans and endeavors.
There is no list of us f1 visa interview questions that every interviewer follows. However, every interviewing officer is only trying to find out two things about your time on your visa.
- What is your intent on studying in the US?
- Can you afford your stay in the US?
Most of the questions the interviewer will ask will pertain to these two topics so you should be prepared to adequately answer any questions regarding your educational plans and financial support while on the visa.
Documents You Need for an F1 Visa Interview
Like with other Visa application interviews, the F1 Visa interview requires specific documentation that you must bring to the interview (to avoid 221g refusal, above all else). These items include the following:
- I-20/SEVIS form issued by the U.S University
- Completed DS-160 visa application form
- Receipt of the visa application fee
- SEVIS receipt fee
- Visa appointment letter
- Passport and recent photograph
- Academic certificates/documents, transcripts, SOP, original GRE, and TOEFL score reports
- Documents that confirm your financial and personal tie-ups to your homeland, which proves your compulsory return after the completion of your course in the US
- If financially dependent, proof of relationship with the sponsor such as a birth certificate is necessary along with the sponsor’s salary proof and job details
- Strong financial support documents and bank statements.
How to Dress for Your F1 Visa Interview
When going in for your F1 visa interview, you’ll want to make a good first impression. The problem with first impressions, though, is that they are made before you open your mouth. People form opinions about others immediately upon seeing them, so you want to make sure you’ve dressed appropriately for your interview.
What is Considered Formal Attire?
- Formal attire for men in the U.S. includes button-up shirts and slacks.
- Formal attire for women in the U.S. includes dress blouses and slacks or formal Indian attire
Dress for the Weather and Season
- Remember to wear clothing appropriate for the weather
- Clothing in the U.S. is seasonal by color; pastels work in the Spring and Summer and darker colors are worn in the Fall and Winter
Keep Accessories to a Minimum
- For women, avoid anything dangling or distracting
- For men, avoid accessories as much as is possible.
- If your religion requires you to accessorize, keep it to the bare minimum allowed
Make Sure Your Clothes are Clean and Presentable
- Interviewing can be a long process, so wrinkle-free or wrinkle-proof clothing is advised.
- Make sure to iron or press your clothes before your interview
Make Sure You Smell Clean for Your Interview
- It is advisable that you wear a neutral to lightly-scented deodorant, so as not to smell bad or too strongly
Make Sure You Look as Close to Your Passport Photo as Possible
- If you wore glasses in your passport photo, wear them to the interview.
- It is not advisable to get a haircut that is drastically different from the one in your passport photo
Top 9 Tips for the F1 Visa Interview
Now that you know all about the F1 Visa interview process and the documentation you should bring with you, all that’s to do is complete the actual interview. For many, this is the most nerve-wracking part. Prospective students that have made it this far in the visa process want to make sure they don’t mess up.
You should know that it’s natural to be nervous, but there is no need to be scared! If you follow these 9 tips, you will be well on your way to receiving your visa in no time:
- Make a Good First Impression
- Communicate Clearly
- Speak English
- Be Prepared
- Know Your School and Program
- Prove Your Intent to Return Home
- Keep Your Answers Precise and Concise
- Stay Positive
- Be Honest
Each of these tips is discussed in more detail below.
Make a Good First Impression
When meeting your interviewer, making a great first impression can set the tone for the rest of the interview. Dressing formally, giving a strong handshake, and appearing confident are easy ways to start off the interview on the right foot.
Just like in any other setting, clear communication helps get your point across much more effectively. You should try and avoid filler words such as “like” or “um” and take your time when answering the questions.
One great way to improve your communication is by having practice interviews with a friend or relative before your real interview. Ask them to take note of how often you use filler words, and to provide feedback on how you can communicate more clearly when answering questions.
All F1 visa interviews are conducted in English, however, if English is not your native language, don’t worry! You don’t need to have the fluency level of a native English speaker, but you should be able to understand all of the questions without needing a translation.
Again, it’s okay to take your time while answering the questions. As long as the interviewer understands that your English level is high enough for your academic program and living in the US, you will still do fine without having perfect English pronunciation or fluency.
Although every interview is different, as stated above, there are two main things the interviewer wants to determine from the interview: your educational plans and financial support. Therefore, you should be prepared to answer student visa interview questions that pertain to these two topics such as ‘how do you plan to pay for your living expenses?’, or ‘what do you plan to do after your educational program ends?’.
Even though the U.S. F1 visa interview questions are not the same for every interview, here are 65 student visa interview questions that will prepare you for what the interviewer will ask during your interview. (Link to the 65 F1 Interview Questions content here)
Know Your School and Program
The interviewer will ask a few questions regarding the school and program you plan to attend. Since the program is the reason you are applying for the visa, you should be well informed about what program you are attending and how it will help you in your future career or educational goals.
Some things to know are how long the program lasts, what you will be learning, what you plan to do with the knowledge you gain from the program, and why you chose that particular program to attend. Overall, think about why you chose to attend that program rather than one in your home country.
Prove Your Intent to Return Home
The F1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, so after the educational program ends, you must plan to return back to your home country. The interviewer will try to ensure that this is your plan by asking you questions about when you plan to return home and what you plan to do after your program.
When answering these student visa interview questions, make sure to clearly communicate that you do not plan to stay in the US after your program ends. If you don’t, this would disqualify you from the F1 visa.
Keep Your Answers Precise and Concise
Most visa interviews are extremely short, often under 5 minutes. Therefore, you want to keep your answers concise so that you have time to answer all of the questions. Again, practicing the interview beforehand can help with this. When you practice answering common interview questions beforehand, you will eliminate the time it takes for you to think of your answer and will increase the effectiveness of your answer.
Since there is so much riding on this interview, many applicants will overstress during the interview. This can make them look questionable and flustered.
You should try to stay as positive as possible throughout your interview so that you appear polite, calm, and relaxed. Even if you feel like you made a mistake, stay positive!
Your visa interviewer has likely given hundreds of interviews before and will know if you are being dishonest. You should never lie during your interview or fake any documents that you bring to the interview. Doing so will only increase your chance of denial.
F1 vs. J1 Visa
Both F1 and J1 visas are provided to students who want to study in the United States. But how are the two different from one another? Let us evaluate these on some of the distinct features.
When it comes to F1 visas, the funding is generally derived from internal or external sources or a combination of the two. In the case of a J1 visa, the student is usually funded majorly by an outside source.
Further, to get an F1 visa, it is essential to provide proper financial support evidence for the first year. On the other hand, when it comes to securing a J1 visa, you need to show financial support for the entire duration of the course.
Thus, the source of funding is an important difference between the two.
A lot of foreign students in the US prefer to work part-time on their university campus to generate some extra income. Both J1 and F1 visas allow this. But, when it comes to the recess periods, the students holding the F1 visa can work freely. However, the J1 visa holder would need additional permission from the Alternate Responsible Officer.
For off-campus employment or Optional Practical Training, the students on an F1 visa can engage in these activities for a total of 12 months, distributed during their study period. On the other hand, the J1 visa holders need to complete 36 months of similar work.
Can the dependents of the visa holder apply for employment during this tenure? For an F1 visa, the dependents cannot apply for a job whatsoever. On the other hand, the J1 visa allows the dependents to apply for permission to work in the United States!
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