65 Questions to Prepare for the F1 Visa Interview
If you decide to study abroad in the United States, you will be hit with some questions we recommend you be prepared for in your interview. There is a long way to go to get your F1 visa and we want to explain the part of the process that puts some people on edge.
When applying for your F1 student visa, you will have to do an interview at the United States consulate or embassy in your country. We prepared an interview guide for you so that you can go to your interview super prepared and not worry about faking it or being nervous about it. It is important to prepare for your interview in advance so that you can enter smooth sailing no matter what your interviewer throws at you.
Make sure to prepare for your interview because there are a lot of students that fail this interview 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 and were not able to give the correct or clear responses to what can be very difficult questions.
Below we go over what the F1 interview looks like, and what kind of questions you can expect to receive!
The F1 Visa Interview
During the interview, visa officers are trying to figure out whether you are actually coming to the United States to study or not. They do those interviews because, unfortunately, a lot of people apply for an F1 student visa and don’t plan to study in the United States – they just plan to immigrate and overstay their visa. 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.
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?
Part 2: Bank & Finance
This part is really important one and you have to be prepared for all of these 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 living and studying 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!
Part 3: Relatives & Family Members
For this part of the 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 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 you 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?
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?
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 the 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 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 visa interview.
What Is It?
The F1 Visa interview is a brief interview between you and a visa officer which establishes that you meet the requirements of the visa. Not all F1 visa applicants need to interview, specifically 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 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 birth certificate is necessary along with the sponsor’s salary proof and job details
- Strong financial support documents and bank statements.
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 11 tips, you will be well on your way to receiving your visa in no time.
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 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 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 questions are not the same for every interview, here are 65 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 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.
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