The United States remains the top choice among students for higher education, particularly those coming from developing countries. The reasons for such high demand are multi-fold and include well-maintained infrastructure, more industrial exposure, highly qualified academic staff, and others. Naturally, with the increasing demand, the logistics for getting here are tightly monitored.
In order to study in a university in the United States, you need to submit an application for Category F-1 Student Visa, which is a non-immigrant visa. However, mere submission of an application will not assure you an entry into the country because the last step is the most important one: you must give the visa interview.
The Visa interview is one of the most daunting experiences for any applicant, but this does not mean that it is necessarily a tough nut to crack. The Visa interview is not an examination, but a regular assessment of what your intentions are with respect to education plans in the country. However, many applicants lose calm and make mistakes, and this causes them a sorry result.
I have compiled a list of 5 tips for nailing the visa interview. Keep them in mind before you head to the embassy or consulate on the D-Day. So, let us take a look at what you should do.
- Focus on English
English will be your greatest companion when studying in the United States. If you come from a non-English speaking country, then it is highly advised that you pay attention to your command on the language.
The visa interview will be conducted by officers in the embassy or consulate who will communicate in English. Failing to express yourself adequately in front of the interviewers can be a great setback and can result in non-acceptance of your application.
To improve your American English, you should consider watching American TV shows and movies, listening to songs, and reading as much in English as you can. You must familiarize yourself with the language and the American accent if you wish to be able to communicate effectively.
- Have All Documents In Hand
Your application will be assessed on all counts. You must show your seriousness towards studying in the country to the officers. For that, you must present all the documents necessary and that reflect your seriousness.
These documents include your visa application, I-20 form issued by the university, the acceptance letter (of course) and identity proofs among many other things which the embassy or consulate might require you to present at the time of interview. In addition to these, you must provide sufficient documentation that you have requisite financial support to start and carry forward your education in the country.
- Your Ties To Home Country
An F-1 category visa is a student visa which is non-immigrant in nature. However, as more and more reports emerge of illegal overstaying of individuals on student visas, all applicants for non-immigrant visas are viewed as potential immigrants; and if you fail to assure them that you are going to return after the completion of your education, you will run the chance of your application getting rejected.
The Interviewer will inquire your ties to the home country i.e. whether there is anything that binds you to come back after completion of the course in the United States such as family or property. You must assure the officer that you do not intend to overstay and wish to return as soon as you get done with studies.
- Know Your Program Very Well
You want a student visa so that you can pursue an academic course in the United States. It is a big decision to choose a foreign country for your academic adventure and hence, it is expected that you are well-informed of what you want to get out of it.
The interviewer will ask you about the program you have opted for and the reasons for the same. You must know in and out about the program and how it will affect your future career prospects. Not being able to articulate your reasons concisely and smartly will give an impression that your intentions are just to immigrate and not study.
- Be Calm and Positive
You will be faced with a series of questions many of which will enable the officer to gauge your intentions. Basically, the officer is trying to read you through your verbal and non-verbal behaviors, and any sign of hesitation and misplaced excitement can raise red flags. Moreover, you must understand that it is an interview not a debate so do not enter into an argument. Maintain a calm, composed and positive attitude throughout the session.
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