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How to be interviewed for a visa to the USA

The interview at the consulate is the most important part of the process of getting the U.S. student visa F1. Read below, what documents are required and what questions will be asked.

The process of the interview

At the appointed time come to the interview to the selected consulate. They will check your documents, take fingerprints and give a number in the queue (all details will be explained on the spot). When your number or name is announced, you will have to come to a window, where a visa officer is. He or she will interview you. During the interview, the officer can ask you to show some confirming documents (see below). The interview usually lasts a few minutes.

Do not take anything extra

It is forbidden to bring electronic devices (including cell phones) and dangerous things to U.S. embassies and consulates. More details on www.ustraveldocs.com in the section “Nonimmigrant Visa Information” → “Security Regulations”.

What will be asked

According to paragraph 214(b) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, everyone who gets the American nonimmigrant visa is regarded as a potential immigrant. The main task of the visa officer is to make sure that:

  • You are not a potential immigrant
  • You provide true information about yourself
  • You have enough funds for being in the USA during the trip/study

Below there are questions that may be asked at the interview. Answer the truth. Your answers are checked with given by you in the DS-160 form.

General questions. Often only they are asked.

  • Purpose and duration of the trip
  • What places are you going to visit? When?
  • With whom do you travel? In some cases: if traveling alone, then why?
  • What do you do?

Questions about you

  • If you are studying
    • Where do you study? What do you study? Which year?
    • What are your plans after graduating from the school/university?
  • If you are working
    • Where do you work? What does your job consist of?
    • How long have you been on your last working place?
    • Why did you decide to leave your previous job?
    • What is your income?
  • Do you own real estate in your country?
  • Have you been to the USA before? With what purpose?
  • What countries have you visited in the last year (two years, five years)?
  • With what purpose did you visit <country name>?

Questions about your family

  • What is your marital status?
  • Who do you live with?
  • If you are married (including civil marriage), then how long?
  • Do you have children? How many? What age are they?
  • What does your spouse do?
  • What do your parents do (if you live with them or if they pay for the trip)?

Questions about the trip

  • Who pays for the trip?
  • Why did you choose this city/state?
  • Do you have relatives in the USA?
  • Do you have friends in the USA?
  • If you are going at the invitation from friends (relatives), what do they do? For how long have they lived in the USA? How did they get to the USA? How long haven’t you seen them? How long have you known them?

If you are going to study in the USA

  • What educational institution are you going to? Why this one?
  • What are you going to study? Why this profession?
  • If you are going to English courses, for what purpose do you study English?
  • What are your plans for future?

What influences the decision to issue a visa

The decision about issuing a visa is made purely individually. But it is considered, that the factors listed below can influence the decision of a visa officer. Though, depending on the situation, they may not play any role or even change their value.

Positive factors

  • Experience of traveling to other countries, especially to developed ones
  • Presence of parents, husband or wife, children living in your country
  • An interesting job in your country
  • Real estate in your country
  • Any other factors showing the connection with your country and motivation to come back

Negative factors

  • No travel plan
  • Plans to stay in the USA for a long time without a certain business
  • Lack of funds for living in the USA during the trip
  • Presence of friends in the USA

What documents shall be taken to the interview

Required documents

Additional documents

Take any other documents that can confirm your intentions, information given in DS-160 and can influence the decision about issuing a visa. They shall be provided only at the request of a visa officer.

  • Old international passport (with earlier issued visas and travel stamps)
  • Statement of the bank account
  • Employer’s statement (with the position, salary and working experience) or statement from the university or school
  • Statement of leave from work or academic leave at the university for the dates of traveling to the USA
  • Marriage certificate
  • Children’s birth certificates
  • National identity document
  • Documents of the ownership or participating in business in your country
  • Documents confirming the ownership of expensive property in your country

How to behave at the interview

Stay confident and friendly. Be prepared well to the interview. Know answers to any potential question in advance. Don’t create the impression that you are going to the USA with the purpose to immigrate. At the interview, especially when getting the student visa F-1 they can start speaking English with you immediately. If you feel that language barrier can disturb your interview, say that at the moment you feel more confident when speaking your mother language and ask to use it.

After the interview

If the visa is approved

At the end of the interview a visa officer will tell you, if your visa is approved or not. If it is approved, the consulate reserves your passport to paste in the visa. After that, usually in 1-3 days, you will get your passport in the way specified, when signing in for the interview.

If the visa is denied

If the visa is denied, the passport is returned immediately, and usually the reason for the denial is explained. In case of failure, you can apply again. Learn more on www.ustraveldocs.com in the section “FAQ” → “Visa Refusals”.

Additional processing

In rare cases, the consulate carries out additional administrative processing. Most of all, it is completed within one month. According to the reviews, usually the consulate checks people, who have specific knowledge in science and technologies. See more on www.ustraveldocs.com in the section “Applying for a nonimmigrant visa” → “Application Pending Further Action”.

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