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Adapted from NAFSA

Points to remember when applying for non-immigrant visa:

1. Ties to Your Home Country

  • Be prepared to prove to the consular officer that you are planning to return to your country upon the completion of your education. All non-immigrant visa applicants are viewed as intending to immigrate until they can convince the consular officer that they intend to return to his/her country. The consular officer may ask questions concerning.

  • How your program (major) on your I-20 will benefit your future professional career in your country.

  • Ties with family, or other relationships.

  • Educational objectives and grades.

  • Long range plans and career prospects in your home country.

  • If you overstayed your authorized stay in the U.S. previously, be prepared to explain what happened clearly and concisely, with documentation available.

2. English

  • Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not your native language.

  • Practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview, but do not prepare a speech.

  • If you are coming to the United States solely to study Intensive English, be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country.

3. Speak for Yourself

  • Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview.

  • The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak for yourself.

4. Be Brief

  • The consular officer must conduct quick and efficient interviews due to time constraints. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute of the interview.

  • What you say and the initial impression you crate are critical to your success.

  • Keep your answers to the officer’s questions short and to the point.

5. Additional Documentation

  • You will have 2-3 minutes of interview time. Therefore, your written documents should be clear and organized.

  • Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated.

6. Not All Countries Are Equal

  • Applicants from countries suffering from economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas.

  • Students from these countries are more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after they study in the United States.

7. Employment

  • Assure the consular officer that your main purpose for coming to the United States is to study.

  • If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2, you must realize that dependents cannot, under any circumstance, be employed in the United States. Volunteer work and attending part-time school as a non-degree-seeking student are permitted activities.

8. Dependent remaining at home

  • If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in you absence.

  • If your family does decide to join you at a later time, it is helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa.

  1. Maintain a positive attitude

Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing in order to prepare documentation when you reapply.