Keep in mind that all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on those impressions they form during the first minute or two of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Maintain a positive attitude.
Know the program and how it fits your career plans
Be able to explain why you chose Franklin University and how studying in the U.S. will relate to your future professional career when you return home. Be ready to explain why you want to study that particular program in the United States.
Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview.
Keep your answers to the officer’s questions short and to the point. Do not bring family members with you to the interview. The officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf.
Be clear that your intent is to study in the U.S. While many F-1 students apply for off-campus work authorization after their graduation, this work is incidental to their main purpose for coming to the U.S.
Ties to your home country
You will need to show strong ties in your home country that will ensure your return home after your education in the U.S. Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. “Ties” to your home country are the things that bind you to your homeland: job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc.
Documents to bring to the interview
Bring all documents needed to the interview. The following is a list of required documents or evidence:
- I-20 from Franklin University
- Letter of acceptance
- Original financial documents (financial statements on bank letterhead and stamped by the bank)
- Passport valid for at least 6 months
- SEVIS fee receipt
- Evidence of intent to depart the U.S after completion of studies
- Photograph (check with embassy for specific dimensions)
It should be immediately clear to the consular officer what written documents that you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated.
If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that dependents cannot, under any circumstance, be employed U.S. while in F-1 status. F-2 dependents may enroll in elementary and secondary schools, and they are limited to enrolling on a part-time basis for post-secondary education. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the U.S.
If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are currently the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gains the impression that your family will need you to send money from the United States in order to support them, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied.
If you are denied a student visa, in most cases you will be notified of the section of law which warranted the denial. With that information, OISP may be able to help you identify documents that could help you if you reapply for an F-1 visa. You may ask the consular officer if you may apply for a waiver of your ineligibility or what you should bring for a future visa interview. See more information at the Department of State website.