F1 Visa Interview Questions

If you are an international student planning to study in the US, you need an F1 Visa. To get an F1 visa, you need to go through a Visa interview at a US Consulate or Embassy. The Visa Officer reviews your application, asks you some questions and then makes a decision, if they would like to approve your F1 visa or not. It is important to prepare well and answer all the questions with confidence during the visa interview to get the F1 visa.

Visa Officers usually evaluate an applicant based on a few key dimensions as listed below:
  • Your plans to study in the US
  • Your choice of the University, Program
  • Your academic ability
  • Your financial status to pay for higher education
  • Your plans after graduation
  • Your ties to the home country

Below are some of the key aspects that the visa officer looks at in each of these key dimensions and the list of common questions that can be asked during the F1 visa interview in these areas.

Plans to Study in the US

The visa officer usually wants to really understand why you chose America and what are your plans. Below are some of the questions you may be asked in the visa interview.
  • Why do you want to study in the US ?
  • What are your goals for the future ?
  • Why did you choose to study in America over other countries ?
  • What is your motivation for studying abroad ?
  • You already have a Masters, why again study MBA or MS in US ?

Choice of the US University, Program

There are few thousand Universities in the US. The Consular Officer would like to understand the reason for planning to attend a particular school or program and why the applicant applied to certain schools. Below are some of the questions that visa officers can ask.

  • Why did you choose XYZ University ? (XYZ is the university that you have applied to )
  • Why did you choose the XYZ Program ? (XYZ is the degree or program that you applied to)
  • How many schools did you apply to ?
  • What all Universities did you apply to ?
  • How many admits did you receive from schools ? What are those ?
  • What all schools rejected you ? Can you list those schools ?
  • What is unique about XYZ university ?
  • Do you know any professors at the University ? Did you reach out to them ?
  • What are the names of the professors at the XYZ University that you reached out to ?
  • What is your undergraduate degree ?

Financial Status to pay for higher education

Unless the applicant gets a full scholarship, the applicant needs to pay tuition fees from their pocket. The visa officer would like to understand how well the applicant is equipped to pay for their higher education. They want to understand who will pay for the education, how the funds will be secured like loans, etc. Below are some of the questions that you can expect on financial status

  • How will you pay for your education ?
  • Who is sponsoring your education ?
  • How much is your tuition fee ?
  • How will you pay for your living expenses ?
  • Do you have any scholarships ?
  • Did you get any TA, GA or RA ?
  • Did you reach out to any professors for funding ? What did they say ?
  • What does your father or mother do ?
  • How much is your father’s or mother’s annual income ?
  • ( if the sponsor is not your parent) What does your sponsor do ?
  • (if the sponsor is not your parent) How much is your sponsor’s annual income ?
  • Does your family have any businesses ?
  • Can you share tax returns of your sponsor ?
  • Do you have any relatives in the US who can sponsor you ?
  • Are you taking any education loan ? Is it approved ?
  • How much is the loan approval for ? Will it pay for your fees and living expenses ?
  • Do you have any on-campus job already offered ?
  • Did you work ? What was your compensation during the job ?

Academic Ability

Getting an admission without having the academic ability to complete the program is no good to the applicant as they will not be able to complete the degree. The Visa officer would usually review the applicant’s academic record, test scores of GRE, TOEFL, IELTS or GMAT, etc. to assess the academic ability of the applicant. Below are some of the questions that you may expect

  • What is your GRE Score ? TOEFL Score ?
  • Did you take the IELTS ? GMAT ? What are the scores ?
  • (if you did not take the GRE) Why did you not take the GRE ?
  • What is your percentage or GPA in your undergraduate ?
  • Can I see your marksheet ?
  • Did you fail in any classes in your undergraduate ?
  • Do you have any pending subjects or backlogs ?
  • Why did you fail in some subjects ?
  • What are your interests in extra curricular activities ?
  • Did you publish any papers in undergraduate?
  • Did you attend or present in any conferences ?

Plans after Graduation

The Visa officer also wants to understand the intention of the applicant after graduation. They want to know their long term plans and what they intend to do after graduation. This is usually used to assess the nonimmigrant intent of the applicant. As per F1 visa, the applicant has to show non-immigrant intent and return home after the program is completed.

  • What do you plan to do after graduation ?
  • Do you plan to work in the US ?
  • Do you want to stay back in the US after studies ?
  • Do you plan to settle down in America ?
  • Do you plan to do a PhD after your Masters ?
  • What are your long term goals after your Masters or Bachelors in the US ?
  • Will you return to your home country after your higher education in the US ?
  • What do you plan to do in your home country after studying in the US ?

Ties to Home Country

As per US Immigration Law, F1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means that the applicant should not have immigrant intent (settle down in the US) and need to return to their home country after education. The Visa officer would look at family ties to the home country and if the applicant really would return after higher education.

It is the consular officer’s discretion to make a decision on this. They usually look for family and social relationships in their home country, investments, financial assets, employment, etc. to make this assessment. Below are some of the common questions that you can expect.
  • Do you plan to come back to your home country after studying in the US ?
  • Do you have any siblings in the US ?
  • Do you have any close relatives in America ? What do they do ?
  • Do you have any business in India ?
  • Why would you return to your home country after studying in the US ?
  • Are you sure you will not stay in America after graduation ?
  • What is the compelling reason for you to return to your home country ?
  • Do you have a job lined up in your home country after graduation ?
  • Do you plan to visit family during the summer break or holidays ?

Some Additional General Questions for F1 Students

Below are some additional general questions that Consular officers may ask.

  • Why should I approve your F1 Student visa ?
  • What were your roles and responsibilities in your previous job ?
  • What is your final year project ? What is the use of the project ?
  • What year did you graduate ? Explain about your undergraduate projects ?
  • What have you been doing since your graduation ?

General Tips for F1 Visa Interview

You need to answer all the questions asked in the interview truthfully. If you say anything that is not true, Visa officers can reject your visa for saying false info and tag your application as fraud. Below are some general tips for the F1 visa interview

Greetings, Dress Code, Attitude

  • Dress comfortably that reflects your personality. Avoid extremely torn jeans or shirts.
  • You do not have to wear a full suit and tie, but a decent formal shirt with jeans or trousers would be fine.
  • Be casual and greet the visa officer with a smile
  • You may be nervous, but do not be intimidated by the visa officer. They are good people, do not be scared and greet them with ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ and wish ‘Good Morning’, ‘Good afternoon’ or ‘Good evening’
  • Have a positive attitude and be confident.
  • Drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Take a deep breath and relax, if you get nervous.

Answer with Confidence, Clarity

  • You should be confident and answer questions clearly and slowly so that the Visa officer can understand your answer.
  • Answer to the point briefly, do not try to answer in detail unless asked to explain.
  • If you are in doubt or did not understand anything, ask again and clarify before you answer a question. If you answer wrongly assuming something, it will do more harm than good