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How to Ace Your Interview

Congratulations! You have received an admission letter from a U.S. university. Now it’s time to start preparing for your visa interview. Although the visa interview for international students can seem intimidating, it can be easy if you are well prepared.

Visa Interview Checklist

After completing the DS-160 form and paying all relevant fees, you can schedule a visa interview. You will need to arrive in person, so request that your interview be held at the embassy or consulate nearest to you. The US Department of State has a calculator on their website to help you estimate how long it will take to get an interview.

While you are waiting, follow these steps for visa interview preparation and you will be able to walk into your visa interview with confidence.

1. Gather your documents

You will need to bring the following documents with you to your visa interview:

• Passport
• One copy of your visa photo
• DS-160 confirmation page
• I-901 SEVIS fee confirmation page
• Visa application fee payment receipt
• I-20

Some embassies or consulates might ask for the following documents as well, so bring them just in case:
• Your official school transcripts
• Your diploma and/or degree programs you’ve received
• Your test scores you used for your university application
• The bank statements you used for your I-20

2. Prepare for common questions in the visa interview

Your interviewer wants to know three things about you: (1) that you are a legitimate student; (2) that you have the resources to pay for your studies; and (3) that you plan to return home after completing your degree.

Here are a few sample questions that interviewers may ask:

• Why do you pick this university?
• How many different universities did you apply to?
• How will you pay for your education in the United States?
• Do you have any relatives that live in the United States?
• Do you plan to work while in the United States?
• What do you plan to do after graduation?

Your interviewer needs to know that you intend to leave the United States after your studies. If they believe you intend to stay in the United States after your studies are complete, your visa may be rejected. Before your visa interview starts, make sure you have a clear plan for what you will do after graduation.

3. Practice with a partner

Ask a friend, parent, teacher or counselor to help you practice answering visa interview questions. Practice will help you feel more prepared and less nervous on the day of the interview.

Your visa interview is not a presentation; it is a conversation. You do not need to memorize a speech. In fact, a memorized speech might give your interviewer the wrong impression. Visa interviewers want you to answer their questions naturally and in your own words.

Remember: visa interviews are usually conducted in English. Be prepared to answer all questions in English.

4. Stay calm, you are prepared!

It’s natural to be nervous before or even during your visa interview but do your best to relax. You’ve prepared for your interview. You have all of your important documents. You are ready. Take a deep breath and smile. Soon you’ll be studying in the United States.

Our counselors are ready to answer any questions you have about preparing for your visa interview. Chat with a counselor today.