Popularly known as the F-1 visa, the latter is your ticket to gaining legal entry into the United States as an international student. A letter of admission into any U.S. institution does not guarantee or equate automatic entry into the United States of America to study. As such, it is important adequate preparation is geared towards acing the student visa interview. This post will highlight some important measures admitted students must take in order to secure their student visa with little to no complications.
1. Arrive on time
When Americans say be there at 9:00 a.m., its 9:00 a.m., not 9:01 a.m. or 9:02 a.m.! If your interview is scheduled at 9:00 a.m., be sure to arrive at the interview location at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time. Being late, even if it's by a minute, could cost you your appointment and any money already paid towards the interview. Strive to make a good impression by arriving on or before time to avoid any distractions that comes with lateness.
2. Gather all required documents together
Before the interview day, gather all the required documents together and preferably label them so you can easily retrieve any document asked of you at the interview. Additionally, make an additional copy of each document required of you at the interview in case its not returned back. Your passport, signed I-20, financial affidavit, visa appointment letter are amongst some of the documents you will need to take along to the interview. On the day of the interview, re-check and make sure all documents are intact before leaving the house!
3. Practice effective communication
Unless of course you are an English as a Second Language (ESL) student, the interview will be conducted in the English Language with no assistance. Effective communication, both verbal and non-verbal will be a great determinant in deciding whether the one interviewing you will grant you the visa or not. Americans dwell greatly on "eye contact" and as such, you must look directly at the visa officer when responding to questions. Due to the fact that communication barriers exist among cultures, spend some time doing a little research on what Americans deem appropriate when it comes to communication. Additionally, make a conscious effort to be audible as much as possible, especially if you are a soft speaker. Also, in the event you do not understand what the officer is asking of you, politely ask him/her to repeat the question/statement. Be very attentive and respond to only what's being asked of you. Do not go beating around the bush! Just don't do it!
4. Research your university and program
During the interview, you are most likely going to be asked questions about your school of choice and intended program. It's important to at least know the location, type and size of school. Be able to explain why you chose a particular school and intended program of study confidently with no hesitation. Any information you will need to know about the school and its environs will be found on the school's website.
5.Maintain a great composure
Your first impression cannot be underemphasized! Dress neat, look sharp, maintain a smile and be positive. The visa officers are experienced and can sense any fear and dishonest intentions. Make sure you know the details of all your documents (i.e. who your sponsor is, proof of sponsorship, etc..) and have everything in order. You really wouldn't want to appear as a hot mess to the person interviewing you. More importantly, be able to demonstrate that you can live in a foreign country alone by handling the interview like a pro!
If you're interviewing at the embassy alone for the first time, it's totally normal to feel some heightened form of tension. However, if you follow the measures we've pointed out in this article, you will be fine. Reject any fear you may be having and relax! More importantly, direct any worries to God as you prepare for your interview! All the best!