Frequently asked F1 visa interview questions are essential to review before going for your F1 visa interview. This is because chances are these questions would be asked at every F1 Visa interview but in a different wording. The paragraphs below, lists about 50 frequently asked F1 visa interview questions and hints on how to prepare to answer these questions.
F1 Visa Interview
Going for an F1 visa from the US Embassy in itself is a mini interview. One must ensure that they have the right documents and are also well prepared for any questions the Consulate may ask. This is because, just like a regular job interview, there are so many students with admissions to study in the US every semester (spring and fall) but only a limited number of students will be allowed into the country. The Consulate could, therefore, use basic things such as a question not well answered or failure to submit a specific document to deny a candidate their visa.
Items to provide at your F1 Visa Interview
Here are 9 items that an applicant should definitely take along to their visa interview.
- Passport: This must be valid for travel to the United States and for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States
- Non-immigrant Visa Application,Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Application fees payment receipt
- Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students, Form I-20
- Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended; and
- Standardized test scores required by your U.S. school
- Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study; and
- How you will pay all educational, living and travel costs
Frequently asked F1 visa interview questions
There is a wide range of questions you should expect on the F1 Visa Interview. Even though you may not be fully prepared for all questions, an individual with a genuine interest to study a graduate degree in the US will generally be able to answer most questions asked without having necessarily practiced answering all the questions. The frequently asked F1 visa interview questions have been grouped into five main categories for your convenience:
- Questions related to the Master’s degree/University
- Questions related to your academics
- Questions related to family in the USA and your return to your home country after your degree program
- Questions related to your financial strength
- Other miscellaneous questions
Questions related to the Master’s degree/ University
Be prepared to talk about your career goals, how the Master’s degree in the particular subject can help your future career. Learn as much as you can about your school, program, any distinguished professors at your department.
- Why did you choose to study in the US instead of joining the workforce in your home country?
- How many universities did you apply to?
- Which universities did you apply to?
- How many universities were you admitted into?
- Why did you choose this school and why is it the best school for you?
- Tell me about the university you want to attend
- Did you contact any professor at the university?
- Mention one of the professors you contacted at the university you want to attend
- Why a Master’s degree?
- Why not a Master’s degree in your home country?
- Why do you want to attend the specific university you are taking visa for?
- Which other universities were you admitted into? Why not this other university?
- Why do you want to study that particular program?
- How did you learn about the schools you applied to?
Questions related to your academics
Be ready with your academic transcripts to show and also the test results for any of the tests listed below when asked. Also, be prepared to give a good reason for any academic deficiencies in your results.
- What are your test scores (GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS) your GPA, and your overall performance as a student in the past?
- Why do you have a low GRE score?
- Where did you complete your undergraduate or graduate degree and in what year?
- What is your academic background?
Questions related to family in the USA and your return to your home country after your degree program
These questions are to test you and get to know whether you will return to your home country or not. Most of your answers should be geared toward returning home to impact your home country in a positive way even if you may have other considerations towards the end of your program.
- Do you have any brother or sister in the US?
- What do they do?
- How long have your family been in the US?
- After you graduate, will you return home or will you stay in the United States?
- What do you do currently?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- Show your job offer letter with your current company
- How much savings do you have?
- How much are you paid currently at your job?
Questions related to your financial strength
This is very important and the consular can easily refuse you a visa based on your inability to provide enough evidence of financial capability to fund your education for at least the first year. Your total amount of costs expected to be spent in the first year will be quoted on your I-20. Ensure that you have the same financial document you submitted to your school before the issuance of your I-20. You should have sufficient funds to cover not just your Master’s degree cost for the first year but also your air ticket to travel to the US.
- How will you fund the entire duration of your education, including tuition, room and board, transportation, and all other expenses?
- Who will sponsor your degree program?
- What does your sponsor do?
- What do your parents do?
- What is your father’s monthly income?
- What is your mother’s monthly income?
- Did you get any forms of scholarship?
- Did you apply for a loan?
- Can you show me your bank statement?
Other miscellaneous questions
- Why the United States?
- Why is the United States the center of excellence?
- What do you do currently in your home country?
- Tell me about your siblings
- What are your future plans?
- Where do you see yourself five years from now?
- Why should I issue you a visa?
- Will you work while studying?
- Will you work if offered a full-time job in the US?
- What do you know about the States you are going to?
- Will you work an off-campus job?
- Where in the US are you going to?
- How long is your graduate degree program?
- Do you have plans to pursue Ph.D. after your Master’s degree?
How to maintain your F1 visa status upon arrival in the US
After you have successfully secured your visa and travel to the US, that is not the end of your encounter with the Department of Homeland Security. Once you are a student in the US, it is important to maintain your F1 visa status. Here are things you must do to ensure that you maintain your F1 visa-status.
- Maintain the appropriate credit hours (course load) each semester
- If a student decides to work in the US, the following should be done to maintain F1 visa-status:
- Work a maximum of 20 hours on-campus during the semester.
- Work a maximum of 20 hours off-campus during the semester only if the student has been approved for the Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) after being enrolled in an academic institution for at least 2 semesters. The only exception for early CPT approval is when your program of study requires a practical training right away.
- Work a maximum of 40 hours on campus during summer.
- Work a maximum of 40 hours in an internship position which is directly related to your program of study off-campus after you have been approved for the Curriculum Practical Training (CPT)
What happens when my F1 visa expires while still enrolled in an academic program?
If your stamp expires while you are still pursuing an academic program, you are still in status and can continue to stay in the US due to your entry stamp, form I20 and form I-94. However, if your I-20 expires while you are still in school, you must inform your international students’ office and apply for an extension. If for any reason you need to travel outside the US while your visa has expired, then you may have to go to your home country to secure a new visa using your newly issued form I-20 and other documents similar to what you went with the first time you were securing your visa. Seek for more information with your international students’ office before taking any action in this regard.
An international student can remain in the US up to 60 days beyond the length of time taken to complete their academic program unless they have applied and been approved for the Optional Practical Training (OPT) which enables them to stay and work in the US for a specific duration of time.