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Top tips for applying for a U.S visa

Thu 19 Jul 2018

If you are an international student who wants to study in the U.S., then you must obtain a student visa. The whole process is time consuming and you will need to start preparing well in advance. The application process requires an interview, for which you will have to prepare and practice. ONCAMPUS can help you navigate this process, to make sure that you successfully get a student visa to study in the U.S.

ONCAMPUS students get a F-1 visa

There are two U.S. agencies that are involved in the visa application process for international students. The US State Department is in charge of the visa application process and issuing the visa. The US Department of Homeland Security takes over once you arrive in the US and is responsible for enforcing the rules of your visa.

There are several types of visas in the U.S. and ONCAMPUS students will apply for the F-1 student visa. When you enter the U.S. for the first time, you will be given the I-94 form by the customs official and you should carry a copy of this form with you at all times.

The visa interview

As part of the visa application process, you will have to do a personal interview. Make sure you attend the interview, because if you do not, your visa application will automatically be rejected. If you cannot make the appointment, then make sure to contact the Visa Office to reschedule.

Below are some sample questions you may be asked during your interview, but you may be asked about anything in your application. Therefore, it is important to practice and be prepared, read our guide on being prepared for your visa interviewBeing knowledgeable about the school you will be attending is vital. Browse the school web-site, get to know details like the school mascot, location, motto, degree courses, careers and so on. Also, one of the objectives of the interview is to test your English language, so make sure you answer in English and do not use a translator.

Sample interview questions:

  • What is the name of the school you wish to attend?
  • Where is the school? What city is it in and what part of the US does it belong to?
  • Did you use an education agent at any stage? Who is/was your agent and why did you choose them?
  • Why do you wish to study in the US? Did you consider any other countries?
  • What is the course name and academic level you will study?
  • When does the course start and finish?
  • Who is going to pay your tuition fees and living costs?
  • Where have you arranged accommodation?

Being able to make ‘small talk’ during the interview is important as well. This means being able to talk informally about things like the weather, news, your home country or sports.

5 Dos

The interview is an important part of the visa application process. There are 5 Dos that you need to keep in mind to do well:

  • Do attend – you must attend the interview, if you do not your application will be rejected.
  • Do answer – you should answer all questions fully and truthfully.
  • Do think – think about the course you are attending and know details about the school and degree program you have chosen.
  • Do speak in English – being able to speak English is important, so always answer in English.
  • Do ask – if you are unsure about any question, make sure to ask for clarification.

You will also be asked to submit numerous documents at your interview. Make sure you have the following documents ready:

  • Original I-20 form
  • Proof of SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visit Information System) fee payment
  • Completed DS-160 form (the non-immigrant visa application form)
  • Certificate of enrollment in a school in the US
  • Passport
  • Academic transcripts (with translations, if not in English)
  • Financial evidence used for the I-20 form
  • Passport-sized photograph

Throughout the visa application process, you want to show that you are a genuine student looking to further your education by studying in the U.S. So, keep this in mind. Find out more about the U.S. visa process and what to expect.

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