Visa Interview Tips
The visa interview is your opportunity to convince the officer of your legitimate intention to become a student in the U.S. and to return to your home country upon completion of your studies. Be prepared. One officer may begin the interview casually and ask about the weather, or ask you to find Wooster, Ohio on a map. Another officer may have specific questions about the program you intend to enroll in, what you want to do with your degree upon graduation, or how you will pay for summer expenses if you remain in the U.S. during breaks. The more you know about where you are going and why, the better you will do!
Ties to Home
Applicants for nonimmigrant visas are viewed as “intending immigrants” until they convince the consular officer otherwise. Be prepared to show that your reasons for returning home are stronger than those for remaining in the U.S. Ties to home include things that bind you to your homeland or current place of residence, such as job, family, investments, or financial prospects that you own or will inherit. The officer may ask about your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-range plans, and career prospects in your home country. There is no specific explanation, document, or letter to guarantee visa issuance.
The interview will be in English.
Speak for Yourself
Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. Be prepared to speak on your own behalf.
Know the Program
You must convince the officer that you are planning to study, not to immigrate. Be prepared to articulate why you want to study in the U.S., why you have selected The College of Wooster, and how this choice relates to your professional career when you return home. You should be able to demonstrate some knowledge of the national job market in your country for the skills you will learn in college. Be prepared to articulate the value of a liberal arts education. Bring transcripts, exam results, and anything else that demonstrates your academic commitments.
Consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct quick and efficient interviews. Many decisions are made on the impressions they form during the first minute or two of the interview. What you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep answers short and to the point.
The content and the context of your supporting documents should be clear at first glance. You have 2-3 minutes of interview time, if you're lucky.
Be Aware of Context
Applicants from countries with severe economic problems or where many students have remained in the U.S. as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas, and they are more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after they study in the U.S. Applicants from countries where the U.S. has strained relations must also be especially prepared to articulate their intent to pursue and fund their studies prior to returning home.
Your main purpose for coming to the U.S. should be to study. While some students may receive special permission to work off campus during their studies, such employment is rare and incidental to the main purpose of completing a degree.
The U.S. Government and The College of Wooster need assurances that you have the ability to finance your education and that you won’t take a job illegally or drop out of school for financial reasons. Your chances are improved if your parents are sponsoring your education. If anyone else is sponsoring you, be prepared to explain your special relationship with this person, justifying his or her commitment of thousands of dollars to your education. Provide evidence of your sponsor’s finances – sources and amounts of income. Have the sponsor write a letter listing and documenting the source(s) of funding.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal. Request to have the reason you were denied put in writing. If you are denied on the first interview, make an appointment for a second interview as soon as possible and gather new information (bank statements, sponsor letter, etc.) to address deficiencies in your application or interview responses. You must bring new and compelling information to a second interview in order to justify reconsideration of your case.
If you pay your first semester Wooster fee in advance of your visa interview, our Business Office can provide a letter of receipt for you to present to the officer as evidence of good financial standing at the College.
Please contact the OISA to confirm the results of your F-1/J-1 visa interview.