Visa Interview Tips

The tips below will help you prepare for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate in your home country.
Please note that over 60% of F-1 applicants are denied each year.
It is very important that you are well prepared for your visa interview.
Feel free to translate this document into your native language, so that you are well prepared for your visa interview.


Under U.S. law, all applicants for F-1 visas are viewed as intending to immigrate to the United States until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must be able to show that you have a reason to return to your home country after studying, rather than stay in the United States.

Ties to your home country are things that bind you to your hometown, homeland, or current place of residence. These can include a job, family, financial prospects that you may inherit, investments, etc.

If you are a prospective student, the interviewing officer may ask you about your intentions or future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long range plans, and career prospects in your home country. Each person’s situation is different – there is no magic explanation or specific document which can grant you a visa.


The interview will probably be conducted in English. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview. If you are coming to the United States to study English at PIE, be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country.


Do not bring parents, friends, or family members with you to your interview. The consular office will interview you, not a relative. They can get a negative impression if you will not speak on your own behalf.


You should be able to explain how studying in the United States relates to your future professional goals in your home country. You should know what courses you will take, what degree you want, and how long it will take you to complete your studies in the United States.


Concise means to give important information in few words. Consular officers are under a lot of time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision on their impressions from the first few minutes of your interview. Keep your answers short and to the point. Your interview may only last a few minutes, so be clear and make sure that they understand what your intentions are for studying in the United States.


Applicants from countries that suffer from economic problems, or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants after their programs, will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically, applicants from these countries are more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after they complete their studies in the United States.


Your main purpose of coming to the United States should be to study – not for a chance to work, before, during, or after graduation. While many students are eligible to work part time during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose. Your main purpose is to study.

You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program.

If your spouse is applying for an F-2 visa, please be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the United States.

If asked, be prepared to tell what your spouse intends to do with their time in the United States. They are permitted to volunteer or attend part-time classes under an F-2 visa.


If your spouse or children will remain in your home country while you study in the United States, be prepared to address how they will support themselves while you are studying. This can be especially hard if you are the primary source of income for your family.

If the consular officer thinks that your family members will need you to send money from the United States in order to support themselves, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied.


Do not argue with the consular officer. If you are denied a student visa, please ask the officer for a list of documents he/she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.

Notify Us

Please be sure to email us at and let us know your visa appointment date. Please also share the results from your visa appointment with us! Good luck!

**This list was compiled by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. NAFSA would like to credit Gerald A. Wunsch, Esq., 1997, then a member of the Consular Issues Working Group, and a former U.S. Consular Officer in Mexico, Suriname, and the Netherlands, and Martha Wailes of Indiana University for their contributions to this document.