F1 Visa is a type of visa that the non-immigrants have to apply to pursue education in the US. The various forms of educational institutions and programs that come under this visa are:
- Language training program
- Conservatory courses
- Seminary courses
- Private elementary school
- High school
- University or college
How to get an approval for an F1 Visa?
Getting an approval for an F1 Visa is a simple yet tedious process. After you have received an application from a United States educational institution stating your acceptance, you will be admitted to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) for which you have to pay a one-time charge. After the payment of the fees and the verification of your account, a form known as 'I-20' will be provided by the educational institution. After you have received the I-20 form, the local US embassy or consulate will schedule an interview with you so that you can get the F1 Visa.
What are the questions asked in the interview?
The interviewer will ask a variety of F1 Visa interview questions from the candidate before granting an approval for it. The questions are mentioned below:
- What information do you have about universities or colleges in the United States?
The immigration officer is asking you this question to understand the reason for which you chose the United States as the destination for your studies. You should list out the information you obtained when you researched for potential colleges to apply to.
- Why did you chose the United States as the destination for your studies?
The reason for which the immigration officer is asking you this question is to check whether you can justify the reason for selecting the US over other countries as the place to pursue your studies. You need to mention strong points that compelled you to select this country over others.
- What is your field of specialization?
You will be asked the field of specialization in which you are going to pursue your education. You need to provide the full name of the course you are applying for.
- In which field did you do your under-graduation?
You need to mention your area of specialization in your graduation if you are going to the United States to pursue a postgraduate degree.
- Can I see a proof of your educational degrees?
You need to provide the original documents of all your educational degrees to the immigration officer.
- Why are you pursuing your Phd. in the United States?
To answer this question, you need to list the reasons for pursuing Ph.D. and selecting the United States as the country of your choice for doing so.
- Why have you changed the field of your study?
If you have changed your field of study at some point in your life or want to do so when you study in the states, you need to specify the reason for doing so. Your reason should be strong enough to be backed up by logical reasons.
- What are your career plans after you complete your degree?
This is one of the important questions that will be definitely be asked by the immigration officer during the F1 Visa interview approval process. You need to say that you will return to your home country after you complete your education in the States.
- Have you previously made a trip to the United States?
The immigration officer might ask you about the past trips you have made to the country.
- Have you written any exams like GRE/TOEFL/GMAT? If yes, please provide the score along with the detailed report.
If you have given any exams like GRE/TOEFL/GMAT, you need to provide the immigration officer with the score and detailed report specifying your areas of weakness and strengths.
- In which year did you graduate from your school/college and how much marks did you obtain?
The immigration officer for verification purposes might ask about the date of your graduation through school/college and your transcripts/marksheets from the school/college.
- Why did you choose this specific university and how will it help you in your career?
The interviewer is asking this question to determine your reasons for selecting the specific university in which you are planning to enrol. He or she also wants to know why you think completing the degree from that particular college/school will benefit you in your career. To answer this question you need to be well versed with the history and the background of the college you are taking admission in.
- What do you know about the city in which your college is located?
The immigration officer might also ask you about the city in which the college/school you are getting admitted to is located therefore you have to be well-versed with the city where you are going to reside.
- Which universities did you send your application to and which ones accepted it?
For the above question, provide the appropriate answer.
- Did you contact any professors from the college that has accepted you and were you offered a scholarship by the school/college?
Give the appropriate answer for the question above and if you have received any scholarship from the college, mention it.
- Do you have any friends or family in the United States?
If you have any family or friends in the United States, mention yes otherwise say no.
- What is the profession your parents are into and do you have any siblings?
For the above question, provide the appropriate answer.
- What is the annual income of your parents?
You need to answer this question honestly as the information will be subject to verification.
- Can I see your tax returns?
You need to give the original documents to the immigration officer that contain your tax returns.
- Can I see the bank statements from one of your accounts?
You need to produce the bank statements from one of your bank accounts for the immigration officer to verify.
- Have you taken any loans in the past?
Answer the question as applicable. If you have taken any loans in the past, you have to disclose it to the immigration officer with the required documents.
- Where do your parents reside and do you live with them?
Answer this question with the appropriate details.
- Are you presently employed somewhere and what is the duration for which you have been employed?
Answer this question as applicable.
- Which organisation are you currently employed by and what are your roles and responsibilities?
Answer this question with the correct details. You need to explain the immigration officer the exact roles and responsibilities in your current employment.
- Can you provide a reference on your current job which is written by your boss or supervisor?
You need to provide a letter of recommendation from your current employer to the immigration officer.
- What is your current salary?
Answer this question with the appropriate details. You will need to give the salary slip as proof to the immigration officer.
- Why do you want to quit your job and pursue higher studies in the United States?
This is a question that you need to answer very carefully with the logical reasons. Be honest as to why you want to pursue higher studies even though you are well settled in your job.
- Are you being financially supported by someone to pay for your studies in the United States?
Answer this question as appropriate.
- Are you taking a loan to support yourself financially during the period you pursue higher studies in the United States?
If you are applying for loan, say yes. Provide the details of the loan such as its term and the interest rate etc.
- How have you planned your residence during the period of your course in the United States?
The immigration officer wants to know the details of your stay during the time you will study in the United States.
- Have you ever applied for a F1 Visa previously?
If you have applied for a F1 Visa previously, say yes otherwise say no.
- Why should you be granted an approval for a F1 Visa?
This is a crucial question which you need to give an appropriate answer to. List all the reasons as to why you are pursuing higher studies in the United States. Try to convince the immigration officer with your desire and determination. Give clear and concise answers and do not try to confuse the immigration officer.
Rules and regulations for getting and maintaining the approval for F1 Visa for international students
There are certain rules and regulations which to be followed when an aspirant applies for an approval for the F1 Visa.
- The I-20 form: The I-20 form is issued for a period of two years. You need to be aware of the date after which the form expires as you will lose your F1 student status immediately.
- Expiration date of the passport: You should always be aware of the date of expiry of your passport. Ensure to renew your passport six months before it expires either from your country's embassy in the United States or in your country itself.
- The I-94 card: I-94 card is a permit that allows you to stay in the United States. It contains the card holder's date and port of entry.
- Pursuing a full course: To maintain the F1 student status, the student needs to be enrolled in a full-time course. If this is not the case then the United States authorities have the right to report the student to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USICS).
- Hours completed during a semester: Each student has to complete a minimum number of hours each semester to maintain the F1 student status.
- Withdrawal: Withdrawal can be entertained by the US immigration department under only certain circumstances. A student needs to check whether he or she is eligible for withdrawals for the amount of hours requested.
- On-campus and off-campus work: A student who has the F1 status can work for up to 20 hours a week on-campus. You can only work off-campus if you have legal authorization from the immigration department. Even if you get authorization, you need to have held the F1 status for more than a year.
- Travel outside the US: The signature on the third page of the I-20 form is valid only for a year. You need to renew it in case it expires as you won't be allowed without the travel signature. Also, your passport should not expire at least 6 months from the day you land in the United States for pursuing your studies.