Prepare for Your Interview
You can rely on us to do everything we can to help you come to Purdue Fort Wayne. The following information will help you with your visa interview.
TIES TO YOUR HOME COUNTRY
Under US law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas, such as student visas, are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must, therefore, be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that
As a prospective student, the interviewing officer may ask about your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational goals, grades, long-range plans, and career prospects in your home country. Each person’s situation is different, of course, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate, or letter that can guarantee you a visa. If you have applied for the US green-card lottery, you may be asked if you are hoping to immigrate. A simple answer would be that you applied for the lottery since it was available, but not with a specific intent to immigrate. If you overstayed your authorized stay in the United States previously, be prepared to explain what happened clearly and concisely, with documentation if available.
Expect that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview, but do not prepare speeches.
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. You will make a negative impression if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf.
KNOW THE PROGRAM AND HOW IT FITS YOUR CAREER PLAN
If you are not able to explain clearly the reasons you will study in a particular program in the United States, you may have trouble convincing the consular officer that you are indeed planning to study, rather than to immigrate. You should also be able to explain how studying in the United States relates to your future professional career when you return home. If there is a gap in your education, please be prepared to explain this during your visa interview.
BE BRIEF AND MAINTAIN A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
Because of the number of applications received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute of the interview. Therefore, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep your answers to the officer’s questions short and concise. Do not argue with the consular officer. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents they would suggest that you bring in order to change the decision, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.
It should be immediately clear to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they mean. Lengthy written explanations cannot be read or evaluated quickly. Remember that you will have two to three minutes of interview
NOT ALL COUNTRIES ARE EQUAL
Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically, applicants from those countries are more likely to be intending immigrants. They are also more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after their study in the United States. Several US consulates around the globe have created YouTube videos that explain the visa process at their specific posts. Always check your specific US embassy or consulate to see if a new YouTube video is available.
Your main purpose in coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. While many students do work on campus during their studies, such employment is secondary to their main purpose of completing their US education. You must be able to clearly explain your plan to return home at the end of your program. If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the United States. If asked, be prepared to tell the officer what your spouse intends to do with their time while in the US. Volunteer work and attending school part-time are permitted activities.
DEPENDENTS AT HOME
If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to explain how they will support themselves while you are gone. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gets the impression that your family will need you to send money from the United States in order to support themselves, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied. If your family does decide to join you at a later time, it’s helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa.
For more information, go to NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
For help on how to apply for a visa, go to Obtaining a Visa.