Visa interview is what students commonly fret about, after getting their admits and rejects. The VI would be a bit of a worry to most but here are some tried and tested solutions for you. However, it’s not a ‘do or die situation’. You can always apply another time and if you’re well prepared you can bag it! The general tips always hold good. Be calm, composed and relaxed.
The VO (Visa Officer) checks the following before issuing the Visa:
- Do you in all ways qualify for the Visa?
- Is your intent to REALLY study in the US or to just laze around?
- Do you HONESTLY have funds which you state?
- If you are competent enough to pursue graduate studies in the US
- Try to identify if you’re a potential immigrant
The whole appointment and interview process has recently been split to 2 days. The first day is when you get your photo and fingerprints taken. The second day is the day of your interview. For your OFC you can go in casual clothing. For your VI day, goes without saying formals is a must. You need a formal shirt and a pant. Suits are not all that necessary. Tie? Again, your preference, not compulsory.
Your Visa Interview is just about to begin. You have given your fingerprints and you’re currently waiting for your token number to be displayed on the screen which runs those insanely motivating ads for pursuing studies and work in the United States. You see people giving their interviews and you can see some of them leaving the lobby with joy, the others with a tint of disappointment for their reject.
NEVER ASSOCIATE YOURSELF TO THE ONES WHO GET A REJECT! THEIR REJECTS MAYBE NOT EVEN REMOTELY RELATED TO YOUR APPLICATION. NEVER BECOME DEMOTIVATED BY THEM!
In the Chennai consulate, you have a couple of counters where 3-4 applicants stand in each. Every counter has a microphone and a small speaker so if you listen carefully, you can catch what both the VO is asking and what the applicant is saying. That should give you a hint of what kind of questions you could be asked.Assume your turn comes and you are waiting in the line, never show your nervousness, try to have a smile on your face and avoid talking to others then. This is the first encounter you will have with a Native American who will question you of your intent/purpose.
Assume the person before you is done and the VO is processing. DO NOT GO TO THE WINDOW UNTIL YOU ARE CALLED FORWARD. Wait for it. It’s manners to do so and it shows your patience.
To call you, the VO may eye you and ask you to come forward or greet you with a welcome message! That’s your cue.
WISH THE VO: Remember, Americans always treat and expect manners. So you must wish the VO a good morning or whatever part or time of the day you give your interview.
The VO may or may not respond. Again, if he doesn’t acknowledge don’t take it as a bad sign. He has not yet evaluated your application and will always have an open mind.
The VO always don’t look for ways to reject your Visa. He wants and looks for ways to grant you the Visa and checks if you are eligible for it.
QUESTION ROUND: We'll cover this in a couple of sub-sections.
Ties to Home Country: Questions could be phrased as follows ; “What are your future plans after your course of study ? “,”Would you take up Ph.D if you’re offered ? You have a wonderful profile.”, “Where can I see you in 5 years ?”,”Would you work if provided with a job ?”.
The common answer to all these questions would be to show the VO that you will return after you finish your study. Be clear of what you want after you graduate. Indicate your social ties to your country and your responsibility to take care of your family. Be sure to bring out your interest to work in your home country to the VO.
Academic Profile: The VO may ask you to provide your GRE and TOEFL scores. He may also ask you to provide your Degree certificate, Transcripts or your grade sheets if needed. Some of the questions he could ask is “Why is this field your interest ?” ,”Can you tell me a bit about your field ?”,”Why do you think this particular field has scope ?”,”What are the other universities you have applied ?”,”How many admits and rejects ?”,”Why this university ? “. Do not lie to the VO about anything. He might snoop up your lies with your behaviour or sometimes with cross questions. Answer all the questions truthfully. Do background research work for reasons you chose the university. Do not indicate statistics commonly available on the internet. The VO wants to know why YOU chose it! Not what a third person has written based on a set numbers and data. Same goes for your field of specialization.
Work related questions: He may ask you the duration you worked? Why did you leave the job as it gives you a good pay? Why now have you chosen to pursue MS? How beneficial would it be to you?
People who have finished their undergrad years back would be questioned on what they did after graduation up to the present.
Financial Documents: An Audit statement would help. If you’re getting a loan, you must have the sanction letter. Bank statements are a must. If any non-immediate relative is sponsoring you including your brother/sister/grandpa, you must get a letter of affidavit. If your father is sponsoring you , you need your father's IT returns and pay slip. Get official letters from the company indicating your father’s monthly or yearly income? The VO may ask you how you plan to fund yourself. Be prepared to answer that. It’s best to show financial proof mentioned in your I20. How you plan on mobilizing money thereafter to fund yourself could be told to the VI.
- Be calm and composed. I keep repeating this because people just don’t follow it.
- Listen to what the VO asks you carefully. Don’t make him repeat everything.
- Maintain eye contact. You haven’t done anything wrong so you can look him in the eye and show your confidence.
- Do not be pertinent with the VO. If he rejects you, ask him the reason and then proceed to the exit
- Do not forget your documents
- If he grants you the Visa, thank him profusely.
Wish you all, Best of Luck!
P.S: Documents to be carried to the VI will be posted in the next article.