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  • Writer's pictureKayla Burton

Preparing for your Student Visa Interview

If you are seeking an F1 Student visa in order to come to the Colorado School of English as a full-time student, you will need to first apply to the school before you apply for the F1 visa. Here is the link to the application for our Intensive English Program -

After you apply to the Colorado School of English, you will need to schedule and attend an interview at the US embassy or consulate where you are living.

Check Visa Appointment Wait Times

It's important to note that wait times for scheduling an interview can vary depending on the embassy or consulate you are applying to. It's recommended to check with the embassy or consulate in your area to find out how long the wait time is for scheduling an interview -

Required Documents

There are certain documents you absolutely must bring with you to your student visa interview. If you don’t bring these, you will fail your interview!

Required documents for your student visa interview include:

  • A valid passport; must be valid for at least 6 months after you plan to enter the USA

  • Non-immigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 (you can print the confirmation page online)

  • Receipt of your application payment

  • Receipt of your I-901 SEVIS fee payment

  • Two passport photos

  • Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status, Form 1-20 (issued by the Colorado School of English)

The visa interviewer may also ask to see other documents. While they aren’t required, make sure you are prepared and bring:

  • Letter of acceptance from the school

  • Academic transcripts

  • Any degrees or certificates you have

  • Standardized test scores

  • TOEFL scores (if English is not your native language)

  • Documents which prove your income or ability to pay for school. Examples of these documents include letters from your parents’ employers explaining what they do, bank statements, and letters from the bank saying how long the account has been open.

Reasons You Might Fail Your Student Visa Interview

If you aren’t prepared for your student visa interview, you could fail! You can always request another interview. However, it is best to avoid this and pass the interview the first time around. Aside from forgetting your documents, there are two main reasons why you might fail your visa interview:

Reason 1. You Seem Like an Immigrant, Not a Student

The number one reason that people fail their F1 visa interview is because the interviewer doesn’t believe they intend to return to their home country after completing their studies. So, that would make you an immigrant, not a student.

The visa interviewer will ask you specific questions about what you plan on doing after you finish the school program in the USA. Be clear that you intend to return to your home country! Talk about specific plans you have for your future career – making sure to mention the town/city where you want to enact those plans.

For example, if you dream about opening a physical therapy facility after finishing school, be sure to mention that you dream of opening it in XYZ city in your home country!

But what if you aren’t sure what you want to do after school?

Remember that having a degree from a USA college can greatly improve your chances of getting a good job offer in your home country. Mention that employers in your home country look for people with experience living abroad, especially from reputable colleges, and that having a degree from a USA college will greatly improve your employability at home.

Reason 2: They Don’t Believe You Can Afford to Live and Study in the USA

You must be able to prove that you or a sponsor has enough money to cover the costs of living in the USA as well as the costs of the school program.

In many cases, your studies will be sponsored by your parents. If your studies are being sponsored by someone who is not a parent or guardian, then you have to show why that person would sponsor you. For example, an Ethiopian man was denied his student visa because his sponsor was a “brother of my aunt’s husband.” It seemed suspicious that such a distant relative would agree to be a sponsor.

Do ample research on how much studying in the USA will cost (including costs of housing, food, transportation, travel, and healthcare). Compile all of these costs in a spreadsheet (as well as information about how you calculated the costs, such as links to real estate websites or cost-of-living websites). By showing this spreadsheet to the visa interviewer, you will show that you have carefully considered all of the costs of living and studying in the USA.

The visa interviewer will want to see proof that you can cover those costs. Contrary to common belief, having a huge lump sum in the bank is NOT always sufficient proof of financial support. The visa interviewer is more interested in whether you have a STABLE source of funds.

Example F1 Visa Interview Questions

The visa interviewer will ask you a variety of questions related to your study plans, your ability to support yourself financially, your family and relatives, work, and future plans. Remember to answer each question as specifically as possible. However, keep your answers clear and concise. The interviewer doesn’t need your entire life story!

Here are some great websites with sample interview questions. Read through them, prepare your answers, and REHEARSE!

Final Tips for a Successful Student Visa Interview

Finally, remember that first impressions matter! Dress appropriately for the interview by wearing dressier clothes. Have all of your documents clearly organized, and rehearse your answers so no question takes you by surprise. If you take all the steps to prepare for your interview, you’ll have no reason to be nervous and it should go off without a hitch.

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