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Tips for US student visa interviews
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June 30, 2006

You have applied for your US student visa. Or are planning to apply for one in the near future.

This visa, known as the F-1, is a must for entry into the United States of America for higher studies.

Are you nervous about the visa interview? Are you looking for tips to help you impress the visa officer at the interview?

Aroosha Z Rana, vice consul, US Consulate General, Mumbai, chatted with Rediff readers about the US F-1 visa on June 29. She had this tip to offer:

'The visa officer is looking for an honest student who intends to study in the US, has reasonable funds and an economic standing/ financial plan to pay for it and intends to return to India upon completion.' 

If you missed the chat, here is the transcript:

Part II: Applying for a visa? How to prepare

Aroosha Z Rana says, Hi everyone, happy to be here today. Let me start by saying there has been an increase in the student visa applications this year. And we are looking forward to having many Indian students at our American universities and colleges. There are currently 80,000 students studying in the US, lots of whom are doctoral and Master's candidates. And, this year, we see a rise in undergraduate applications as well.

Aroosha Z Rana says, This chat is a general discussion about policies and procedures for applying for US student visas. So I will try to answer those questions.

Abhi asked, Hi Aroosha, say I have obtained a F1 visa on the basis of I-20 from X University. I go to US and after a semester in X university, I want to change the university to Y university. What processings have to be done at the visa end ?? Will I have to come back to India ??

Aroosha Z Rana answers, When you change universities, you will receive a new I-20. As soon as you have that with you and you have registered through SEVIS at the new university, you will be fine. You only need a new visa if you change universities prior to beginning your studies and prior to travelling to the US.

Anup asked, My Visa has been placed in pending category,and I have been asked to send Technical questionaire and my CV to Kindly let me know how much time it will take to process my Visa.

Aroosha Z Rana answers, I cannot comment on individual queries about particular cases. As long as you follow the instructions given by the officer, you will be contacted as soon as the case has been processed.

shubham asked, My I 20 shows $ 24,000/- , I'm going to apper for VISA in the fisrst week of Aug , Right now my saving balance is 5-6 lac is it sufficient?

Aroosha Z Rana answers, The interviewing officer looks at the whole picture when a student applies for a student visa. There is no one particular factor such as finances that affects the decision. You know your financial situation and your plan to pay for your studies. Your job during the interview is to explain this plan to the interviewing officer.

Anirudh asked, I have secured admission fr MS in Info Systems in Roosevelt University in Chicago.I finished BBA from MSU.At present i am in chicago. my student visa expires in July'06. Can i extend my visa frm US or should i come back to india & apply fr student visa again fr MS?

Aroosha Z Rana answers, Visas are not extended in the US. As long as you have an I-20 showing you are 'in status' as a student and you are in fact enrolled in a university and studying, you are 'in status'. If you leave the States and your visa expires while you are gone or it is already expired, then you need to apply for a new visa. Visas are used just to enter the country. The I-20 shows that you are a student.

 raghav_krishna asked, Good afternooon Aroosha, What you look in student when you are giving VISA.

Aroosha Z Rana answers, 
The officer is looking for an honest student who intends to study in the US, has reasonable funds and an economic standing/ financial plan to pay for it and intends to return to India upon completion.

Sriram asked, Hello, I had my visa interview last week. They sent me back with requirement for additional information on my financials. Will it reflect negatively when i attend the interview again

Aroosha Z Rana answers, If a case has been kept pending, the interview has not concluded. This does not affect the outcome of the interview.

raghu asked, Wanna know about initial preparation for Visa . Can u help me?

Aroosha Z Rana answers, 
Everyone applying for a visa to the US must follow these steps:

1. Pay the Visa appointment fee and courier delivery system fee at a designated HDFC bank [Get Quote].

2. Schedule an appointment and complete application forms at You will need the HDFC bank receipt in order to schedule the appointment. The current wait time for a student visa interview in India is approximately three weeks.

For student visas specifically, you must have received an I-20 from the school. This document also requires a payment for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System registration system.

The school may have made this payment for you and will send you a confirmation; you will have to present this at the interview.

Questions on SEVIS payments should be directed back to the school or answers may be found at

vijay asked, vijay, what are the documents need to submitted initialy to embassy

Aroosha Z Rana answers, Please check the following web sites for the most current information:  and  

Aroosha Z Rana says, Vijay, on the day of the interview it is your responsibility to bring whatever documents you think are necessary to show the interviewing officer that you in fact are a credible student and you have sufficient funds to pay for your education.

sentil asked, Hello officer....My F1 was rejected last week although i had GA and 50% aid (the visa officer did not even look at my I 20) I would like to re-apply. Please let me know my chances of getting my visa this time

Aroosha Z Rana answers, The decision to reapply is a personal one. If you choose to, be prepared to explain why you chose to reapply. Every interview is treated as a fresh one and, to be fair to you, you will be interviewed by a different officer.

sanjeev asked, I had my visa interview on June 17, 2006. They sent me back with requirement for additional information related to my research work. I have already replied to them by email. How do I get to know about the status.

Aroosha Z Rana answers, As I mentioned before. when your case is kept pending. the consulate will contact you when the processing is complete. You do not need to contact the office. But you can always send queries to the e-mail id provided to you at the time of the interview.

prathamesh asked, Hi Aroosha I would like to know whether US consulate considers bank fixed deposits and post office fixed deposits as liquid assets.In my case both the bank FDs do not have a locking period whereas postal deposits had a locking period of 2 years which is over now. So can I show these 2 things as liquid assets.

Aroosha Z Rana answers, I cannot answer specifics when it comes to showing your financial status. However, I would encourage you to assess your financial plan before attending your interview and make sure it seems reasonable. Furthermore, you must be able to explain the plan to the officer. Some officers will ask to look at all of your documentation. Others will not. But you should be able to explain any documentation that you show to the officer and answer any questions that they ask you.

Abid asked, hi, I m in USA now on a B2(I-94 valid till september'06), and wanna do my studies, is this possible, i wish to settle down here with my cousing as a US-citizen spouse in future. i want to know whether my change of status effect any future visas or immigraion procedures?

Aroosha Z Rana answers, For student visas you CANNOT adjust status in the US. You MUST return to your home country, apply for the student visa and travel to the US.

Raja asked, My son got aid. Will it affect the visa?

Aroosha Z Rana answers, That's a good question. Financial aid, bank loans, scholarships, etc, fit into your financial plan. So, you should bring that information along and be ready to explain it.

sushant asked, hi aroosha,i wanna ask the same thing,,what are the chances of getting f1 visa afte initial rejection

Aroosha Z Rana answers, As I mentioned before, every interview is treated as a fresh interview. You may be asked about the previous rejection, but that does not affect the officer's decision.

vijay asked, vijay, what are the reasons for rejecting student visas

Aroosha Z Rana answers, To obtain a non-immigrant visa, the burden of proof lies on the applicant to show that s/he is not a potential immigrant to the interviewing office at the time of interview. For student visas, the applicant must show that s/he is in fact intending on studying in the US, has enough funds to pay for the education (at least for the first year) and intends on returning to India after the completion of the studies. We understand that students don't always have concrete future plans. During the interview, try to explain your general plans upon graduation.

Part II: Applying for a visa? How to prepare

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