F1 Visa Interview Questions and Answers

Written by Sameer Kamat

In an earlier post we covered frequently asked questions about the F1 Visa requirements in U.S. for Indian students (criteria, documents, F2 dependent visas etc). We left one part out that we’ll cover here – F1 Visa Interview Questions and Answers.

Keep in mind that there is no pre-defined or comprehensive list of F1 Visa Interview Questions that you can prepare mechanically and go out and blurt the answers for a 100% report card. A lot depends on your profile, aspirations, choice of university, financing status and other factors.

What we are covering here are just the basics that revolve around the categories in previous statement. First, revise the key 4 reasons why F1 visas are rejected. Then use the list below to see if you have genuine and convincing answers to each of the F1 Visa Interview Questions listed below.

F1 Visa Interview Questions and Answers

F1 Visa Interview Questions about your study plans

– Where are you working right now? What do you do at work?
– Why are you thinking of higher studies?
– Why are you planning to go for higher studies now?
– Can you not pursue this in India?
– How is this degree related to what you have studied earlier or your current work profile?

Tips for F1 Visa Answers

– This is pretty much an extension of what you wrote in your essays / SoP. The admissions officer would have already asked you these in your admissions interview. So you should be fine here. Of course, the Visa officer doesn’t have access to your university application. But having one, consistent story will keep it simple for you and the visa officer.

F1 Visa Interview Questions related to your university choice

– Why did you choose this university?
– Why USA? Why not any other country?
– Which other universities did you apply to? What was the result?
– Why are you not joining the others? (assuming you have an admit)
– What is so special about this particular university? What resources does this university provide that the others don’t?
– Have you made arrangements for accommodation in the USA (within / outside campus)?

Tips for F1 Visa Answers

– Like the previous section, you would have covered part of this in the admissions process (essays / SOP, interviews). But during the F1 visa interview there may be a greater emphasis on the why not others and why specifically this universities when the resources you’d get across universities may appear to be similar. The calibre of the universities you apply to also matter as it indicates your calibre as a student and professional. Universities with a shady or chequered past, or names that have rarely come up in the F1 visa interviews (or for the wrong reasons) could raise the red flag.

F1 Visa Interview Questions related to your academic capability

– What is your GRE / GMAT / TOEFL / IELTS score?
– What was the medium of education in your undergrad?
– How was your performance in your earlier degrees? GPA, percentage, CGPA
– Did you have any backlog?
– You have never studied abroad before? How do you think you will be able to manage the cultural / educational differences?

Tips for F1 Visa Answers

If there’s a big disconnect between your past performance record (in India or outside) and the quality level expected from a decent international university, you have some explanation to do.

F1 Visa Interview Questions to check your financial status

– Who is sponsoring your education?
– Who else is dependent (brothers, sisters) on them?
– Do you have some evidence for the sanction of loans / scholarships / bursary / graduate assistantship?
– How much is your (or whoever is sponsoring you – dad’s / brother’s) annual income?
– How much is the monthly income? How much is the savings?
– Any proof (bank statements etc)?
– Your funds don’t cover the entire duration. How will you fund the rest?

Tips for F1 Visa Answers

– Studying in the United States is several times more expensive than attending a university in India. So naturally financing is a big hurdle. Your phenomenal academic potential can means nothing to the visa officer if you can’t show that you’ve thought through the financing bit. Learn about all the expenses (not just tuition) that you are likely to encounter. How did you arrive that the one big number? Have some evidence in place for the expected cost as well as the financing sources.

F1 Visa Interview Questions to verify your post-graduation plans

– What do you intend to do after you graduate?
– Do you have any relatives in the U.S.? What do they do?
– How about your friends and colleagues?
– When did they go there? What are they doing now?

Tips for F1 Visa Answers

– We can’t tell you what the ‘right’ answer to this question is. But here are some perspectives to help you frame the appropriate answer. The USA education system wouldn’t have had the Optional Practical Training (OPT) for students arriving on an F1 Visa if it wanted every single international student to go back to his/her home country immediately after completing the MS or MBA program. The U.S. economy needs and attracts the best talent from across the world to keep its wheels turning. But it also doesn’t want the local citizens to be at a severe disadvantage while competing with the uncontrolled influx of imported manpower. It needs to draw a balance.

Note: We have collated this list from other sites. There are bound to be many variations and additions to this list. Also, it doesn’t hurt to remind that we aren’t legal counsellors for the F1 visa process. Carry out your own research about how things work.

There’s more to F1 Visa Interview Questions, than just the ‘right’ answers

Don’t treat F1 visa interview questions and answers like GMAT prep. Practising is good. But a hundred hours of learning the ‘correct’ answer to a standard list of questions won’t get you closer to the destination. In fact, if you mechanically dole out rehearsed answers, even your frank responses may be viewed with suspicion.

Apart from the content of your responses, also keep in mind that your presentation also matters. If you are giving the right answers and your facial expression reminds the F1 visa officer of Mr Bean and your body language is like a deer caught in the headlights, then we might have a problem.

However, if you come across as a genuine student giving transparent answers, your chances of crossing the final hurdle and getting the F1 Visa stamped on your passport goes up.

Do your homework and get all the documents and the evidence in place. If you have applied to the right universities for the right reasons and have all the right F1 visa documents in place, there’s nothing to be scared of. Keep your answers crisp, clear and honest.

Good luck!


New here? See what you missed from the Big Daddy list of >> MBA, GMAT & Career Articles
Sameer Kamat

About Sameer Kamat

Founder of MBA Crystal Ball | Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter @mba_cb | Facebook


10 Comments

  1. jeegar   |  Sunday, 09 June 2013 at 3:03 pm

    How to get admissions assistance from you,
    i want to get one on one assistance from you or your team

  2. Sameer Kamat   |  Thursday, 13 June 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Jeegar: Send across an email with your profile details to: info at mbacrystalball dot com

  3. Bhawana   |  Thursday, 11 July 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Hi,
    my husband got the F1 visa is on 7th june 2013, and im planing to apply for the F2 visa after one month from now, by the time i apply my husband will be in india only, since his course will be stating in aug mid. so will it be a problem if i apply in july or in Aug. what is the best possible chances to get visa approval, or should i wait for my husband to go first in USA then apply..
    my father in low sponsorshing my husband for the study, and for me we have a separate savings in bank.
    pls help……..

  4. Sameer Kamat   |  Saturday, 13 July 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Bhawana: We aren’t qualified to provide personal advise in this area. Better contact someone who has expertise in visa matters.

  5. ramesh   |  Friday, 30 August 2013 at 5:50 pm

    i m passed out in 2009.my profile:
    10th-78%
    12th-54%
    B.E.mech engg- 61% with 5 backlogs. ( 3.5/4 GPA as per my university law)

    and interested for fall 2015 intake for MBA.
    1) so, study gap of 6 years ( if i will start MBA in 2015 then ) and backlogs ( 5 backlogs ) will affect me as a visa point of view?
    2) as a visa point of view, what s score must i have in GMAT and TOEFL and IELTS?
    3) can i get admission in top to average universities of MBA , with average score of my undergraduate 61% and 5 backlogs?

  6. Nandakumar   |  Thursday, 26 December 2013 at 3:43 am

    my visa refused dy denial 241b act

  7. arun   |  Thursday, 02 January 2014 at 9:45 am

    Hello,
    Myself Arun, and i would like to apply for US MBA for summer intake and my profile is as follows
    PG diploma[edexcel level 7] 2013 june passout,
    graduation B.COM 68% no back logs,
    12th 67%
    10th 62%
    IELTS – 6.5 any inputs on my application

  8. gogila c nair   |  Friday, 29 August 2014 at 10:02 am

    I completed my post graduation in msw 2009 march.i want to join for a pg diploma course in canada. This gap of 6 years ok fr student visa? Please help me with ur valuable opinion.

  9. alex   |  Sunday, 07 September 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I am applying for F1 to study English, please I need some advise
    thank you

  10. Sameer Kamat   |  Monday, 06 October 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Never hurts to mention what we’ve said earlier. We aren’t qualified to provide H1B or F1 visa related advice.

Leave a Reply