If you want to do an exchange in the USA, you know that being accepted to a university there is only the first step to actually study in the country. Then, you will need a permit to live and study there and, consequently, you will undergo an American visa interview. To help you do well in this part of the process, we have listed here what you should and should not do when you are interviewed for the F-1 visa. Check out!
Tips for doing well in the US visa interview
Confirm that your destination university is accredited
To ensure that you have no problems with immigration, make sure your university is accredited. American authorities can refuse students who were accepted into a course and obtained a visa, simply because the university to which they were accepted (and to which they received permission) is not accredited.
The lack of accreditation means that the institution is not granting you a recognized diploma, which implies that you will be entering the USA on a false pretext, even if you believe you are obtaining a valid diploma. Each college or university in the USA belongs to a regional accreditation board. Find out, then, which are the accrediting bodies in the region of the university where you were accepted and check if it is recognized by visiting the official websites of these bodies.
Be enrolled in a full course
The purpose of the F-1 visa is to grant permission for students seeking training in the United States. Therefore, a part-time course may give the impression that you are not going to the USA with the sole intention of studying. It is therefore important to ensure that you choose a full-time course.
There are typically 12 hours of credit per year for undergraduate students and 9 hours per year for graduate students . In other words, you must ensure that your weekly classroom time represents at least 12 hours or 9 hours, respectively, depending on whether you want to take an undergraduate or graduate course.
Prove that you can afford at least 1 year of tuition and other expenses
While it is a harsh reality, proof of funds is a simple rule followed by the United States Embassy and immigration authorities at the airport. The government expects you to demonstrate in the US visa interview, through bank statements , that you have funds to cover your education for one year. Proving that you will receive scholarships also helps. That is, the goal is to clearly prove that you can pay for your study.
Demonstrate that you do not intend to immigrate to the US
Many people go to the United States on an F-1 visa and then try to gain permanent residence. However, that is not the goal of the F-1. The intention of this permission is that you go to the USA to study, get a diploma and come home.
Therefore, never suggest to an embassy employee that you will be willing to live in the US after you graduate, as this appointment may lead to rejection in the US visa interview. Instead, demonstrate your extensive ties to Brazil, the work you intend to do here and so on.
Show the connection between your course and your professional aspirations
Embassy staff are always curious to know why you chose such a course and what you will do with it when you return to Brazil. So, think about it when choosing a course. You will need to explain in the US visa interview why you chose it.
What to do and not to do in the US visa interview:
What to do
Bring any documents you consider relevant: You may be required to present any evidence that is related to the visa but has not been officially requested. In that case, it is important to have all kinds of documentation on hand.
Follow the process completely: Read the instructions carefully, fill out all the forms, fulfill the photo requirements and pay the requested fees.
Have good answers to the topics we covered above: What is the connection between the course and your professional goals? Is the institution accredited and are the studies full-time? What are your plans for when you return to Brazil?
What not to do
Rehearsing too much: Resist the urge to memorize your answers. It is okay to take notes on what you want to say and to consult them quickly before entering (however, we do not recommend taking this list of notes), but do not respond with ready-made or catch phrases.
Beg: In some cases, the embassy may reject your application at the US visa interview. This is usually because they did not find the answers sufficient as to whether you are really going to a full-time course or whether you really have the necessary funds to pay for your studies. If that happens, asking (or even begging) for them to review the decision won’t do you any good.
Say thank you, go away and start preparing for what you’re going to do next – you can even sign up again in the same year. However, if you have prepared the paperwork correctly and can speak confidently about why you are going to the US and what you will do with your diploma, you have a good chance of passing.