Tips on Acing Your F1 Visa Interview

Written By Maryam DiMauro

Are you seeking to go to study in a high school in the USA? You might have already been accepted into your dream school, but it’s also vital to pass the F1 interview. The process can be complex. If you do it right, though, you are more likely to ace that F1 Visa Interview!

Steps for acing  the F1 Visa Interview

Before you start your Visa Application Interview, it’s important to have paid all your application fees, completed all paperwork and ensured that your photographs are all up to date.

Make sure you visit pay the SEVIS 1-901 fee of $200 and make sure you have printed the receipt.

Also, you must pay the visa fee of $160.00.

You will need the following before the interview:

PASSPORT: valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the United States; FORM I-20: signed by you and your parent/guardian and a school official; VISA APPLICATION PAGE FORM DS-160 RECEIPTS: from your SEVIS 1-901 fee payment and your Visa Processing Fee.

You have to complete all these steps to obtain the documents needed to enter the United States and commence your studies at your dream school! Remember, we are here to assist you at every step of the way, so please don’t hesitate to send us a WeChat, or email us at

Make sure you notify the school to which you are applying if :

• The Embassy or Consulate is unable to find your SEVIS record in their database

• You currently hold an F-1 Visa at another institution and plan to have it transferred to your dream school

Requirements for Applying for an F1 Visa Admission

Before the F1 Student Visa application, you have to have received an acceptance at a SEVP approved school. Once you have received this, you will be enrolled in SEVIS ( Student and Visitor Information System).

Your accepted school will give you a Form I-20 to give to the consular officer when you are in the interview.  Bear in mind that before the SEVIS 1-901 Fee you must get a receipt.

Where to Apply for Your F1 Visa

Student visa applicants should register at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with the information over their place of permanent residence.  Typically, this will be your home country. Visa Applicants can apply at any U.S. Consular office while abroad. It is more complicated to qualify for a visa if you are outside of your permanent residence country.

To find a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, please visit the following website:

It’s vital to always have a copy of everything you have paid and filled out.

Items to Provide With Your Application

Here is the checklist of things you need with the application:

  • Application Fee: You will have to pay a non-refundable application fee.

  • SEP Form DS-160: All applicants will need to complete and submit DS-160, the online application for a non-immigrant visa.

  • Form DS-157: A DS-157 form for all males aged 16-45. Valid Passport: A passport valid for travel to the United States, with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application.

  • Photos: You can upload a digital photo that is:

• In color sp

• Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50% and 69% of the image's total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head SP Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance SP

• Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background SỆP

• Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera SP

• With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open SEP

• Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis SP F1 Visa Interview

An F1 visa interview is needed to tell if you are able to qualify for the F1 Student Visa. You should arrive at the interview with all of the required documents and receipts, and you should be prepared ahead of time to answer personal questions about your decision to study in the US. F1 visa interview questions often include inquiries about your academic qualifications and choice of university. You may be required to prove that you have ties and obligations that would guarantee your return to your home country after your international studies. Most importantly, you will be required to prove that you have the means to finance your education. Education expenses in the US are higher than most other countries and being able to present a solid financial plan for the duration of your studies is crucial to pass your F1 visa interview.

Examples of F1 Visa Interview Questions

• Why did you pick the US instead of joining the workplace in your native country?

• Why is the school you chose the best for you?


• What are your test scores (GRE, GMAT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS ), your GPA, and your overall performance as a student in the past? SEP

• How are you funding the entire duration of your education, including tuition, room and board, transportation, and all other expenses? SP

• After you graduate, will you return home or will you stay in the

United States

These are some sample questions that may be answered in different ways; however, they all serve one goal - to make sure you are qualified for the F1 visa.  If you answer your questions confidently and in a thorough way, you will have a stronger likelihood to be accepted into the school. Once you are accepted, you might have to pay a visa issuance fee.

Despite all this, getting your visa is not guaranteed. Don’t buy any plane tickets until after you have visa approval. If your visa request was denied, there will be a reason for the rejection based on the section of the law, which makes it ineligible.  When you then file an ineligibility waiver, you may have to pay a visa issuance fee. Scanning fingerprints will be given for the records. Your passport will be given to the Consulate and they will return it either by pick up or by mail.

F-1 Visa Denials

If your F1 visa application is denied, it is based on US immigration law. If you are denied, the reason and section of law under which you are denied will be given to you in your paperwork. Some applications are denied because the applicant failed to provide necessary information or supporting documentation as required. Sometimes, however, you can be found ineligible for other reasons. Of course, if you do not meet the F-1 Visa Qualifications as stated above, you can expect to be found ineligible. For example, if you do not sufficiently demonstrate that the strong ties to your home country will influence you to return home after your stay in the US, you will be denied under INA section 214(b), Visa Qualifications and Immigrant Intent. Other common reasons for denial include Fraud or Misrepresentation, Unlawful Presence in the United States, Health-related grounds, Criminal-related grounds, or Security-related grounds. To learn more about visa denials and to see if you are eligible for a waiver or to reapply, the US Department of State website is a great resource.

Maintaining Valid F-1 Status After You Arrive

After you are approved for your F1 visa, you are able to enter the United States as an international student. However, after you arrive, you will need to stay aware of your obligations as an F1 visa holder. If you do not maintain your valid F-1 visa status, you will not be allowed to return to re-enter the US if you leave and you will not be eligible for practical training (OPT or CPT) or on-campus employment. Here are some tips to assure you're in good standing during your study abroad:

Getting to America

The deadline to arrive in America can be no more than 30 days before your first official school day.  Make sure you talk to the EduHup Educational Consultants with all the specific information about the school.

During Your Program

In order to stay in the USA, you have to be enrolled full time. You must have good attendance and go to class and maintain passing grades.  If you are unable to complete all of what is required of you by the date in your Form 1-20, your advisor can ask for an extension.

You must have a valid passport which dates at least six months in the future.  Your embassy can help with this extension if you need it. Make sure you have your passport with you at all times as well as your 1-94 card at all times to confirm identity.


F1 visa students are not allowed to work off-campus. The good news is that you can have on-campus jobs or some curricular training if you are qualified.  Make sure you ask your Program Manager who can be there to absolutely give you advice and support on this. It’s imperative that you do not accept unauthorized work. If you choose to work without proper authorization, your visa will be revoked and you will be forced to leave the United States.

Upon Program Completion

You have 60 days upon completion of your program to leave the United States under your F1 visa. To remain in the US, you will need to re-enroll in a higher program, transfer to another school to receive a new I-20 form, or apply to change your visa status. Your international advisor can give you more information regarding your options.

Special credit to Berwick Academy who wrote this in-depth content and tips!

Department of Homeland Security U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status OMB NO. 1653-0038


NOTICE OF ADDRESS. When you arrive in the United States, you must report your U.S. address to your DSO. If you move, you must notify your DSO of your new address within 10 days of the change of address. The DSO will update SEVIS with your new address.

STUDENT ATTESTATION. You should read everything on this page carefully. Be sure that you understand the terms and conditions concerning your admission and stay in the United States as a nonimmigrant student before signing the student attestation on page 1 of the Form I-20 A-B. The law provides severe penalties for knowingly and willfully falsifying or concealing a material fact, or using any false document in the submission of this form,

REENTRY. F1 students may leave the United States and return within a period of five months. To return, you must have: 1) a valid passport; 2) a valid F1 student visa (unless you are exempt from visa requirements); and 3) your Form 1-20, page 2, properly endorsed for reentry by your DSO. If you have been out of the United States for more than five months, contact your DSO.

FORM I-20. The Form 1-20 (this form) is the primary document to show that you have been admitted to a school in the United States and that you are authorized to apply for admission to the United States in F-1 class of admission. You must have your Form I-20 with you at all times. If you lose your Form I-20, you must request a new one from your designated school official (DSO) at the school named on your Form I-20.

AUTHORIZATION TO RELEASE INFORMATION BY SCHOOL. DHS requires your school to provide DHS with your name, country of birth, current address, immigration status, and certain other information on a regular basis or upon request. Your signature on the Form 1-20 authorizes the named school to release such information from your records.

VISA APPLICATION. You must give this Form I-20 to the U.S. consular officer at the time you apply for a visa (unless you are exempt from visa requirements). If you have a Form I-20 from more than one school, be sure to present the Form I-20 for the school you plan to attend. Your visa will include the name of that school, and you must attend that school upon entering the United States. You must also provide evidence of support for tuition and fees and living expenses while you are in the United States.

PENALTY. To maintain your nonimmigrant student status, you must: 1) remain a full-time student at your authorized school; 2) engage only in authorized employment, and 3) keep your passport valid. Failure to comply with these regulations will result in the loss of your student status and subject you to deportation.

References: Berwick Academy, Maine


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