Helpful Hints From Visa Officers
We know students can be nervous about their interview with a visa officer. We understand why. You have thought long and hard about spending years of your life studying in the United States and you want everything to go well. Visa officers also want your interview to go well. Here are some helpful hints from our visa officers in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi to help you along.
Verbal communication is the key
Most visa officers don’t ask for documents in the interview. So, do not rely on papers to tell your story. Instead, we want to have a conversation that helps us understand if you are a credible student who can afford the program. Try discussing out loud what your financial situation is and why you chose the university or college you plan to attend. There are no wrong answers. Just get comfortable talking about your decision to study in America.
Know your school
The first person you speak to about studying in the United States should not be a visa officer. Students who have had verbal communication with university or college admissions and financial aid offices are more comfortable talking about their choice of school and what they hope to do once they graduate.
Get advance information about the institution
U.S. institutions realize that visiting colleges or universities you have applied to in advance is not always an option so they have invested in developing campus experiences through virtual tours, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube videos. Many of these spaces have the latest updates on student orientation, campus, housing, transportation, labs and equipment among other practical topics. Check them out on institutions’ Web sites.
Talk to an education adviser
EducationUSA advisers in major cities are available to talk with you about all aspects of the education process—from choosing a college to preparing for your visa interview. They are a really good resource! Check out www.educationusa.info/India and www.usief.org.in. The toll-free help desk of the USIEF (1-800-103-1231) is available Monday through Friday, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
No need to use a visa agent or coach
Genuine students study hard and gain admission to a U.S. university or college based on their hard work—not because an agent or coach helped them. If you are smart enough to get admission, you are smart enough to fill out your own visa application and explain to a visa officer why going to America is the right choice for you. Agents cannot guarantee you a visa. In our process, we believe that genuine students do not need their services.