Following opinion, a question came from a reader. He’s concerned about possibilities of getting F1 Visa being a Muslim.
I have been following your blog for more than a year, and find it really informative. It has helped me a lot while working towards my aim of an admit from a top US university. Now, I have an admit from one of the Ivy league universities (Cornell University) for their masters programs. I am in the process of preparing all my documents for the visa interview (will definitely share that experience with you!).
The only thing that’s bothering me is that, as a Muslim, it might be difficult to get a US visa. As everyone knows, the US is not a favorable place for Muslims, due to racial profiling and all the events that took place in 2001 and later. Is it possible that the visa office might have such a bias? Have you seen any such cases?
My profile is pretty good, having completed my BE from one of the top engineering colleges in India, in top 10%, solid work experience in a large tech firm, and an ok GRE score (around 320).
I would really appreciate it if you could provide some feedback.
F1 Visa For Muslims to Study in USA
First, I don’t agree to the statement “The US is not a welcoming place for Muslims”.
According to Open Doors report on Leading Places of Origin for International students for 2014/2015
- China 304,040
- India 132,888
- South Korea 63,710
- Saudi Arabia 59,945
- Canada 27,240
As you can see so many students from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan have come to USA for higher education. I assume majority of the students from those countries would be Muslims. Students are coming from other countries too.
Visa Officers issue visa based on your qualification. With your admit from Cornell, you should be looking forward to study in USA. Good luck with your visa and educations in the USA.
F1 Visa Interview at Abu Dhabi by Aslam
- Fi Visa an interview: stuck in 221g for almost a month
- Consulate: Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Date: 7 June, 2012
For Abu Dhabi consulate, F1 visa applicants have to walk-in. There is no need to schedule the interview. I reached around 9 am. Within 20 minutes, I was done with the security check and the fingerprint process. Then had a wait of about an hour and a half before my number was called for the interview.
Me: Good morning!
VO: Please pass me your i20 and passport, please.
VO: Which university are you going to?
Me: Ma’am, I am going to Cornell University.
VO: Which course?
Me: Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
VO: How will you be paying for the course?
Me: I have my personal savings from which I can fund the course.
VO: Really?? How did you get so much money??
Me: Ma’am, I have a good job here in Abu Dhabi, which pays me around AED 15000 per month (~INR 2 lakhs), and I have very low expenses since I’m staying with my family. So most of the money from my salary is saved.
VO: Ok. Can you show me your bank statements?
Me: Here you go.
VO: What is the duration of your course?
Me: The course is for ten months.
VO: Wow! That’s a short course for a Masters degree!
Me: Ma’am, it is a Masters in Engineering course. It is more focused on design and practical application of engineering concepts. I take around 30 credits which are almost the same as a two-year course.
VO then starts typing a lot into her computer, and then finally pulls out yellow sheets of paper.
VO: Your application needs to go for administrative processing. It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months.
Me: Ma’am, my course starts on August 20th, what if the application isn’t processed till then?
VO: You have to be patient. We try to expedite the process for students so they can attend classes on time, but there are no guarantees.
Me: Thank you for your time.
I don’t have update if he got his visa to study in USA at Cornell University.