F1 Visa Rejected today at Mumbai Consulate for Ph.D. with full funding from Auburn University.


Are you applying for F1 Visa for Ph.D. program without or without funding?

Who would have thought someone with Full Funded Admission into Doctorate Program will walk out of the US Consulate with F1 Visa Rejection?

There is an important learning lesson here from Bala’s Visa interview.

First, read the interview questions and answers.

PhD F1 Visa Interview Experience

The interview was like this:

VO: Good morning.
Me: Good morning

VO: Give me your passport and I-20
ME: I handed it over to the Visa Officer

VO: So, Auburn University right?
ME: Yes Auburn University

VO: How did you know about the Auburn University?
ME: US NEWS (There my response was incorrect)

VO: Why Auburn University?
ME: I had interacted with the proffesor at Auburn and his scheme of things interested me

VO: How did it interest you?
ME: The experiments he carrries out blah blah( Here I think was not able to convince the VO, I think)

VO: What is your GRE Score?
ME: 318/340

VO: Only one admit right?
ME: Yes, but got two from Auburn University itself.

VO: Masters?

ME: Not done only Bachelors.

VO: Ok we cannot gave you visa at this point of time, I will give a letter which would explain the reason.
Me: Ok thank you.

The letter said 214(b) – Potential Immigrant.

I would want help from you to identify what went wrong in PhD F1 Visa Interview and how could I correct it in my next interview?

Refer to the What Does Visa Rejection Under 214(b) Potential Immigrant Mean? to learn about “strong ties” requirement for Nthe on-Immigrant visa.

Students always blame the visa officers for the visa rejection. But, if you break down the visa interview word by word, it’s pretty easy to find the reasons for rejection.

Guess who to blame then?

Here is a comment from a reader:

I believe having 2 admits from same university is the reason for your denial. It shows your desperation to be there, and your course of study is not so important for you. Its not a good idea to apply for different courses of same university, even if it is located at different location, something like University of Texas at different locations. It gives an impression to the VO that you’re interested to go that particular place, and you have some relatives/family/friends there. And hence could be considered a potential immigrant.

I don’t think admission from the same university for two different programs or two different degrees (Ph.D. and Maters) would lead to Potential Immigrant Rejection.

Another reader said the following

ME: yes, but got two from Auburn University itself.

VO: Masters?

ME: Not done only Bachelors.

VO: Ok we cannot gave you visa at this point of time, I will give a letter which would explain the reason.
Me: Ok thank you.

The thing is, you got two admits from the same university. The question was asking about the second admit. If you got admit for both PhD and Masters. Instead, you replied Bachelors. Maybe that gave an incorrect impression about your. To get the visa you answer should be point to point.

I think this specific answer could have played a role. But, I think the Visa Officer decided based on your previous “lack of depth” answers.

You may be overconfident that 100% Funding for Ph.D. = Automatic Visa Approval.

And you have been proved wrong.

In short:

If you are applying for F1 Visa and you have been offered financial aid, please don’t take the visa interview for granted.

Don’t be overconfident.

Stay on the ground and stay level-headed.

It’s hard to decide this student was overconfident only based on the interview transcript.

Role of body language and communication skill plays a huge role in the visa interview process.


  1. Immman on November 21, 2015 at 9:08 PM

    I had applied for Lincoln University for Doctoral program (DBA), i had only IELTS, 6.5 with M.Phil. in Management after MBA.
    How much is the possibility of getting Visa, do i need to show GMAT to VO for Doctoral degree.
    please advise me

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 22, 2015 at 5:43 AM

      GMAT is not mandatory for visa.

  2. Sampada Deshmukh on April 6, 2013 at 2:42 AM

    I had applied to 7 universities and received admit only from Drexel with Dean’s Fellowship. Does admit only from 1 university portray me as a potential immigrant? As drexel’s ranking is good, will it work in my favour?

  3. Sampada Deshmukh on April 6, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    I had applied to 7 universities and got admit only from Drexel along with Dean’s Fellowship for ECE dept. Will an admit only from one university portray me as a potential immigrant? As Drexel’s ranking is good, will it work in my favour?

  4. manbir on March 29, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    i have also applied to only one university. Can this be a possible point for my rejection ?
    I m gettng assistantshp as wel as tution waiver. Also ,dont hv any sibling there

  5. Dr. Alade Adedotun on June 19, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Pls answer,
    Does it mean applying to one university can lead to visa reject?

    • Gopi Kiran on July 1, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      It actually depends on the university or college you apply and how many good points you can gather about the university. Just thing in the interview’s point of view. Why will he give you the visa? He would give visa only if he is impressed. If you would select a perfect university for yourself and give him valid reason for that, 1 university will be perfectly fine. In fact if you have any more doubts, just think why should the interviewer give visa to you and how you can impress him/her. You will get most of the answers by yourself.

      All the best.

  6. Vijay on June 1, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Hi Ags,
    I felt bad to hear this.
    Even I’m striving hard to get PhD admission in US.
    If it is fine with you we can get in touch.
    kindly revert for this comment, so that I can give you my email id.

  7. sahil on May 24, 2012 at 6:40 AM

    Hey everyone,
    I scored 320 in my gre exam last week. I am in final year( civil engineering) right now with a average score of 62% till 3rd year…. I have done few internships ( 2) with leading construction companies… I want to pursue M.S in structural Engineering….do I have a cahnce in getting into duke university or toronto univ or british colunbia univ or m.I.t….. Please suggest me 5 universities..
    anyone please reply

  8. Vignesh on May 24, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    How many universities did you apply for ?
    What is your backup plan?
    You seem to be a potential immigrant or else why would you choose to do Ph.D in US ?

    • Vignesh on May 24, 2012 at 1:37 AM

      You seem to be a potential immigrant or else why would you choose to do Ph.D in US with just a single admit ?
      That too Auburn University is not a great university for Ph.D.
      You made many mistakes.

  9. Ags on May 24, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    this is agastheesh. I took my gre twice but got the same mark in both exams.
    will that be a drawback that will make them to think that i am not capable of doing it better than my last time?
    will they reject my visa by thinking that my capability is only that much?
    P.S: my gre is less, only 1100

    • Rohan Jadhav on May 24, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      you are thinking too much. You are good 1100 is slightly more than average score. Just be cool and follow further steps.


      • AGS on May 24, 2012 at 12:08 PM

        Thanks dude

        I will try to be confident

  10. Keyur patel on May 23, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    I want to get admission in ph.d in us. I have completed master of pharmacy in pharmacology. Please tell me how I get admission in us and what requirements necessary.thank u

  11. Iraj on May 22, 2012 at 9:23 PM


    I am Iraj from Iran, I have been admitted as PhD student both in Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Louisiana at Lafayette. I am a little scared about interview and need to somebody help me how answer questions during the interview. I was also wondering whether university’s rank would affect acceptance or rejection of visa or not.


  12. Ater on May 22, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    Would advise to apply again, but before that, please do homework. Read through all the F1 experience that posted here, and prepare to give better answer.

    good luck

  13. Rohan Jadhav on May 22, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Hey buddy,

    Apply again. You should get it next time. Just answer like a researcher and not like a dumbfuck and you should be good.


  14. Danish on May 22, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    How can one go for PhD from India w/o going for Masters? That may have been a reason !

    • siddharth on May 22, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      You can do that.Don’t post stuff if you are unaware.

    • sudeep on May 23, 2012 at 2:22 AM

      yeah … you can directly apply for the phd w/o masters….. first do ur homeowrk and post stuffs …. ur post could mislead others..

  15. raj on May 22, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    hi… dis is raj. i have taken gre twice and toefl twice. In gre for the first attempt i got 298 and in the second attempt i secured 303. In toefl in first attempt i got 78 and in 2nd attempt i secured 79. Will there be any problem in visa interview for taking the xam twice and not without much improvement? In gre atleast there is an improvement of 5 marks but in toefl there is only 1 mark of improvement, will he get to know that i have taken the exam twice? if he doesnt know is it better to tell the truth?will be there any problem? plz anyone plz suggest me, i m planning to go for visa interview in june 1st week. plz……plz………

    • Ater on May 22, 2012 at 7:59 PM

      I also go for GRE and Toefl twice. But personal think it is very low score. Nothing can do now, just try your luck on June interview… or you can take more time to prepare the test and apply for following year.

      • raj on May 23, 2012 at 3:12 AM

        thanks ater. As you said its too late now and we cannot do anything now as i already got d I-20 from two of the universities. Have you attended the visa interview? just wat i want to know is if he questions why have you taken the xam twice then wat is the possible answer we should give?

  16. Praveen on May 22, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    What is the visa success rate for Florida Institute of Technology? for Aerospace Engineering.I graduated from Mechanical Engineering.Please send me the information.

    • gopi on May 23, 2012 at 1:33 AM

      go for it praveen ..aerospace is a different corner of engineering ..convince him about the research u have done with that unv……….u’l get the visa for sure hu haaa

  17. Ramnik Duggal on May 22, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Probably lack of confidence or the way in which answers were given may not have appealed to VO!
    Has there been similar case earlier! Probably none as per my knowledge! Real hard luck!!

    • Divya on May 25, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      I agree with you. That can be the only reason. The conversation went fine, in face, I am surprised too with the VO’s decision.

  18. Visa Counselor on May 22, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    The reason for your reject is the way you have answered the questions. An admit from only 1 university was the second factor which worked towards your reject.

    • Rohan on May 22, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      Can anybody tell me under what conditions the admission to an university for spring season get cancelled.
      what if one gets acceptance from an university for spring season and during his last semester of last year one eventually get a backlog! what would happen ?
      As in this case the person is going for spring season he has time to appear for papers but the results may be out till feb end.
      So in this case would he be able to attend the University for the spring season and submit his degree documents in feb .
      Please reply on this comment.

    • sudeep on May 23, 2012 at 2:16 AM

      for your information and your misconceptions…. applying only to 1 university does not matters at all. i also applied to 1 university and my VI was quite easy. So you can rule out the factor of applying to only 1 university.

  19. M Sen on May 22, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Your answers regarding why you were interested in that professor’s work seemed very vague.
    As a PhD candidate, you have to be truly passionate about the work there and only then will it show in your answer. Saying ‘his scheme of things interested me’ is vague for just a masters. As a PhD student, you should have been able to show previous research experience/interest in his field, talk in detail about his research and how much that excites you. The answer to ‘why Auburn’ should have included a detailed comparison of its research program with other universities. Eg: funding is better/ more faculty collaborations/ like the structure of the program..etc

  20. Shantanu on May 22, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Auburn is well known university, and it’s Mech program is really good…
    I have my VI on 4th June, at Mumbai, for same university, MS Mechanical program..

    • Dacha on May 22, 2012 at 4:23 PM

      hey, Shantanu, do u have any idea about Univ. of Kentucky’s mechanical engg. MS program?

  21. Jatin on May 22, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    have heard that this time there’s been a lot of rejects at mumbai consulate……they are rejecting randomly irrespective of the profile of the student..

  22. Pallav on May 22, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    All answers given to VO were absurd. Also university is not that famous.. Also you applied to only one university. I think that lead to your reject.

    • HSB on May 22, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      Who said Auburn is not famous?

    • Ravi on May 22, 2012 at 11:42 AM

      Auburn is a very good university.

    • Harry Grewal on May 22, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      Auburn is not famous??? WTF?? what are you smoking these days??

      • Dacha on May 22, 2012 at 4:26 PM

        Hello Sir,
        Do u have any idea about University of Kentucky? I am going for a visa interview for MS in Mechanical Engineering… It would be kind of you if you could help with some information.
        Thank you.

    • sudeep on May 23, 2012 at 2:19 AM

      apllying to only 1 uniersity does not account for the approval or denial of the visa. thats your misconception.

  23. Jide on May 22, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    Wow.reject for a PhD candidate…the first I have heard of it.

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