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Student F1 Visa Tips & Advice From a Visa Officer at US Embassy Delhi

f1 visa interview advice from consular officer delhi india embassy usa

I have always to know more about American visa Officers.

  • Who are they?
  • Where they come from, what is their background?
  • What qualifications are required to become a visa office?
  • What kind of training is required to become an American Visa Officer?

Finally, here is a  blog post was written by Monica Shie, Visa Officer at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, IndiaShe gives AMAZING Student visa tips for USA.


Over the last decade, nearly one million Indian students were granted visas to study in the United States.

Every one of them appeared before an American visa officer for an interview.

If you have applied for a U.S. visa, you too have come face-to-face with one of us.

Have you ever wondered who the visa officers are that will approve or deny your visa?

When I was a child, I did not dream of becoming a visa officer when I grew up.

Even as a young adult, first majoring in literature and then taking up teaching, it did not occur to me that I would one day sit on a high stool behind a glass window at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and adjudicate visas. But for the last nine months, I have been doing just that — almost 100 interviews a day.

I mention this by way of reminding you that visa officers are people too.

We come from a variety of backgrounds.

We once were lawyers, teachers, IT professionals, even firefighters. But at some point in our lives, we took the Foreign Service written test, passed the day-long oral exam, and, after extensive training, became diplomats.

Most of us are on our first or second tours.

We joined the Foreign Service because we are interested in other cultures.

Most of us are here because we chose to come to India. We visit the Taj Mahal; we read Chetan Bhagat’s novels; we watch Delhi Belly; we love butter chicken. We want to be here, and we enjoy talking with you.

A lot of us studied Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, or Bengali for several months before we came to India so that we can conduct interviews with applicants who do not speak English.

We might not be fluent or flawless, but we can ask a few basic questions:

  • What is the purpose of your travel?
  • Who do you know in America?
  • How long do you plan to stay?

Usually, we can understand the answers; when we do not, we ask our Indian colleagues to translate.

Every day in New Delhi, eight or nine officers interview hundreds of people seeking visas to the United States.

Because we try to serve as many applicants as we can, the interviews are quite short — only two to three minutes.

A lot of the information that we need is already there in your application, but we like to hear from you, personally, about your travel plans.

Sometimes, visa applicants bring stacks of documents, and they seem disappointed when we do not look at all that paperwork.

But the idea of a personal interview is to speak with you face-to-face — not to examine documents.

Our job is to uphold the law.

Sometimes that means denying a visa.

If you apply for a tourist visa, but we get the idea from the interview that you are really going to work at your uncle’s pizza shop, then we will not issue the visa.

Students who only apply to one school and cannot explain their choice are also unlikely to be granted a visa. It is important that your intentions match your visa category.

Many visa applicants pay consultants to prepare their applications.

Although some consultants might provide helpful information, many do not.

Remember that you alone are responsible for the accuracy of the information in your application. False information on the application or fake document packages could result in permanent ineligibility.

If you are a student, we expect you to be credible and qualified.

You should be prepared to talk about why you chose the university that you plan to attend, and you should be able to explain how you will pay for your studies.

It should be easy for us to believe that you will finish the degree at the institution you have selected, and we must be convinced that full-time study is the primary purpose of your travel.

It is best to apply early, but not before you have heard from your first-choice school.

Your visa will be annotated with the name of the school listed on your I-20 form at the time of your interview.

You can apply for a visa up to 120 days before your program is scheduled to begin.

However, you may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the report date for your course.

If you are applying for graduate work, be sure to apply as early as you can, as sometimes administrative processing is required that might delay the issuance of your visa.

Nearly 104,000 Indians are currently studying in the United States.

Like you, they were nervous when they faced the American visa officer behind the glass.

The situation, admittedly, does not put one at ease. However, if you know yourself to be a credible, qualified student, then you should have nothing to worry about.

Take a deep breath, relax, and remember that the person behind the glass is there to help you. We are regular people too — just like you.

Above Blog post was originally posted at  Student Visa Advise.

For free and accurate information about how to apply for a U.S. visa, please visit the U.S. Embassy New Delhi website or the Department of State Travel site.

Lessons Learned

  • Visa Officers know Indian Languages
  • Students are expected to be credible and qualified
  • Fake Documents  could result in permanent ineligibility

Let go back to heated arguments we had over Dumbest F1 Visa interview Question Ever.

I would now like anyone to argue against the Visa Officer who basically convey the same message I conveyed.

If you are a student, we expect you to be credible and qualified. You should be prepared to talk about why you chose the university that you plan to attend.

I’m going to stress my point here – You are expected to have a certain level of maturity and understanding as a student who is planning to attend grad in the USA. If you have that level of maturity, then you SHOULD have an answer to the question of why you applied for admission to specific university/program.

12 Comments

  1. Navin on March 28, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    hey HSB can u tell me what does VO expect when he asks us the question – What are you going to do after completing your education in US? . If we say that we are going to stay in US forever then they consider us a professional immigrant and if we say that we say that we are going to return to our country back and start our own business then they think that we are already capable of working. In both the cases there are chances of visa rejection. Please tell us about this in detail

  2. krishna somayajulu on March 28, 2012 at 6:51 AM

    Hi HSB

    i have a doubt,what is the process to become visa officer who issues visas to india staying in foreign countries .what are the requirements and tests that should be cleared to become an indian visa officer.
    *****************************PLEASE REPLY***************************

  3. shailesh on March 28, 2012 at 3:04 AM

    it is true that us embassy never issue visa who belong degree such as B.Com,B.A,B.Sc amd more.i am also got denied twise at us mumbai consulate.even i have good university which i admit such as kutztown university,Lincon university.H’burrg uni…..what can i do ………..frnds let me know yr suggestion.

    education-B.com-2008,2.5 yrs work experience.
    ielts-5.5
    GRE(new)-275/340

  4. anirudh on March 26, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    can i go to visa interview with one admit and 4 rej and 2 w8ng?

  5. anirudh on March 26, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    i hav a query pls do help me:
    i have applied for 7 universities from that i hav 4 rejects 1 admit and 2 w8ng.
    on the day of visa interview i have the same data 4 rej 1 admit and 2 w8ng will VO object bcoz of having only 1 admit and says y cant u wait for those 2 univ?
    then can i say him that sir i dont have much time to w8……………

  6. Raman on March 25, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    One of the high rated post in the recent days. I am done with some hackenyed stuff these days..come on hsb, we need something useful…

    • HSB on March 26, 2012 at 7:17 AM

      So, interview from Visa offer is not useful for you, I’m not sure what other stuff will be useful.

  7. munna on March 24, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    One thing missing in this blog is that visa officers are trained to grant visa to those people who bring financial or other benefits to the american society. Remember-those students who have lot of money and good financial background in india will come back or they will spend money in US and they are granted visa instantly. Any student or professional such as IIT/IIM caliber amounts to brain drain and is welcome in USA. The problem happens when not so bright and not so rich students going to US. suppose some venkata university, preparing visa applications thru consultants which provide fake bank accounts. they know that they will hang on there-either thru some desi consultancy/gas station etc work illegally to recover the costs. about 15-20 years back, only students from premier institutes manage to get US visa. nowadays there is financial pressure-US earns 20 billion dollars yearly from foreign students. because of this compulsion, they fix up a target that how many students will be given visa. note that girls given visa very easily.My advice is to be realistic in your dreams, make sure you know what you will do after finishing MS in USA and avoid doing Ph.D. or post doc in USA.

  8. Raj on March 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Seems like consulate is trying to deal with some of the accusations that it faces by the general public by making it seem they are doing their best and trying to give itself a human face.
    It seems the blog was written in a way to try to tell the reader that they always do the right thing and it almost seems like they are trying to justify the position they take.
    I would have liked to see how they address issues where someone who has spent all this money and time to get a visa can get it denied when another person using the same documents, exact same situation can get theirs approved. I would have liked this lady to address issues of how they make someone trying to get a visa like a criminal the moment they step into the embassy. Saying that “If you are a student, we expect you to be credible and qualified” is a circular argument and could be turned around on her by the student saying “if you a VO we expect you to be able to use better judgement”. We all know many people who had fake documents but were able to get their visas whereas people who were credible got theirs denied. Please Madam VO define what “credible” and “qualified” is in your dictionary?
    In a system that is so random as this all question of credibility and being qualified do not really apply. Unfortunately the VO will never be able to say what exactly they are looking for because the system is subjective and not objective.
    The blog written by the VO seems pretty patronizing and almost like they assume the audience to be not very bright. But then again it is not for an American audience so they are bound to make that assumption about the reader.

  9. Paroma on March 24, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Very very helpful post HSB. Thanks a lot ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Uday on March 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    You still don’t get it, our Lord Ech-Ess-Bee. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Ensure that you’ve had a cup of tea/coffee and then read the below carefully :

    “The dumbness of the question was not questioned by us (primarily) but its existence as a post in the form you presented was what made us feel distraught”

    Adios

    • HSB on March 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      Alright. Got your message. ๐Ÿ™‚

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