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Before the interview

Here’s how to sail through your US visa interview

education Updated: Jul 28, 2010 11:57 IST
Hindustan Times

Here’s a ready reckoner on how you should be handling your interview for the US visa.

Don’t refer to what’s already there on the university’s website. For example while praising the university of Miami, you shouldn’t say that it is located on a scenic island. Talk about your academic goal, and the reason of choosing that programme and university.

Don’t pile officials with documents. They are more interested in you and not in the documents.

Don’ talk too much. You normally have two-four minutes to talk about yourself.

Don’t conceal the fact that you would need to take a study loan to go to the States. Most of the students take financial help of some kind.

Apply at least 120 days in advance before your reporting date. In case, parents also want to go with the students, so they must apply much before the scheduled departure.

Most of the visa applications are rejected on the grounds of the applicant’s apparent intentions to settle there. For example, if you are already a commerce graduate, and wish to go there to study BBA, then it’s difficult to justify the reason. Similarly, if you are already an MBA from a not-so-good B-school here, it is not easy to justify your intention of pursuing a second MBA from the States. It does lead to raised eyebrows

If you plan to work part time in America during your studies, don’t lay too much emphasis on that at the time of the interview. All such queries must be sent to the campus administrators and not the visa officers.

If you dropped a year after school, then your case becomes a bit complicated as the CV is expected to flow smoothly. Having said that, every application is decided from case to case basis. No thumb rules can be applied here.

Most of the universities admit students during fall. But around 20-25 per cent of the admissions take place during spring intake too in some universities.

If you have got a call from a premier university such as the University of Pennsylvania, then you don’t need to carry too many documents to make your case stronger. The university speaks for itself. Having said that, it won’t do you any harm to carry the bank statement along, but don’t compel the visa officer to read it.

If you are going for research in a university, you must substantiate your case by showing your research work – anything which has been published in a reputable journal.

It is a misconception that your recent visit to a troubled state such as Lahore or Karachi, can jeopardise your visa application. Every visit is talked about, even if it is Mexico or Russia, but it will not have any bearing on the fate of your proposed visit to America.

The tips were gleaned from a question and answer session organised at the American Center, Delhi. The queries were answered by a US visa officer and Renuka Raja Rao, country coordinator, USIEF (United States India Educational Foundation)

First Published: Jul 28, 2010 11:55 IST