If the primary purpose of your visit to the U.S. is to study, then you should apply for an F-1 student visa. An F-1 visa is issued by the U.S. government to non-immigrant students for the purpose of studying in the U.S.
It is important to remember that applying early and providing the requested documents does not guarantee that the student will receive a visa. Each student's personal and academic situation is different. Two students applying for same visa may be asked different questions and be required to submit different documents. The guidelines and instructions given on our website are general, and requirements may vary from one US embassy or consulate to another.
The Right Attitude - In addition to providing the right documents and having the right reasons, making the right impression on the consular officer is equally important in the visa application process. Here are some interviewing techniques suggested by NAFSA:
Speak in English - Practice interviewing in English with a native English speaker. Being fluent and confident will help you present your case better. However, avoid preparing a speech.
Speak for yourself - Make your case by yourself. Having your parents or others speak on your behalf does not make a good impression on the consular officer.
Be brief - Keep your answers and explanations short and to the point, as consular officers can generally only spend a few minutes with each applicant.
Be positive - Do not argue with the consular officer or come across as rude and sarcastic; even if you are denied a visa. Instead politely ask the officer to suggest additional documents you can bring in order to overcome the visa denial.
Occasionally students are denied the visa. The most common cause for this is because the consular officer is not sufficiently convinced of the student's intentions to return to his/her native country after completing their studies. Lately, there have been reports in the press about a relatively high number of Chinese student visa denials. The American Embassy in China has responded by demystifying the student visa application process and providing students with tips and information on applying successfully for a visa.
Most students are denied visas on the basis of Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that states: "Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a non-immigrant status..." This essentially means that the onus is on the student to prove beyond doubt their "permanent residence" in or "strong ties" to their home country. Fortunately, a visa denial is not permanent and can be reversed if the student can show new, incontrovertible evidence.
Some tips on how to demonstrate your intentions to return to your native country:
- Convince the consular officer that the sole (not just "primary") purpose of your visit to the US is to pursue a program of study
- Outline your plans for when you will complete your education and return to your country
- Document family ties, business interests, and assets in your home country
- Discuss your job prospects in your native country upon completion of your US education
Despite your authentic intentions, if you are still denied a student visa, do not argue with the consular officer. Most often, you will be given a note that explains why your request has been denied. Politely inquire from the officer how you can improve your chances the next time and what documentation you should provide to reverse the denial. Thank the officer and take down his/her name for future reference. Then conduct a thorough re-evaluation of your case and contact your international student advisor for assistance.