• Alex Carlon

A Guide to the Student Visa Application Process: Preparing for the Visa Interview

Updated: Jun 30

This blog post is the third in a series about applying for your student visa. To read the previous post, Preparing to Fill Out the DS-160, click here.


After completing the DS-160, the next step in the visa application process is to schedule and prepare for an interview, where an immigration official will decide if you meet the qualifications for a student visa. For this stage of the application, It’s important to bring the necessary documents and prepare answers for frequently asked questions.

The first steps to completing your student visa interview are determining wait times and scheduling a date for your appointment. In doing so, it is important to give yourself adequate time to prepare responses to the interviewer’s questions and to practice your English skills as that is the language in which you’ll be interviewed. Below are the steps to determining wait times and scheduling your visa interview.


1. Determining wait times

  • To view the wait time for visa application appointments, visit this website and type in the city where your country’s U.S. embassy is located. View the box that says “Student/Exchange Visitor Visas” to determine the wait time for your appointment.


2. Scheduling your visa interview

  • Find the website of the United States embassy/consulate closest to you here

  • Navigate to the “non-immigrant visas” section of the embassy/consulate website

  • Navigate to the appointment scheduling page and select a time most convenient for you

At your visa interview, you will be asked to present a series of documents for the interviewer to review while deciding your visa eligibility. You must come prepared with as much information as possible to give the interviewer a clear picture of your academic and financial backgrounds. Below are two lists of documents that you should bring to your visa interview.


What to bring (required):

  • Passport (valid for at least 6 months after you plan to enter the USA)

  • Two passport photos

  • Printed DS-160 confirmation page

  • Receipt of application fee payment

  • Receipt of SEVIS fee payment

  • I-20 form


What to bring (things they may ask for):

  • College acceptance letter

  • Documents that display academic readiness (transcripts, etc.)

  • Standardized test scores, TOEFL scores

  • Proof that your family can pay for university (scholarship/financial aid info, letters from parent employer, bank statements, etc.)

The last step to preparing for your visa interview is practicing your responses. During the interview, you will be asked about your reasons for wanting to study in the U.S., and about what you plan to do with your education once you return to your home country. It is important to have clear, concise answers to these questions to show the interviewer that you’ve put time into planning your U.S. study. Here are a few “dos and don’ts” to keep in mind while preparing for your visa interview.


Do: Show the interviewer that you understand the cost of living in the United States. You could do this by presenting a document with your anticipated expenses and proof of how you will finance them all.


Don’t: Seem uncertain about your intentions to return to your home country. Make it clear that you plan to return home and use your skills from college to pursue a career.


Do: Be prepared to tell your interview all of the schools that you applied to, and why you chose the school you plan to attend.


Don’t: Appear as though you are not taking the interview seriously. Dress professionally, speak politely with your interviewer, and come with your documents nicely organized.


Do: Be concise and well-prepared to answer questions. Visa interviews often last less than thirty minutes, so it is important to fit in all of your talking points in that time frame.


Don’t: Cause the interviewer to question your English proficiency. Practice what you are going to say and how you are going to say it to give the interviewer confidence that you can succeed in English courses.


To learn more about each of these steps and gain access to EdAgree’s comprehensive visa application guide, complete the survey linked here.