Interview Tips

Here are some interviewing techniques suggested by NAFSA: Association of International Educators:

  1. Be brief – It is important to understand that interviews are typically about five minutes in length; because of this, it is best to keep answers and explanations short and to the point.
  2. Speak in English – Practice interviewing in English with a native English speaker – being fluent and confident will help present the case. However, avoid preparing a speech.
  3. Speak for yourself – Make the case independently. Having parents or others speak on a student’s behalf does not make a good impression on the consular officer.
  4. Be positive – Do not argue with the consular officer or come across as rude and sarcastic, even if the visa application is denied.
  5. If the visa application is denied, please review this page for guidance.

Showing Ties to Home Country

Occasionally students have been denied visas due to the consular officer not being sufficiently convinced of the students’ intentions to return to their home country after completing their studies.

This is based on 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 nonimmigrant status…”

This means that international students must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, a “permanent residence” or “strong ties” to his or her home country, illustrating that they do not intend to immigrate or obtain residency/citizenship in the US.  Fortunately, a visa denial is not permanent and can be reversed, if the student can show new, irrefutable evidence.

Here are some tips to demonstrate strong ties to home country:

  • Convince the consular officer that the sole (not just “primary”) purpose of the visit to the US is to pursue a program of study
  • Outline post-graduation plans upon returning to home country
  • Document family ties, business interests and assets in home country
  • Discuss job prospects in home country upon completion of US education