Be Prepared

The consular interview is an important step in the process of receiving a visa. Often, the initial impression a consular interviewer receives from you is critical to your success. Reviewing the tips provided below may help you during your consular interview.

Keep your answers concise. Be honest in everything you write on your visa application and say during the interview. Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English. Do not bring other people to speak on your behalf.

Be able to explain the reasons you want to study in the U.S. and remember that your main reason for coming to the United States is to study, not to work.

If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your home country, be prepared to explain how they will support themselves in your absence. If they are accompanying you to the U.S., what are the financial arrangements?

As a temporary visitor you may be questioned about your intention to return your home country after completing your studies. You should be ready to provide evidence that you do not intend to emigrate to the U.S. and that you intend to return to your home country after completing your studies. Examples of evidence include proof that you or your parents own an apartment or house, a bank account, a voter registration card.

If you are denied the visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring the next time you apply, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing. Maintain a positive attitude! Do not engage the consular officer in an argument.

International students should apply for the visa in their home country, unless circumstances or travel plans make this impossible. If the student applies in a third country, the application may take more time and be reviewed more critically than if it was applied for at home. The U.S. Department of State maintains an authoritative website on the visa application process and should be studied carefully. The information below provides a brief summary.

Required Documentation

  1. The certificate of eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019).
  2. Complete the visa application form and pay the visa fee, if applicable. (Please note that Canadian citizens are not required to have a US visa) The basic US visa application is form DS-156; some F-1 and J-1 applicants may be required to complete additional forms (DS-157 and/or DS-158). Although forms are available at every US consulate, you may choose to access them online and print them out to take with you to the consulate. Please visit the U.S. Department of State for non immigrant visa applications.
  3. Receipt for payment of the I-901 SEVIS fee, if applicable. The SEVIS fee may be paid online or by mail. Visit the SEVIS payment page for more information.
  4. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the U.S.
  5. You will need a 2" x 2" photograph with your head centered in the frame.
  6. Letter of admission from Rutgers University.
  7. Financial evidence detailing source and amount of funding as listed on Form I-20 or DS-2019.
  8. Consular and immigration officers exercise considerable discretion in determining whether financial support exists and is sufficient to cover your entire period of stay. Prepare documentation that is thorough, consistent, credible and varied.
  9. Official academic transcripts, confirmation of enrollment, and proof of English language proficiency may also be requested.
  10. Evidence of continuing ties to your home country (i.e. family, career, or property).
  11. Visa applicants are presumed to be "intending immigrants." Your visa will be denied unless you satisfy the consular officer that you will return home. Unfortunately, there is no single explanation, document, or letter than can guarantee visa issuance.

Tips for obtaining a visa
Apply for the visa in a timely manner. Consult the embassy or consulate, where you will apply to see their wait times, here.
If students are denied the visa, they should ask the visa officer the reason for their denial and then consult with an international advisor in OIS.