One of our readers Amir Shah shared his F1 Visa stamping experience with us. Thanks to Amir ! You can share your experiences here
Background – F1 Visa to attend University of Houston for MS – Computer Science
I gave my F-1 visa interview at Islamabad embassy for going to University of Houston for MS in Computer Science. I visited USA twice on a visitor visa before applying for F-1. I had high hopes of getting the visa despite having recently heard of a visa rejection case of a student going to Yale on scholarship near my home. After 2-3 queues I reached the embassy and joined the last queue outside the embassy. In this queue there were only F-1, J-1, Green card, H-1B, etc. visa applicants but no tourist visa applicants. I would say about 100 people were there. My interview took place in June 2007. There were some students ahead of me, whose visas were rejected in 5 minutes and that sank my heart. A catholic nun was also rejected in front of me. I knew these people as we were chatting with each other while in the line outside the embassy. I wasn’t able to hear anything but financial credentials seem to be of major interest to VOs. I was not asked a single question regarding my education/percentage/scores. I was happy and confident that day but I must admit I was also scared on the inside as I had spent considerable amount of money by that time. My interview lasted around 20 minutes and following is the conversation I remember from that day:
F1 Visa Interview Questions – Visa Office (VO)
VO: When will you graduate?
Me: Next month.
VO: Who is sponsoring you?
Me: My brother?
VO: Where does he live?
Me: He lives in Dallas,Texas.
VO: Do you have his financial information?
Me: Yes. (Gave his pay stubs, bank statements and investment portfolio papers).
VO: (Typed continuously on computer and then asked) What is the status of your brother?
Me: He is a US citizen. (And gave his original naturalization certificate.)
VO: Have you ever applied for immigrant visa?
VO: (She took a close look at the certificate and then continued to type).
Me: (My heart was beating faster. I gave her a financial responsibility letter from my brother.)
VO: (She read the complete letter and then typed a bit more) Is your brother married?
VO: How many children he has?
VO: What are their ages?
Me: Oldest is about five years, next one is 3 years and the youngest is about 6 months.
VO: Can your brother support you since he also has a family to be responsible for?
Me: I have another brother in New York, another one is a doctor in UK and my sister’s family has good business in Saudi Arabia so they will also fund my education.
VO: Which universities did you applied?
Me: University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Tech University, University of Houston, University of Texas at Dallas. (I was taking more names but she stopped me.)
VO: Why have you applied to universities in this region? Because you will be closer to your brother and he can help you?
Me: No, because this region has warm climate and it will be easier for me to adjust.
VO: I am issuing you a visa, it will be mailed in two weeks.
Me: Thank you very much.
In my humble opinion, wearing a smile and confidence helps a lot. Confidence comes from preparation so prepare as much as you can and find out as much as you can about the whole process. Know what documents might be needed, know what shortcomings you have and have clear answers. For example if you failed a course or have poor percentage, be prepared to explain. A great deal of decision is made before one gets interviewed and it is based upon the information provided in the application forms and supporting documents so those forms are very important. Last but not the least, if you don’t get the visa, don’t take it as a personal failure. May be it is good for you in the long run.
You can also check out more F1 Visa stamping experiences