An interview with a U.S. consular officer is required in order to grant a student visa. Because F-1 and J-1 statuses are both nonimmigrant classifications, you must establish that you do not intend to immigrate to the United States and that you have a residence in a country outside the United States to which you will return.
All applicants are presumed to have immigrant intent until the consular officer establishes that they qualify for nonimmigrant status. The burden of proof is on the applicant, so being prepared for the interview is extremely important. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare:
Interviews are quick. Consular officers are under considerable time pressure. What you say first and the initial impression you create are most critical to your success.
Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English. If English is not your native language, practice English conversation, preferably with a native speaker, before the interview. However, it is important to note that you should not have a prepared speech or conversation.
Be friendly and courteous to the consular officer and try to appear confident.
Your answers to the officer's questions should be in brief, complete sentences. Listen carefully and be sure that you understand the question. If you are not absolutely sure you understood the question fully, ask the officer to please repeat the question.
Be organized. You should have your supporting documentation in a logical order ready for presentation without fumbling through it.
Do not bring parents or siblings with you to the interview. This will allow you to focus on your interview.
Be prepared to explain what you expect to gain from a U.S. educational experience and what you anticipate doing once you return to your home country after graduation.
While many students do work off-campus during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their U.S. education. Students must be careful in discussing employment or career prospects with the consular officer.
If you are subject to mandatory military service in your home country, be prepared to explain that you intend to meet this requirement.