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Student visa: be genuine, that’s the unsaid norm

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We know how eager students are to study in the universities or colleges of United States, but the visa interview makes them nervous. So here are three helpful suggestions from our consular officers to help you join the league of more than 100,000 Indian students currently studying at several universities across the United States.

Apply early

Summer is a very busy time for the consulate, and getting an appointment can take time.

Don’t risk being late to your university and missing the start date by leaving your visa application to the last minute.

Students can apply up to 120 days prior to the start date listed on their I-20 form, so once you have your I-20 in hand, apply right away at www.ustraveldocs.com/in. Note, however, that you cannot travel more than 30 days prior to the start date on the visa.

If you cannot find an appointment at one consulate, then you are welcome to apply at any other consulate or the Embassy in New Delhi. It is better to apply early out of station than to wait until the last minute.

Prepare for interview

Most consular officers don’t ask for documents in the interview.

So it’s best not to rely on papers. Instead, we want to have a conversation that helps us understand if you are a credible student who can afford your programme.

On the day of your interview, don’t be surprised at how short the length of your interview is – perhaps only a couple minutes.

It is very important to be prepared, honest, and confident. (Consider practicing with your family, or in front of a mirror.)

Be ready to discuss your chosen institution and course of study, your academic background and career goals, and how your programme will be financed, in your own words.

Officers are wary of ‘canned answers’ (‘The university was founded in 1835, all its professors have PhDs…’) that do not reveal a student’s true reasoning behind this important life decision.

No need of agents

You don’t need a visa agent or coach. Genuine students have studied hard and gained admission to U.S. universities or colleges on their own academic merits – not because an agent or coach helped them.

If you are smart enough to study in the United States, you are smart enough to fill out your own visa application and to explain to a consular officer why going to the U.S. fits in with your career goals.

You don’t need to pay a visa consultant or agent as it would not help in any way to pass the interview.

They can’t guarantee you a visa and, in our process, we believe that genuine students don’t need their services.

That said, there are a number of resources available to you, including the U.S.-India Educational Foundation (www.usief.org.in) that can help you in your search for a U.S. university.


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