F1 Visa Interview — Step by Step guide

Arpit Jain
5 min readJun 30, 2018


Visa interviews are all about confidence and preparation, and here’s a step by step guide to your F1 Visa Interview. If you want to know about the Biometrics process, click here. To read my Visa interview experience, click here. If you are just looking for the sample Visa questions, click here.

Step 0. Apply for the interview :P

Step 1. Gather relevant documents

  • Mandatory Documents:
  1. Passport (Current & Old)
  2. I-20 Document
  3. SEVIS I-901 Payment Confirmation
  4. DS 160 Confirmation (The one stamped during your biometrics)
  5. Visa Appointment Confirmation
  6. Visa Payment Receipt (Only if you have any from over the counter payment. Not mandatory, as MVR fee payment details are already printed on the Visa appointment confirmation page.)
  • Supporting Documents:
  1. GRE and TOEFL score cards.
  2. Decision letters from all universities (including rejects).
  3. Affidavit of support by your sponsors (not required if parents’ are the sponsors).
  4. Proof of employment — Yours (if working) as well as your sponsors’: An authorised letter by the employer confirming the given person is an employee at their organisation.
  5. Salary slips of last 6 months — Yours (if working) as well as your sponsors’.
  6. Income Tax Returns of last 2 years — Yours (if working) as well as your sponsors’.
  7. Education loan sanction letter (if applicable).
  8. Bank Balance Statement(s) for your and your sponsors’ accounts: Authorised letter stating the total amount you have in savings account, Fixed Deposits, Recurring Deposits, etc. with the bank. Preferable to mention the total in INR as well as USD.
  9. Original Passbook/Attested Transaction Statement of last 6 months — Yours (if fully/partially sponsoring yourself) as well as your sponsors’.
  10. Duly attested papers related to remaining of your funds — land, gold, insurance policies, etc.
  11. Original UG Degree Certificate and Transcript (preferred). Duly attested, if carrying a copy.
  12. 10th and 12th Passing Certificates and ScoreCards (preferred). Duly attested, if carrying a copy.
  13. SOP and Resume
  • Miscellaneous Documents: (Up to you, I didn’t carry any of these.)
  1. Consolidated financial statement by CA
  2. Gold Valuation Certificate
  3. Land Valuation Certificate

Step 2. Prepare your answers

Don’t end up like this :P
  • Join Visa interview groups over WhatsApp and Facebook.
  • Read others’ interview experiences. (here’s mine)
  • Prepare a question bank from others’ experiences. Here is a sample question bank which I followed, but I would strongly recommend not to stick to it; keep exploring and appending.
  • Finish the initial draft of your answers at least 1–2 weeks before the actual interview (Do not procrastinate :P)
  • Answers should be firm, precise and definitive.
  • All your answers should convey a common response, and must not contradict each other.
  • For example, Q1. Why quitting your job and doing masters now? Q2. What will be you doing after your master? — The answers to these questions can be; A1. You are doing masters as it will help you in achieving your career goals, and mention a brief summary of your career goals. A2. You will be working towards achieving your career goals (as mentioned in A1) post your master.

Step 3. Review, Mocks, Relax

Practice makes you perfect
  • Get your answers reviewed by seniors, peers, etc. who are done with their Visa interviews.
  • Ask your reviewers to conduct few mocks.
  • At max have 2–3 mocks, not more.
  • If mocks are not possible, practice your answers in front of a mirror.
  • Post your queries in WhatsApp/FB groups to get feedback of a larger audience
  • Do not stress yourself.

Step 4. All set for tomorrow

  • Cross verify all your documents with the above mentioned list.
  • If you haven’t arranged your documents in the harmonium folder, NOW IS THE TIME. :P (Believe me, it’s a time consuming and cumbersome task.)
  • Read up your answers once again and practice them one last time.
  • Enough for the day, sleep well and all the best for tomorrow :)
  • Mentioning again, do not stress yourself.

NOTE: I am skipping the biometrics part in this article. You may read it here.

Step 5. D-Day is here

Lets do this
  • Key notes:
  1. Dress up nicely, prefer formals.
  2. Reach consulate at least 45–60 minutes before your interview slot.
  3. Must carry 500–700 INR in cash with you.
  4. Carrying mobile, watch, wallets, keys, etc. varies from consulate to consulate and locker facility is not available everywhere; so prefer leaving them at your room itself. (That’s what I did)
  5. Join the correct queue outside the consulate :P Ask the security personnel instead of assuming things by yourself.
  6. Be very confident, do no panic and stay calm.
  7. Do not be bothered by hoaxes. Keep in mind that all the consulates are the same and it’s only your preparation that matters.
  • Detailed Interview process (Start to End):
  1. You will be allowed to enter the consulate only 10–15 minutes before your slot.
  2. The sticker on your passport (from biometrics day) contains all the relevant details of your interview, and will be scanned/used everywhere till you reach the interview counter.
  3. Once you enter, metal detection and security check will happen, and your belongings will be passed through X-Ray security scanner. On a side note, belts are allowed but they might ask you to remove it once during the security check :P
  4. The procedure inside the consulate is very smooth and hassle free, and the staff will guide you well.
  5. After checking your passport sticker again, you will now be directed to the Visa lobby.
  6. First, your finger prints will be verified on a counter and then you will be asked to join the interview queue.
  7. Your passport sticker will be checked while joining the interview queue, and you will be told to keep your I-20 and SEVIS receipt handy. (Being an eager beaver maniac, I also took out my DS-160 confirmation and Visa appointment confirmation, which was never used :P)
  8. If you were not nervous till now, this is a potential breaking point. ;) The on going interviews will be happening right next to this queue, and you might overhear some of them (loud candidate or interviewer).
  9. Try to keep your mind off the interviews. Look around, put a song on loop in your mind, watch the on-going clips on various TV screens, etc. :P
  10. When your turn comes, the staff will randomly send you to a counter.
  11. You will now join the waiting queue in front of your counter. This queue will have at max 2 people waiting at any time. You will certainly get to listen the on-going interview on your counter. Don’t panic and stay calm.
  12. And at the end of all this, will come your interview :) Wish yourself luck, be confident and crack it easy.
This is how it looks. Ah, and you will be standing during your interview.

I hope this article helps you with your Visa interview process. Please ping me for any suggestions/feedback, will try to incorporate them. All the best, do well :)



Arpit Jain

Scalability & Big Data Enthusiast | Microsoft | Sumo Logic | UW Madison | Myntra | IIT Guwahati