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A checklist for US student visa interviews

By Dr Arun C Vakil
June 15, 2005 16:57 IST
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Here is a checklist by United States Visa & Immigrant Consultant Dr Arun C Vakil to increase your probability of getting a student visa at the first attempt and avoid rejection.

Visit a US Visa Application Centre with the following:

1. A passport valid for minimum six months beyond the visit.

2. Two photocopies of the first page and one photocopy of the last page of your passport. A copy of the passport pages containing observations or remarks.

3. A fully completed and signed visa application form. Each applicant aged 14 or above must sign his/ her own application form.

4. A 2 x 2-inch photograph which is not more than six months old. If you do not send your photo according to the required specification, your application will be considered incomplete.

The Application Centre will retain your original visa application form and return your passport.

Here are some steps you can take:

i. Please schedule your visa appointment after paying the fees.

ii. Fill the visa application forms DS-156, 157 (if applicable) and 158 very carefully. Each question box should be answered in complete details. No vague replies please.

iii. Arrange your papers in a file with each paper in separate plastic folder with a sticker or post-it indicating what paper it is for easy retrieval.

iv. Practise managing the file with one hand. Your hand will be occupied holding the telephone receiver from which you may have to speak with the Visa Officer.

The order of papers recommended:

  • Appointment notice along with receipt of fees paid
  • I-901 form indicating SEVIS fee paid
  • Passport in original
  • I-20 SEVIS approved form
  • Letter of admission from US university
  • Entrance test scores (whatever applicable)
  • Latest marksheets/ degree certificate obtained in India
  • Statement of future plan in India
  • Financial statement of self and family showing all assets
  • Evidence of income-tax paid over the last three years
  • Bank transactions of your family over the last three years (passbook, not statement)
  • Form I-134, if your US sponsor is involved with his/ her financial papers
  • Letter from the Indian company if willing to give you job on your return
  • Evidence of certificate of marriage, if applicable
  • Evidence of certificates of birth of children, if applicable

The above documents are recommended (not suggested by US Immigration Laws) based on individual cases. 

They must be shown only if asked during your visa interview. The objective of this important exercise is to overcome the presumption that you are an intending immigrant to America under Section 214 (B), and prove that you will come back after your studies, based on your financial and social ties and family circumstance.

While speaking with the visa officer

Speak with confidence.

Be honest.

Be to the point.


Be well-groomed.


All you wanted to know about US student visas

Dr Arun C Vakil is an expert on visa regulations for the US. He holds an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles and Ph D from the University of Wyoming, Laramie. He is the author of Gateway to America, and conducts orientation courses for students going to the US.

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Dr Arun C Vakil