Visa Tips

Many students get nervous when they go to the US Embassy or Consulate for their interview.  We want to give you some tips to improve your chances of success at the interview.  Study in the States has an excellent guide on How to Prepare for Your Visa Appointment and we have added some of our ideas below.

We cannot guarantee that your student visa will be approved, but the following tips will help you prepare for the interview, and give you a better chance of success in your visa interview:

Review your documents
  • Check your I-20 Form for accuracy
    • Is your name spelled correctly on the I-20 and does it match the name in your passport?
    • Is your date of birth correct?
    • Is the program information, reporting dates, and financial information correct?
    • Is the signature of the Designated School Official, found on line 10 of the I-20 in blue ink?   
  • Check to make sure you have every document you need for the interview (application form, I-20 form, financial support documents, recommendation letters, academic records from your school, receipt from your SEVIS fee payment, and additional materials you plan to use when you see the visa officer).
  • Make sure what information you have is clear, clean, accurate, organized, and complete.
Prepare for the interview

The visa officer at the US Embassy or Consulate has just 2-3 minutes to decide if you really plan to study in the United States as a student, and that you have plans to return to your home country once you have completed your program.

You must show to the visa officer that you do not plan to stay in the U.S. permanently and that your only reason to go to the U.S. is to be a full-time student

Some suggestions:
  • Establish ties to your home country
    • People with strong family and financial ties to their home country are more likely to return. 
  • Review your financial support
    • Make sure you are familiar with the financial documents in your application.  If your parents or other family members are your financial sponsors, they may have kept some of those documents private.   They need to show you all the financial information so you can answer any questions the visa officer might have about your finances.
  • Review your academic and career plans
    • Think about your long-term career plans and how your study plans in the US will fulfill them. The visa officer will want to know that you have thought about why you want to study in the United States, what your major will be, and how CCS will fulfill those goals.  Complete the following forms to better prepare for the interview:
  • Show that you are familiar with CCS and it's programs
    • Research CCS, Spokane, and the region.  The more you know about us, the better your interview will be.
  • Take the TOEFL, IELTS, SAT or ACT and provide letters of support from your teachers, counselors, bosses, and co-workers.
  • Dress in business-like attire and have a good nights rest the night before.
  • Do not prepare a speech before you go.
During the Interview
  • Smile and greet the officer
  • Be polite and do not argue with the officer
  • Answer all questions, and if you don't understand something or need them to repeat the question, ask.
  • Speak in English when possible.  The visa officer will be asking questions in English and they will want you to speak in English.
  • Answer honestly--do not lie or hide information.  If the officer believes you have lied about something, you will not get your visa.
For additional information, consider the following article put out by NAFSA, the Association of International Educators with the input of the US Department of State: Ten Points to Remember when Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa.

The International Student’s Guide (Getting a Student Visa) also helps prospective students understand who needs to get a student visa.