Many students who visit US Embassies report varying outcomes from their Visa Interview. On a given day, in the same embassy, two persons, one with a solid financial structure, the other with some contrived documents, approach the same counselor seeking a student visa. The well grounded person is denied, but the imposter gets a five-year student visa.
It happens all the time and everywhere. Why? It is an inexact science. The counselor is making a subjective decision based on some cues that he is trained to observe. It is those subjective nuances that can affect your outcome, and we will attempt to address them here.
The visa interview is two human beings interacting with each other face to face. Therefore, human factors will intervene regardless of the presence or absence of objective criteria. So how do you combat that? Simple, apply what you know about basic human behavior. Use your interpersonal skills to your advantage.
How You Look …
First thing is appearance. Dress neatly but not in a pretentious fashion. Don’t wear too much makeup; don’t wear an earring if you are male; don’t wear large or multiple earrings if you are female; don’t have an exotic hairstyle; don’t use artificial hair color if that is obvious; don’t chew gum; don’t wear revealing clothing. These are just some of the obvious things that can hurt your case. What are the positives?
How You Say, What You Say …
Speak clearly! If you have an accent or are not 100% comfortable in English, speak slowly. Answer questions politely in short sentences. Add information for clarification but do not argue. If things appear to be going badly, then listen to the counselor’s concerns.
It is better to address those concerns and return a few days later, rather than get an outright denial from trying to argue. If he is expressing doubts, unless you have the items that can clarify or satisfy his doubt, you are better advised to return another day better armed. Often, you will get that chance to correct the problem without paying another fee.
Likability is the key. If a person likes you, there is a greater chance he will give you a positive result. Smile, be pleasant, explain yourself clearly, provide answers in a non-combative tone, and be ready to think quickly on your feet.
The 214 B Reality…
Section 214(b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It states:
Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a non immigrant status…
Normally if you are denied a Student Visa the consular officer might say something like:
“Your visa application is refused. You are not qualified under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”
The 214 B reality is there. You might have to answer some hypothetical questions about your intentions that could get you in trouble. Remember the burden of proof that you must withstand and answer those questions to the best of your ability in that light.
If you are really an intended immigrant or plans to remain in the USA, then legally you do not qualify for a student visa. The reality is that a significant percentage of prospective international students, particularly from the developing world are in fact intended immigrants–meaning they have no intentions of returning home after their studies.
Most counselors and their bosses know that. Telling the truth would not per se disqualify you from getting the visa if everything else is in order—especially if your proposed field of study is something that will benefit the USA. So in reality, even the 214 B burden might be overcome with an honest answer.
The key issue remaining, therefore, is are you a legitimate student likely to complete this degree in the time frame allowed? If yes, and if the funding is there, the visa will likely be there also, and you are on your way to studying in the United States.
Many perceive this topic of Student Visa to be complex because of rumors and anecdotes that are in circulation.Never buy into rumors and hearsay. When in doubt use your best judgment based on facts you have gathered from reputable sources.