Applying for Your Student Visa
As you apply for admission to Liberty University, an integral step in the process is applying for your student visa, as it allows you to legally study in the United States. We have compiled some helpful information for you to utilize as you are going through this process. Please take a look at the steps outlined below, or download our visa preparation PDF.
Step 1: Pay SEVIS Fee
F-1 visa applicants entering the U.S. for the first time must complete the SEVIS Form I-901 and pay the SEVIS fee before their visa appointment. Fill in your name exactly as it appears on your I -20. After paying, print a copy of the online receipt.
Step 2: Make Your Visa Appointment Early
Follow the instructions found on the U.S. Embassy/Consulate website. After you receive your I-20, follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate instructions to schedule your visa interview appointment. Apply as far in advance as possible.
Step 3: Pay the Visa Application Fee
Follow the instructions found on the U.S. Embassy/Consulate website.
Step 4: Complete the Visa Form
Form DS-160*: Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application
Step 5: Gather Documents
Gather these documents for your interview:
- A passport valid for at least six months into the future
- Transcripts and test scores
- I-20 with your signature
- Liberty University admission letter
- SEVIS fee receipt
- Visa application fee receipt
- Confirmation page from your DS-160 visa application
- Two 2”x 2” photographs in the prescribed format on your local embassy’s website
- Original bank statements
- Affidavit of Support showing sufficient funds to cover your expenses as listed on I-20
- It is very important that in addition to the Affidavit of Support that you be able to produce documents proving a source of income (i.e. your sponsor’s bank statements and letters from the bank), which are more important than the actual Affidavit of Support
- Documents that prove you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the U.S., which may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community
- Confirm with appropriate U.S. Embassy/Consulate that you have prepared all required documents
Step 6: Prepare for the Visa Interview
- Interview generally lasts only 2-3 minutes
- Under U.S. law, all nonimmigrant visa applicants are viewed as intending immigrants unless they convince the Consular Officer otherwise
- You must show your reasons for returning to your home country following your studies
- Be prepared to use English and speak for yourself
- Be ready to answer questions about Liberty University and your specific degree program
- You must know about Liberty University and be able to briefly explain why you chose to attend Liberty
- Here are some Liberty Facts to help you prepare
- Answer all of the Officer’s questions concisely and honestly
- Be able to explain how studying in the U.S. relates to your future career plans
- Know that lengthy supplemental documents cannot be quickly read or evaluated
- People from certain countries and those studying certain technology majors may experience processing delays due to security background checks
- Remember that the purpose of a student visa is to study and return home, not to work in the U.S.
- Be prepared to address how your dependents, if any, will support themselves in your absence
- Keep a positive attitude, and if denied, understand the reason why and what to do the next time
- See further details on preparing for your visa interview in the “Student Visa Application Tips” section below
Step 7: Attend Visa Interview
Arrive early and remain calm.
- Special situations, such as transferring between U.S. schools or applying for a dependent visa, may not require paying the SEVIS fee. Check with the U.S. Department of State for details.
- F-1 students who are not required to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. must still pay the SEVIS fee. An example of this is a Canadian citizen.
- For additional information on bringing dependents to the U.S., returning to the U.S. to continue previous studies, or renewing your visa, refer to the U.S. Department of State website.
Student Visa Application
Show ties to home country.
Under U.S. law, all applicants for non-immigrant visas are viewed as trying to immigrate to the U.S., so you must be able to convince the consular officer that you are a legitimate student. Show that you have good reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. Examples might be a job in your home country, an inheritance, investments to look after, or family ties.
Expect the interview to be conducted in English and not in your native language. Practice answering interview questions in English.
Speak for yourself.
Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. The officer needs to know that you have a certain amount of confidence and self-sufficiency to succeed on your own in the United States. You must convince the officer that you can succeed.
Do not lie. Be honest and open.
Many times a student will be rejected for a student visa because they are not completely honest with the consular officer. It is very important to always tell the truth and give an honest answer to every question. Consular officers are trained to use various methods to find out if a person is lying in the interview. Just tell the truth.
Know your academic program, your school, and how they fit into your career plans.
Be ready to tell why you want to study in a particular program at Liberty. Be excited about your chosen major!
Your visa interview will be short. Visa officers are busy. Keep your answers short and to the point.
Organize your supplemental documentation.
You should make clear to the consular officer which written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Bring the envelope in which your documents were sent, as well as multiple bank statements from your sponsor, if possible.
Understand that not all countries are equal.
Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants have more difficulty getting visas.
Come to the U.S. to study.
Your main purpose of coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. If you mention working in the United States during your visa interview, you will probably not be given a visa.
Be prepared to address questions about your dependents.
If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your home country, be prepared to answer questions about how they will support themselves in your absence. If you cannot prove that your dependent(s) can support themselves without you sending them money, your visa may be denied.
Be positive and smile.
Don’t argue or have a bad attitude. If you are denied a visa, say, “May I read your reason for denial in writing?”
The earlier you apply for your Student Visa, the better your chances are of getting it.
If your Visa is denied, you must submit the official visa rejection documentation in order to have your $250 Enrollment Deposit refunded.
Please submit your documentation to email@example.com or fax it to (434)-522-0430.
- Dress professionally (Search “Interview Dressing” online when in doubt).
- Talk Confidently.
- Smile because it makes you and others feel good during the interview.
- Don’t panic.
- Organize all your documents in order. Don’t fumble when asked for documents.
- Use “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” and “Thank you” in the appropriate situations.
- Do not lie.
- Be Courteous.
- Be attentive.
- Don’t be in a hurry.
- If possible, sit down and watch how the other candidates are responding to their Interviews.
- Clarify things when in doubt.
- Don’t jump in line.
- Be friendly and courteous to your fellow attendees.
- If you are feeling too tense, ask the volunteers for a cup of water.
- Answer to the point, and elaborate only if asked to by the visa officer.
- Look at the visa officer in the eyes when you are being asked questions and when you respond.
- If possible, do not use the answers found on the web for the visa officer’s questions. Use the information you’ve found on the web as guidance, but don’t just repeat it for your answers (the officer has heard it many times) – use your intelligence.
- Never ever threaten the visa officers.
- Remember: U.S visa officers do not care what/who you are. If you try to show attitude, they will reject your visa. A visa is a privilege, not your right.
Possible Interview Questions
Practice your answers to each question before the interview. Have an adult sit behind a desk and ask you these questions.
Questions you might be asked at your interview:
- Which university awarded your diploma (if you are a college graduate)?
- What was your major in your undergrad (if you are a college graduate)?
- Why are you interested in this particular U.S. school?
- What is so special about the U.S. school/university you want to attend?
- How are you going to fund your education in the U.S.?
- What is the main motive for studying in the U.S.?
- What are your future plans?
- Do you want to return back?
- Why don’t you apply for good universities in your home country or other countries? Why only the U.S.?
- Do you have any relatives who study/reside in the U.S.?
- How interested are you in pursuing your higher education in the U.S.?
- What do you know about the U.S. school you are going to join?
- Why this particular school and this particular major?
- Are you expecting any funding from the U.S. school?
- Do you have sufficient finances to fund your education?
- Who will fund your education in the U.S. and why?
- Why are you joining such a costly university in the U.S.?
- How much of a loan are you taking for your education in the U.S.?
- Will you work in the U.S.?
- Will you settle in the U.S.?
- Do you have any relatives in the U.S.?
- What do you hope you will be doing 5 years from now?
- Do you know anybody in the school you are joining?
- What will you do if you don’t get a visa?
- What role does studying in the U.S. play in your and your family’s life?
- Can you afford the cost of an education in the U.S.?
- Are your educational certificates fake?