Please visit the Coronavirus information site for the latest updates regarding UM-Dearborn's COVID-19 response.

  1. Show ties to your home country. Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must therefore be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. “Ties” to your home country are the things that bind you to your hometown, homeland, or current place of residence. These include, but are not limited to, job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, or investments. 

  2. Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview. If you are coming to the United States solely to study intensive English, be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country.

  3. 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. You will create a negative impression if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf. 

  4. Know the program and how it fits your career plans. If you are not able to explain the reasons you will study in a particular program in the United States, you may not succeed in convincing the consular officer that you are indeed planning to study, rather than to immigrate. You should also be able to explain how studying in the United States relates to your future professional career when you return home.

  5. Be concise. Because of the volume of applications received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute or two of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep answers to the officer’s questions short and to the point.

  6. Bring supplemental documentation. It should be clear to the consular officer at a glance what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. Remember that you will have 2-3 minutes of interview time.

  7. Understand that not all countries are viewed equally. Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many. students have remained in the United States as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically, applicants from those countries are more likely to be intending immigrants. They are also more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after their study in the United States.

  8. Prepare to address your plan to return home. Your main purpose for coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. While many students do work off-campus during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their U.S. education. You must be able to articulate clearly your plan to return home at the end of your program. If your spouse is applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the United States. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the United States. Volunteer work is a permitted activity.

  9. Prepare to address dependents remaining at home. If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gains the impression that your family members will need you to remit money from the United States in order to support them, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied. If your family does decide to join you at a later time, it is helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa.

  10. Maintain a positive attitude. Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal, and try to get in writing the reason you were denied.

Office of International Affairs

Room 108
The Union at Dearborn
Phone: 
313-583-6600
Fax: 
313-583-6725
Back to top of page