So, you are now looking forward to leave the country and go abroad to finish your studies. But first you must pass through the hassle of getting yourself a visa if you need to travel abroad. Here are a few tips to help you with getting through your visa interview.
The Visa officers always view you as a potential immigrant:
Unfortunately, the number of people who travel abroad and settle down illegally are rampant. Hence, the visa officials are always skeptical about travelers and expect you to convince them that you are only going there for a short period of time. The best way to do this is to let the officer know that you are tied down to your country by means of family, work, financial prospects etc. telling them your true intentions of your travel is the best way to go about it. Visa officials are trained to detect lies, and can refuse your visa at the slightest hint that you are lying. Be truthful and convincing.
Determining what the visa officer expects from you will help you prepare well for your interview and will be able to answer effectively. There are a few frequently asked questions by the visa officer, and preparing answers to such questions beforehand will help you in your interview.
Speak the language well:
If you are traveling to a predominantly English speaking country, then your spoken English must be good. This holds good for any country you plan on visiting, basic spoken knowledge about that country’s language is essential. Taking a few spoken language courses will help you with this. Knowing the language will ensure that you won’t have problems conversing in the new country, and even knowing a few basic phrases will help you learn the language quicker when you move.
Have your documents in check:
Ensure that you have carried all the required documents, set in the right order. The important ones include identification proof, family pictures, income tax records, bank statements, property records, consultancy documents etc. make sure that none of your documents are missing or are incomplete.
Enter your particulars in your visa application with care, and always keep a copy of your filled visa application. In case your visa application rejected, your information will still remain consistent. The visa officers will have a copy of your earlier visa application forms, and any inconsistency might jeopardize your chances of getting a visa. Even minor spelling mistakes can cost you a lot in this case. Take some time off to fill it clearly with the right information. Some people let their travel agent fill the form for them, without even checking if the information is legitimate. Any form of discrepancies/ fake information while filling the form can land you in serious trouble.
Carry your documents in a plastic folder/ thin file, which makes it easier for the visa official to review your documents. You must be aware of the location of the documents (which is why you need to place it in a specific order) and be aware of what each document is for, in case the visa officer asks for some conformation, you must be able to show them the right document within a few seconds.
Be on time:
Time sense is a very important quality for someone attending a visa interview. The entire process takes about half a day or more, so make sure you have eaten well and are well hydrated. There is prohibition of entering the premises with food and beverages, so it is best to eat something before you queue up. No electronics such as mp3 players, phones or cameras are allowed inside the premises either.
Once you get inside the embassy, you will have to collect your interview number. Then you get into the building where you will be interviewed. Your picture will be taken (where you are not allowed to smile) before ushering you into your interview area for you interview. Be there at least an hour early, this lifts any anxiety or last minute stress. Not all countries operate equally, and you might have a tough time getting into countries that have a high India immigrant population, or low income countries.
Dress your part and act your part:
Wear clothes that reflect your part. If you are listed as a student, a casual wear such as pair of jeans and a t-shirt will suffice. If you are a businessman, then dress like a businessman. Dress your part and act your part, like when you hang out with your coworkers/ friends. Look the part, try not to over sell it. Try not to look too desperate to get your visa; it will only arouse suspicion on your part.
Always answer in a professional demeanor. Do not seem flustered or nervous during the interview and stay calm. Do not show them your documents unless you are asked for it! The same goes for providing unnecessary information. The visa office receives hundreds of applications every day, and they are expected to process just as many applications. Being very descriptive with your answers will waste everyone’s time. Always answer to the point and only to the question, the officer asks. Be specific and sure of your answers. You better know the names of the universities you have applied to, and the places you plan to visit. These might seem like mundane questions, but the officer will determine how serious you are, based on the answers to these questions.
Your primary purpose about going abroad is to study and not to work. although you are allowed to work for a fixed amount of time every week, this is to help you support yourself. You must have a clear plan of returning home after your studies.
If you have any dependents back home, a family or wife and kids, you must convince the officer that they will get on without expecting any help from you. If you cannot convince the officer that your family are well sustained without your help, your student visa is sure to be declined.
If you are denied a student visa, then do not engage in a verbal duel with the officer. Ask them what you did wrong and how you can rectify it in the future. You can always return and apply for a new visa. But if you create a havoc, you might risk the chances of getting your visa altogether.
These tips will may not guarantee your visa approval. This is only a guide to help you get through your visa interview without any confusion.