Visa Interview Checklist

Visa Interview Checklist

Visa concerns and how to answer questions

Some example questions that you will want to prepare for during your visa interview:

       - Why did you decide to study in the United States?

       - What is your planned program of study?

       - How will you pay for your tuition and living expenses?

       - Where will you live during your studies in the U.S.?

       - How will your study help you achieve your goals?

       - What do you plan to do after the completion of your studies in U.S.?

Usually, visa interviews at the U.S. Embassy do not take more than two to three minutes.  It is best to give your own honest answers and speak as clearly and concisely as possible. If you are pursuing a field of study that you are passionate about, your natural answers will reflect your determination and enthusiasm. 

Prepare in advance and make sure that your primary purpose is continuing your studies.  Student visas are not intended for award to individuals planning to immigrate to the Unite States.  Have your test scores and other academic documents as well as proof of adequate funds for at least the first year of your studies in the United States.  

Before you can apply for a student visa you need to be admitted to a U.S. university or other academic program.  Once you are admitted, the university will issue you an official I-20 form that you will need to start your visa application process. It can take up to a few months for visas to be issued, so it is best to start your application as soon as possible.

Please note that the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi will no longer accept applications from non-Emirati residents.  Iranians may apply at the U.S. Consulate in Dubai or U.S. Embassy in Ankara.  The U.S. posts in Ankara and Dubai have consular officers who focus on Iranian visa applicants; however, you can also make appointments at your local U.S. Embassy.

Visa interview checklist

  1. Name:  Make sure that your name on your passport and all your documents (the I-20, translated documents) are spelled the same way. 
  2. Passport:  Have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry into the United States.
  3. Have your form I-20 and SEVIS payment receipt.
  4. Completed Visa Application form DS-160.
  5. Proof of financial ability to pay expenses for the 1st year of your study in the U.S.
  6. TOEFL or IELTS test scores (GRE and other tests scores if applicable)
  7. MRV – Receipt for the Machine Readable Visa surcharge fee.

Make at least one copy of all your documents.

If you live outside of Iran please go to: EducationUSA website to locate an advising center near you.

How to make up for low grades and increase your chances for admission

You will want to request information and the application(s) from the institution(s) to which you are interested in applying.  Make sure that you prepare to send everything before the regular application deadline and note that you do not have to have your degree (license or fogh-license) at the time of application. Typically U.S. deadlines fall before the graduation season; however, universities will want to see evidence of your final grades or school-leaving exam results.

If possible, have your school send your final transcript to the institution(s) to which you are applying as soon as it is available but send all other application materials by university deadlines.

If your grades are low, you can write a sentence or so in your statement of purpose explaining the reason(s).  Your statement of purpose will give you a chance to highlight your strengths and impress university admissions offices with your skill-set and dedication in your studies.

What is considered a good grade in the United States is based on your level of study.  The following scales will help you determine your grades and to compare them with the U.S. grading system. 

The U.S. grading system is on a scale from 0 – 4, sometimes equated to letters:

4 = A
3 = B
2 = C
1 = D
0 = F (fail)

The Iranian grade scale from 0 – 20 typically is translated by the U.S. universities as follow—

At the undergraduate level:                            At the graduate level:
17 – 20 = A                                                       17 – 20 = A                                           
14 – 16.9 = B                                                    14 – 16.9 = B
12 – 13.9 = C                                                    12 – 13.9 = C
10 – 11.9 = D                                                    12 & below = F
Below 10 = Fail

One way to help make up for low grades is to obtain high scores on the TOEFL test and any other test required for admission.  You will also need to request two or three letters of recommendation from teachers who know you well and can write about your accomplishments.  Review individual application instructions for specific details. Admissions offices look at your whole application: test scores, letters of recommendations, and your own personal statement or essay. Have at least two people read your essay(s) and proofread for spelling and grammar.

Make copies of all application materials before sending.  When applying online make sure to follow instructions specific to the college or university to which you are applying as admission deadlines and requirements may vary. 

For more information on student visa-related questions see:


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