You wish to study or work abroad and have got admission at your favorite university or a job at your dream company! You must be feeling on cloud nine. Although you might be making plans about all the things you’re going to do while studying or working abroad, you still have to apply for a visa. Sometimes a visa application can be overwhelming.
With a lot of talk going around about the visa rejections, you may get confused and lose confidence. There’s no need to worry, this is no rocket science. This post will help you prepare for a visa interview by giving you an overview of common visa interview questions for study visa or work visa and tips for good answers.
How to prepare a visa application
First of all, let’s see how you can prepare a visa application. The best way to do so is to visit the embassy’s website and check for the documents required for a visa application for study visa or work visa. Usually, you need the following documents for a visa application. Note that the requirements may vary for different countries, these are just basic documents you might need.
- Visa application form
- Visa appointment confirmation email
- Valid passport
- Biometric pictures
- Travel insurance
- University admission letter or job offer letter (depending upon which visa you’re applying for)
- Proof of sufficient financial means (bank statement, scholarship, sponsorship, etc. – this is usually needed for study visa)
- Curriculum vitae (CV)
- Proof of sufficient language skills (for example IELTS or TOEFL for English)
- Academic degrees
- Employment history
- Travel and accommodation arrangements
Tip: Usually, you’ve to book a visa appointment. Some people try to book one as soon as they receive an admission letter or job offer letter. We’d recommend to first have a look at the documents required for the visa application at the respective embassy. You’ll probably need some time to arrange the documents.
Furthermore, you might have to get your documents attested from relevant authorities in your country, for example attestation of academic degrees from Higher Education Commission (HEC) in Pakistan. Once you know how much time you need to arrange all the documents, add a few additional days to this time to be on the safe side, and then book a visa appointment accordingly.
How to prepare for a visa interview
Now, you need to get ready for the visa interview. Well, there’s no way to predict all the question, but here are some common visa interview questions you can prepare to help you prepare for the interview.
Usually, a visa interview is slightly different than an admission, scholarship or job interview. During a visa interview, the visa officer is normally interested in knowing, if the candidate really wants to study/work abroad or is just using this visa type to leave the country. Questions related to the following points may be asked to check, whether it’s a genuine study/work case or not:
- Knowledge about the study program/job, the university/company, and the country
- Your financial means
- Relevance of the intended study program/job to your previous academic background and work experience
- What are your future goals and how will the intended study program/job help you achieve these goals? Will you come back to your home country?
Tip: Do your homework and be yourself. Sometimes, the interviewer might ask you the same question again in a different way or challenge your answers by asking further questions. Remain calm and don’t get confused. If you don’t know something, it’s alright to say that you don’t know it. In case the visa officer asks for an additional document, don’t think that a document is missing so you’re not going to get the visa. Simply tell him/her that you’d send the requested document as soon as possible.
Common visa interview questions for a STUDY VISA
While you preparing for visa interview for study visa, you can have a look at these common visa interview questions for study visa:
Could you please introduce yourself?
This is more like breaking the ice and giving you some time to get comfortable with the interview in order to get started with further questions. However, this is often your first impression and you should make sure that it counts. Introduce yourself briefly by highlighting the most important details about yourself that are relevant to the visa application.
Why this study program at this university?
The best way to nail this question is by avoiding mainstream answers. Make sure that you’re not just blabbering out big words to impress them. Do some research on the study program: its structure (courses, project work, lab work, thesis, etc.) and its alumni.
Moreover, do your homework on the university: its history, location, achievements, etc. Speak naturally, it shouldn’t look like you’re just stating some facts you learned from Wikipedia. For example, instead of saying “I want to study here because this is one of the best universities”, you should mention points that are specifically related to that particular university.
How is this program related to your previous studies?
If you’ve already completed your bachelor’s degree from your home country and would like to go abroad to pursue a master’s degree, you should explain how the intended degree is related to your previous studies. Students often opt for a specialization in a particular field for their master’s degree within their generic field of studies (bachelor’s degree). Sometimes, students choose a master’s degree that is in a completely different field compared to their bachelor’s degree. That’s why it’s important to explain in a convincing way the relation between your previous studies and your intended degree.
Why are you not continuing your studies in your home country?
There are two ways you can answer this question. If the program isn’t available in your home country, the answer is simple. You can easily justify yourself here. In case, some universities in your home country do offer this program, you’ll have to come up with a good answer. Explain why the study program abroad is better than the one in your home country and how the whole experience of studying abroad will help you grow in addition to just pursuing the study program.
Why this country?
Similar to the questions, why this study program and why this university, try to come up with solid points that support your decision for that particular country. These points could be a good mix of professional and personal reasons. Compare that country with other famous study destinations and convince the visa officer why this particular country is better than other countries. For example, if you’re applying a study visa for Germany, you could highlight that the tuition fee in Germany is way lower than in some other countries while the standard of education is very high.
Do you speak the language of that particular country, have friends or family there, or are just interested in that country’s culture? You can mention these points as personal reasons to study in a particular country.
How will you bear your study expenses?
It’s important that you give a strong impression about your financial means. If you’ve got a sponsorship or scholarship, it’s going to be a plus point for you. This is one of the most important visa interview questions. If you don’t have any scholarship, make sure that your bank statement speaks for itself.
When you’re studying abroad, you might have a part-time job. However, mentioning in the visa interview that you’d bear your expenses through a part-time job might make your case weak. The requirement is to show that you’ve enough money or a sponsorship/scholarship before actually going abroad.
Who is your sponsor or scholarship provider?
You might’ve to answer this question in case you’ve a sponsorship or scholarship. For some countries, only close family members can sponsor you. The interviewer might ask you a few details about your sponsor such as address and salary of the sponsor, and your relationship to the sponsor. Concerning the scholarship, there might be questions about the details such as who is providing this scholarship and for how long.
What are your future plans?
What you do next after getting your degree, says a lot about you. The visa officer is often interested in knowing your future plans. You might be asked, whether you’d stay there after graduation or come back to your homeland. This is a common misconception that you’ve to say that you’ll definitely come back once you are done with your degree. Be honest with your plans, if you plan to stay there, work for a few years and then come back, that’s fine as well.
Many students go abroad every year and many of them actually don’t come back to their home country after graduation. The embassies know it as well and still approve a lot of visa applications. Pretty much every country wants good talent for their economy growth and depending upon their policies, they offer visa to a certain number of students every year. You saying “I’ll come back” or “I’ll stay there” doesn’t usually result in visa approval or rejection. That decision depends upon a lot of different factors.
What kind of jobs can you get after this study program?
This is another question related to your future plans. If you don’t know what you can do after completing the intended study program, it might give the impression that it’s not a genuine study visa case. That’s why it’s import to do some research regarding the job market and career opportunities in the respective field.
Common visa interview questions for a WORK VISA
To apply for a work visa, you usually need a job offer letter. Because you already have a job offer, it shows that you’ve a good academic background and work experience/required skills. That’s why a visa interview for a work visa could be relatively easier than a visa interview for a study visa.
Here are some commonly asked visa interview questions for work visa:
Why this job at this company?
You should be well informed about your job position and the employer. Just like we mentioned for similar questions in the study visa section, dig deeper when you do your homework and avoid the clichés such as “best company in the world”. Convince the visa officer why this job position at this company is the right fit for you keeping in mind your previous studies, work experience and future goals.
How did you get to know about this position/company?
A question like this might be asked to check, whether it’s a genuine work visa case or not. You could answer by explaining briefly how you got to know about this position/company and how you applied for the position.
Why did the company hire you?
You might be thinking; this question should be asked from the company and not from you. Well, this could just be their way of asking, what your strengths are or what made you stand out. You could answer by highlighting what your unique selling point is.
What is your salary?
You should know your salary and it should be possible to bear your expenses in that country with this salary. You might be asked, whether your salary is enough to live in that country. That’s why it’s important to have a rough overview of the taxation, insurances, and living expenses in that particular city or country. If your family is accompanying you, the visa officer might ask you about their expenses as well.
Some questions might be the same as in case of a study visa, such as “why this country?” and “what are your future plans?” Please refer to that section for tips on how to answer these questions.
In addition to the questions mentioned above, you might be asked some common interview questions. There would probably be some spontaneous questions and there’s no way to prepare them in advance. However, you can try to prepare good answers for common visa interview questions and enhance your chances of getting a visa. Moreover, don’t forget interview etiquette.
Need help with visa interview preparation? Check out our interview coaching services.
Good luck with your visa interview!