As I mentioned in a previous post, the worldwide refusal rate for U.S. student visas, according to the latest U.S. Department of State data, is 32%. While this figure is not made public in Vietnam, it’s safe to assume that it’s higher. One of the reasons is that many applicants are unprepared, misinformed, scripted and/or generally unable to answer the very basic and, for the most part, predictable questions put to them by consular officers who really would rather say “yes” than “no.”
When I was IIE-Vietnam country director, one of the publications we created was a bilingual brochure entitled U.S. Student Visas: Myths and Realities, which provides useful information about the visa interview. This document was approved and endorsed by the consular chiefs of both the Consulate General in HCMC and the Embassy in Hanoi, and highlighted by Janice Jacobs, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, during her February 2009 visit to Vietnam.
To my U.S. higher education colleagues: Please share with all of your admitted applicants, perhaps along with the I-20. Assuming everything else is in order, it may help them get a visa the first time they apply.