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Are International students interviewed? Is In-person better than Skype/Phone interview?

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Dear Friends,

This is in regards to Cell and Molecular Biology PhD. Thank you in advance for answering my questions:

Q1- If an international student gets a call for interview, how are they interviews? On Phone, on Skype or are they expected to travel to US?

Q2-Do domestic students who can come for an in-person interview have an obvious advantage over international students who may only be interviewed over phone and Skype? (After all in-person interviews applicants often attend recruitment weekends, have lunch with faculty, hang out with grad students, and meet face-to-face with interviewing faculty, so get a bigger chance to make an impression on them)

Q3- However if the above is true then "every time" a domestic applicant has an 'advantage' over an international phone applicant- and so the faculty MUST KNOW this by now factor the fact in that phone interviews candidates have a lesser chance of making an impression. Do you think the faculty factor these things in when comparing domestic vs international candidates?

Q4- If the student himself wants to travel for an interview at his own expense what US VISA class is most appropriate to come to US for a few days for an interview? In my humble opinion, I see only the "Visitor Visa", i.e. B-1 or B-2 which 'may' be applicable, but those two categories also do not include "interview". Those two just mention "Business" or "Pleasure", so are you sure if that is the most appropriate Visa class to come to US for an interview?

Q5- If indeed B-1 or B-2 are the Visa that would allow me to come to US for a school interview - can I be reimbursed some of the money (like the apprx $300-$500 that they reimburse domestic applicants?). I asked as many US visas do not allow $$ to be accepted. But can such a small reimbursement amount be accepted by an international applicant when visiting the US school on a B-1 visa?

Q6- My above Q4 can be answered by answering this question - when international scientist come to US for big conferences for a few days what Visa do they come on? I believe that will be same visa that wd be appropriate for applicants coming for interviews?

Q7- Similarly, if scientist who come to US for conferences get reimbursed by any US university, then it means that it is legal to get reimbursed travel expenses from US when you are on a B-1 visa.

Q-8, One more question to add, is health insurance a big factor when coming down to US for an interview (they did not mention in the letter that the school will pay for my health insurance for my interview visit)

Thank you for answering my questions

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For Question 4:

I am an international student applying to the US although I'm currently based in Maryland. I came to the US on a 2-week trip in June 2011 and what I needed was a visa waiver. This allows you to enter the US for up to 3 months. You are not allowed to work on the visa but interviewing with a potential grad school would be fine. It is only available to people from certain countries (I'm from Ireland) so not sure if that will help you. I can't remember the exact price but I'm pretty sure it was under 20euro.

Here's a link https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ Hope it helps.

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To respond to the reimbursement part - I'm a Canadian who just interviewed at a US university. We were provided with special forms for international applicants in order to be reimbursed for our expenses. I think reimbursement is fine, as they're paying you back, not paying you for services rendered, if that makes sense?

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thanks coonckee, that kind of makes sense - but who gave you the special forms for reimbursement (the US embassy) or the school? thanks.

The school did. :) You can ask the graduate secretary / program coordinator for details most likely! :)

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Q1. If you cannot travel to the U.S. for the interview, you're very likely to be interviewed through phone / skype / in-person with an alumni/affiliated professional from the school.

Q2 & Q3. If you are being invited for interview, then what matters should not be domestic/international. The fact that you cannot make it to an in-person interview disallow you from accessing more information from current students and faculty members. You will also missing the opportunity to "feel" the atmosphere of the department, the school, and the city in general, where you will spend the next several years for your degree.

Q4 & Q5. I believe both B-1 and B-2 are considered "Visitor Visa". I am international, and I am currently traveling with a B-2. I know some schools require a specific visa (e.g. B-1) in order to reimburse your travel expense, while some schools do not. Therefore, YMMV.

Q6. B-1. http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1262.html

For example, if the purpose for your planned travel is to consult with business associates, travel for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or conference on specific dates, settle an estate, or negotiate a contract, then a business visitor visa (B-1) would be the appropriate type of visa for your travel.

Q7. H-1B or J-1 if the customs considered reimbursement as salary. Otherwise, I don't see there are problems with B-1 and/or B-2.

Q8. I never heard of any schools provide health insurance for interviewees. If you are going to the U.S. for interview, you'll need your own insurance.

Good luck in your interview.

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Thanks Abbaerant for your answers. Can you please clarify this point for me "H-1B or J-1 if the customs considered reimbursement as salary. Otherwise, I don't see there are problems with B-1 and/or B-2" .

Is reimbursemnt considered a salary when on B1 or B2? thanks!

And I see you are already in a program? I believe it is twice as competitive if you are an international student, so congratulations. Can you please share with me your interiew experience? thanks

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