Navigating the Complexities of a Visa Interview

Navigating the Complexities of a Visa Interview

When it comes to interviewing for a visa application, many people feel uncertain about the interview process. They may feel unsure about what questions they will be asked, what documentation they should bring, how to prepare for the interview, or how to request an interview. Keep reading if you want to demystify the visa interview process.

First, it can help alleviate anxiety to learn more basic information about the visa interview. Interviews are typically scheduled during regular business hours on every weekday. However, no appointments will be scheduled on holidays. In order to obtain an appointment, you must have submitted all your documentation including your US visa application form. After that is reviewed, you will be assigned or sign up for an interview timeslot. Most interviews do not last longer than an hour, although there are situations (e.g., missing forms, unexpected circumstances, etc.) that may make your interview longer. If you are unsure of where your U.S. Embassy or Consulate is located, check out this U.S. Department of State list of locations.

When you arrive for your interview, you will want to come prepared with all requisite documentation. First, make sure you bring your letter indicating your appointment date and time. If you do not bring this letter, you will not be allowed to enter for your appointment. Make sure you arrive on time but do not arrive more than thirty minutes early. You will want to make sure to bring your DS-160 confirmation page, your email address, your visa application payment receipt indicating you paid the fee, and a passport that is valid for United States travel and that does not expire before six months after your intended length of stay in the United States. You will also need your email address handy and two photographs.

In addition to the letter indicating your appointment time, passport, and DS-160 confirmation page, you will need to bring additional documentation, but the specific requirements may vary depending upon the class of visa that you intend to apply for. For example, individuals applying for a student visa may be required to show acceptance into a U.S. university. Many types of visa classes require proof of a medical exam, including the application for us immigration visa.

Who attends the interview is also dependent upon the type of visa for which you are required. For example, for travel visa, children 13 and younger and not usually required to attend. However, for immigration visas children are generally required to attend with a guardian. Additionally, the immigration visa requires that your spouse attend the interview as well. The U.S. State Department lists required documents for each type of visa on its website. For example, you can find more information about travel visa documents and who should attend the visa interview here.

During the interview, you can expect your interviewer to review your documents and ask questions about your paperwork. You can expect basic questions about whether you are married, how long you have been married, whether you have children, and if so, their names. Applicants for student visas may be asked financial questions about whether they are receiving a scholarship, the name of the university they will be attending and their anticipated area of study, and be asked to render a bank statement. Across many types of visas, one common question will ask some variation of how long you intend to stay in the United States and when you intend to return home. If you are applying for business-related travel, you may be asked information related to your employer, intended job activities in the United States, and what your company does.

When answering questions, remember that you are required to answer honestly. In general, it can be helpful to take some time before the interview to memorize details that you might not remember immediately (e.g., spouses or children's' birthdates, your marriage date, address where you will stay in the United States, your salary, how much is in your bank account, etc.). Try to answer questions frankly as hesitation can lead interviewers to question whether you are trying to make up an answer. Make sure to provide factual answers and to only answer the question that has been asked. Make sure to emphasize any ties you have (relationships, employment, etc.) that are cause for you to return home after your trip.

In addition to the common questions that can be asked during a visa interview, one other complexity to consider is that the interview will likely be in English. Thus, you may want to consider practicing answer some of the previous common questions in English before your interview date. Make sure you know how the trip to the U.S. (whether for business, travel, student, etc.) will fit into your long-term goals. Given that interviewers will be trying to get through a lot of information in a short amount of time trying to keep your answers brief. Lastly, try to have a positive outlook.

Maintaining a positive outlook is crucial even if your visa application is refused. If that happens to you, try to ask if there is additional documentation you could obtain to support your application. If possible, request to receive the rationale for the denial in writing and keep a copy for your records. If you are feeling unsure about how to navigate the complexities of the visa interview on your own, Visa USA Now is available to help!