U.S. Visitor Visa Application Tips
Applying for a United States visitor visa can be a long and difficult process. Wading through all of the forms and fees only to be rewarded with an intense interview can seem very scary. However, with the help of these handy tips and tricks, you could be breezing through it in no time.
1. Research is your best tool.
Do your research, and then do it again. Each country has specific requirements that vary from country to country. Use usembassy.gov as a starting point in your research. This site has links to the website of every country’s U.S. embassy with additional information that can be helpful. There is a lot of information available online that a simple search can turn up. Another good source of information is people who have already been through the process. Ask around and find someone who can answer some questions. The more you know, the easier it is to navigate through the process.
2. Check and double-check your completed application.
In recent years, the U.S. has switched to using an electronic form instead of a paper version. There are some that still accept paper applications, but be prepared to fill out the form on the computer. Be sure to proofread your application and check for errors. Be sure to provide an answer for every single box on the application. If the question does not pertain, then write “not applicable” or “N/A.” Be sure to use the additional information boxes to explain the answers that you gave.
3. Collect your documentation for the interview.
It can be confusing to figure out which documents you need to bring. Basically, there are two categories: required documents and recommended documents. The required documents are typically the same across the board, and these are listed on the websites for your country.
The recommended documents are trickier. These are to prove that you have enough money to pay for your trip and have strong ties in your own country. They also demonstrate the purpose of your trip. These documents can include things like paystubs, a letter from your employer, an invitation to a wedding that you will be attending after the trip, a letter from the person you are visiting explaining why you are coming, itinerary for the trip. You can use anything that provides strong evidence that you will not be staying permanently in the United States. It’s impossible to know exactly what to bring, so again, do your research and see what is suggested for people in your country.
4. Prepare for your interview.
Keep track of the things you need to bring with you to the interview. Make sure you have all the documentation you need (both required and recommended). Think of your documents as proof supporting your answers to the interviewer’s questions. Check online to see a complete list of everything you need to bring. Try to keep everything together so that you don’t forget anything on the big day.
Along with documentation, be sure to bring a good attitude to the interview. Being polite and courteous will go a long way. Try to make eye contact so the interviewer doesn’t think you are trying to hide anything. If you tend to get nervous, remember that doing research will help you be more confident. Another good idea is to dress nicely and to get to the interview early. If you get intimidated, just remember that the interviewer is not your enemy, he or she is just performing a job.
5. Be mentally ready for anything.
There may be some surprises in the interview, but try not to let them throw you. Doing your research will help with this, as well. Be prepared for the possibility that the interview may be conducted in your language or in English. If you are not sure what the interviewer said because of an accent or the foreign language, calmly and politely ask for a repetition. Another thing to be prepared for is “what if…” questions. Interviewers like to ask questions like, “What if you are offered a job while you are in the United States? Would you take it?” If you answer this question with, “I would take the job,” then your application will most likely denied. The interviewers are trying to figure out which visa applicants are trying to illegally enter the country, so be prepared for these questions.
6. Check your visa carefully.
Congratulations! Now that you have your visa, the last thing to do is to carefully check it over and make sure all the information is correct. Make sure your name is spelled right, and that everything is accurate. Enjoy your trip!