Visa Interview Tips

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One of the biggest obstacles that you will face as you apply for any visa to travel to the United States is the visa interview process. In order to receive your visa, you not only have to fill out forms and provide the necessary documents, but you must also participate in a visa interview with a consular officer. During this interview, you will need to explain to the officer what are your travel plans, what is the purpose of your trip, whether you have financial support for the trip, and when you plan to return home.

The interview is designed to help embassies and consulates find the candidates that meet the visa requirements. Knowing the types of questions asked and what to expect during the process will help you better prepare and set you up for success at the embassy or consulate.

How to Begin

Getting started with your interview process means scheduling the interview, gathering the required documents, and preparing for the actual interview. The first step is to schedule your meeting. The U.S. has embassies and consulates all over the world. There is a good chance that the embassy or consulate office in your country is in the capital, although some countries have more than one location.

After locating the closest embassy or consulate to you, you can schedule your interview. To schedule your interview you will most likely need to locate the telephone number of the embassy or another form of contact. To help you understand the interview process and the time it will take to actually process your application and interview, be sure to check the typical wait times for your country. The wait time will inform you how far in advance to schedule your interview and outline how many days it typically takes to process your application.

Documents Required for a Visa Interview

As you begin to gather documents and information to take to your interview, you need to know exactly what will be required of you. The National Visa Center (NVC) should pass most of your documentation on to your interviewer. However, it is your responsibility to provide the original documentation. In this case, you should lean on the side of safety, and bring all of these documents with you:

  • Your appointment letter, provided by the NVC.
  • A passport that is valid for at least 6 months after you are supposed to return home.
  • You must also provide a police certificate that states any arrests, reasons for arrest, and disposition of each arrest.
  • A birth certificate for you and any family members traveling with you. The birth certificate must provide date of birth, birthplace, and names of both parents.
  • If for some reason you have any court or prison records, then you need to provide those, as well.
  • If you served in the military, then you should also provide any military papers that you may have.
  • If you did not provide the NVC with two identical color photographs, then you need to bring them to the interview with you. The photographs must be headshots, in color, taken within the last 6 months and in clothing you wear on a normal and daily basis.
  • If you are married, you must also provide your marriage certificate. This certificate can be the original or a certified copy so long as it has the appropriate stamp or seal of authority.
  • The interviewer also needs to know that you are going to have some sort of financial support or aid during your trip. In some cases an Affidavit of Support is necessary, but a notarized offer of employment or some evidence of your assets will also work to show your financial situation warrants a visa.
  • For those who are no longer married due to divorce or death, you need to provide the proper and original documentation.

Visa Interview Questions

During the interview, you will not only be required to provide documentation and explain your reasons for applying for a visa, but you will also be asked various questions, which you must answer as truthfully as possible. These questions may be the part of the process that makes you the most nervous, so preparing for them in advance is a good idea. Here are some possible visa interview questions that you may use to study and prepare:

Why do you want to go to the U.S.?
When you answer this question, be as honest as possible because the type of visa will depend on the purpose of your trip and the consulate officer will have that information in front of them.
How long do you plan on staying in the U.S.?
Know your arrival and departure dates and how long you expect to be in each location. Remember the interviewer will have your written answers in front of them.
How do you plan on financing your trip to the U.S.?
Since you will be providing the embassy or consulate with proof of your financial situation, you should be able to answer this question easily. Just remember to keep it straightforward.
Where are you going to stay during your trip?
As part of your visa application process, you should determine where you are going to stay while you are in the U.S. If you are going to be traveling around the country, then you should provide a list of all the places you are going to be.
Have you ever been to the U.S. before?
Answer this question with a simple yes or no, but be ready to explain what your first trip was for and where you went.
When do you plan on traveling?
This question may seem redundant because you have filled out so much paperwork, but the goal of the interview is to make sure you are traveling for the right reasons and that you understand all of the stipulations that apply to your visa.
What is the purpose of your trip? / What will you be doing?
You should answer this question openly because the type of visa issued depends on what is the purpose of your trip. If you have filed for the incorrect visa, then your consulate officer will recognize that based on how you answer this question.
Is this your first trip to the U.S.?
Again, this is a straight yes or no answer. If you answer incorrectly, it could result in a denial or delay of your visa.
What guarantee is there that you will return home?
One of the things the consulate officer will focus on is whether or not you have ties to your home that will provide you with a reason to return. This is a very common question for every type of visa because they want to make sure you have established relations at home that will give you a reason to return. Individuals who purchase Atlas America® insurance are provided with a visa letter which shows the coverage and return dates specified upon purchase, planned countries visited, and medical maximums.

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