Visa Interview Tips

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Traveling to the U.S. on a visitor visa?  Perhaps the most daunting step of the entire visa process is the visa interview, in which a consular officer will ask you questions about your travel plans and the purpose of your trip.

The thought of being interviewed by a U.S. government official can be overwhelming, but keep in mind that the interview’s purpose is simply to determine whether or not you meet visa requirements. Knowing what types of questions will be asked and what to expect throughout the process can set you up for success.

So read on for visitor visa interview tips – as well as sample interview questions!

How to Prepare for a Visitor Visa Interview

Follow these visitor visa interview tips to ensure you’re ready when the day of your appointment finally arrives!

1. Schedule an appointment for your visa interview in the country in which you live. (While you may schedule your interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, it may be more difficult to obtain a visa outside of the country where you permanently live.) To find the nearest embassy or consulate—and its contact information—search for your country of residence at USEmbassy.gov.

2. Check the typical wait time for your country. Understand that wait times vary by location, visa category, and even season, which is why it’s important to apply early. You can check the wait time for your embassy or consulate under "Appointment Wait Time."

3. Pay the non-refundable visa application fee. This is a $160 fee that may be required before your interview. Citizens or residence of certain countries will be required to pay an additional visa issuance fee upon visa approval. To determine whether you’ll owe an issuance fee, select your nationality under “Prepare for Your Interview” at the state.gov “Visitor Visa” page.

Is a Visa Interview Required of All U.S. Visitors?

In general, visa interviews are required of all travelers between the ages of 14-79. Interviews are not typically required of applicants 13 years and younger or 80 years and older—though consular officers reserve the right to require an interview of any visa applicant, regardless of age.

4. Gather the required documents. Prior to your visitor visa interview, you’ll need to ensure you have the following:

  • Passport that is valid for 6 months after your planned departure from the United States
  • Nonimmigrant visa application Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Application fee payment receipt (if payment is required prior to the interview)
  • One printed photo that complies with visitor visa photo requirements (in case your photo fails to upload to the online Form DS-160)

Note that the embassy or consulate may request additional documentation in order to ensure you are qualified for a U.S. visitor visa. Additional documents could include evidence backing the purpose of your trip, your intent to depart the country on a certain date, and more.

You may also be required to provide proof of funds to cover medical expenses incurred on your trip. One way to evidence these funds is to purchase travel medical insurance like Atlas America insurance, which provides policyholders with access to a visa letter that can serve as proof of medical coverage.

5. Prepare for your interview with practice questions. Read on to discover some frequently-asked visitor visa interview questions to help you prepare your responses and calm your nerves.

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Visitor Visa Interview Questions

As you prepare for your visitor visa interview, remember that there’s no reason to fret – all you have to do is answer the questions as truthfully as possible and provide documentation to support your responses. Preparing in advance is a great idea, as it can reveal whether there are additional documents, certificates, or records you would be wise to bring with you to your interview.

Use the following visitor visa interview questions to help you prepare for your visa interview:


What is the purpose of your trip?
When you answer this question, it’s important to be honest, as the purpose of your trip determines the type of visa you need. According to the U.S. Department of State, “Evidence of your employment and/or your family ties may be sufficient to show the purpose of your trip and your intent to return to your home country.”
How do you plan on financing your trip to the U.S.?

While there is no set amount of funds you are required to show, you want to prove that you can cover all costs associated with your trip. This may require you to estimate the cost of return travel tickets, lodging, boarding, domestic travel, and medical expenses, notes Path2USA.

To prove you have the financial resources to fund your trip, you may want to bring bank statements, credit cards, and/or pay slips. A travel medical insurance policy could help demonstrate your ability to pay for medical expenses by showing that you have coverage for unexpected injury or illness.

Note that if you are unable to cover your entire trip cost yourself, the U.S. Department of State does allow evidence that another person will cover some or all of your costs.
Where are you going to stay during your trip?
As part of the visa application process, you should determine where you are going to stay while you are in the U.S. The address should correspond to the one on your visa application. If you are going to be traveling around the country, then be prepared to provide a list of all the places you plan to visit as well as your planned accommodations.
Have you been to the U.S. before?
Answer this question with a simple yes or no, but be ready to explain the purpose of any previous trips. You may also be asked where you went, what you did, and where you stayed.
What guarantee is there that you will return home before your visa expires?
One important factor your consulate officer will focus on is whether you have ties to your home country that provide you an incentive to return. You can show this incentive by providing evidence of real estate that you own back home, family members you’ll want to return to (birth certificates and marriage certificates may apply here), or proof that a job is waiting for you upon your return.

 

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Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group international insurance products are underwritten by Lloyd’s, London. Tokio Marine HCC - Medical Insurance Services Group (MIS Group) is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies. Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd’s underwriting members of Lloyd’s Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency Ltd.