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Visa Support Services


Things to Avoid at your Visa Interview (B1, B2, L1, J visas and all other visa interviews at US Consulates)

While a good narrative and a well completed application are very important, nothing can replace the face-to-face interview all visa applicants are required to complete. During our years helping customers, we narrowed down our recommendations to these important tips, which are designed to help you "survive" the visa interview process, and succeed in getting your visa! Read these points on what NOT to do, and be well prepared when you go to your interview.

1. Be Ill-Prepared for the Interview

Take time to know what the interview is going to be about, and any problem areas that are likely to arise. You must always be truthful in your interview, but how you present information has a large impact on perception and, ultimately, acceptance at the consulate or embassy.

2. Providing misleading or intentionally incorrect information (re-read that last paragraph!)

Rule of thumb: If you mislead the consulate official -- or if they even think you are misleading them -- you will not only NOT get your visa, but you may be permanently barred from ever entering the US. The key is to "explain" any questionable situation fully. More often than not, especially for B1/B2 visas, the consulate official is more interested in whether you are telling the truth then whether you are have some speckled past.

3. Leaving gaps or blanks in your DS160 or other visa applications; not bringing proper documents with you to the interview

Know the documents you need for the visa you wish to acquire. See paragraph 1. All visas applications will require (a) two passport sized photographs, (b) your passport, which must be valid for six months AFTER the date of your return from the US, (c) proof of return to your home country (usually airline tickets suffice for this). If this is a business visa, you should bring proof of your association with the business in the US (for example, a letter from the US office on official letterhead authorizing your trip).

4. Improper fee or payment method

Seems obvious -- no money, no visa. After all, in these cash strapped times, every bureaucratic fee counts! Namely, be sure to know how much you need to pay. Call ahead to the consulate to determine the acceptable forms of payment. Usually, cash is not ideal and may even be refused. Bank checks or cashier checks are preferred.

5. Being TOO helpful in your answers

Stick to the questions asked of you. Answer truthfully, and with enough detail to satisfy the investigator -- but don't volunteer more than required. You may inadvertently trigger further questions, or even a denial. Don't try to be “friends” with the questioner. Just answer what is asked, nothing more.

Example:

Question: Why do you want to visit the United States?

Preferred Answer: For tourism purpose and/or to spend some quality time with my son/daughter/friend etc.

NOT:

Bad Answer: I want to visit so I can see if I like it and maybe want to stay in the US and start a family. The US is so friendly and I just know that I'll like it a lot. I've been studying and I know all the places I want to visit. I just don't know if I'll have enough time to do my site-seeing and check to see what jobs I could take.

6. Information does not match between interview and forms

Rule of thumb: What you type in the DS160 or other forms (including online forms!) WILL be compared to what you say in your interview. This seems intuitive. You would not believe the number of people that type information into their visa application forms -- and then recount different information in the interview. See paragraph 2. Remember, the interviewer is going to have your forms.

Example:

Question: What is the purpose of your visit? (interviewer reads from your form that you are visiting a friend)

Bad Answer: I am going to the United States on vacation and to see if I like it. During this time I'll stay with my uncle.

7. Debating with the interviewer

Be polite and helpful. Realize that often the investigating officer is supposed to question you and root out any misinformation. Sometimes, this is not a pleasant experience. However, you need to be respectful and helpful at all times. See paragraph 1 and most importantly, paragraph 2.

8. Not Speaking Clearly (including accents or language problems)

If the embassy staff cannot understand you, your visa application is doomed! If you need help with English, bring an interpreter or request help from someone at the consulate that speaks your language. Don't expect the consulate officer to know your language, or make an effort to wade through thick or unintelligible accents. Rule of thumb: If they don't understand you -- you don't get a visa.

9. Talking too much with interviewer or consulate staff

Get in and get out. This is not a chance to quiz the embassy staff on fun facts about the United States. The more you chat unnecessarily with consulate personal, the more likely they will begin asking questions or expressing concerns that could be problematic. Be polite, concise, and responsive. Then leave.

10. Lacking confidence

Show you are confident. All else being equal, the difference between success and failure is often the demeanor of the individual being interviewed. Read paragraph 1 and paragraph 2. Take these to heart. Look the interviewer in the eyes. Smile. Show that you are ready, willing and able to travel to the United States, spend money in the US economy, and then return.

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