Tips for a Successful Visa Interview
For all non-Canadian individuals, the immigration process does not simply culminate in an approval from USCIS. Once USCIS gives the green light, foreign nationals must still attend a visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. After the interview, the Consular Officer must approve the foreign national’s case and physically issue the visa document. Once the foreign national receives his or her passport containing the visa, he or she can finally enter the U.S. in the new immigration status.
Despite the significance of the visa interview, it is important to not become overwhelmed or intimidated by the interview. Ultimately, most clients leave the interview feeling that it was not as difficult as they had expected.
As you get prepared, here are some important tips for a successful visa interview:
- Know what to expect. When we hear the word “interview,” we typically envision a face-to-face conversation between individuals who are sitting across from each other. In this way, the visa “interview” is a bit of a misnomer. Interviews at U.S. consular posts are typically set up so that applicants are standing at a counter while other people wait and watch in the background. Moreover, for security reasons, a thick piece of glass typically separates the applicant and the interviewing officer. Before you even get to the counter, you will have to go through a strict security screening process (similar to an airport) and may wait for several hours for your case to be called. We recommend that you take this time to relax, calm yourself, and continue to familiarize yourself with your application documents.
- Prepare yourself for questions. Be prepared to talk about yourself and your work. For many individuals, it may seem odd to discuss one’s credentials. However, it is important to realize that your eligibility for a particular visa category is almost always dependent on these credentials. When answering the questions, you should focus on demonstrating that you meet the legal standard for admission in a particular visa category. Another important consideration is that you should not become too technical while discussing you jobs, as consular officers cannot be expected to possess specialized knowledge in every industry. Finally, we encourage you to speak truthfully, as your credibility is key to a successful interview. Listen carefully to each question, give a complete answer, and do not simply give one word answers.
- Come with the right documents. It is critical to arrive at your interview with all necessary documents. Berardi Immigration Law prepares comprehensive interview packages for our clients and transmits the packages to our clients in advance of the interview. This way, our clients can be sure they have everything they need for the interview.
- Address any potential language issues. If you have an accent that could potentially be difficult for a consular officer to understand, remember to speak slowly. Also, if you are not pursuing a work visa for a job that requires English language skills, do not be afraid to ask for an interpreter.
- Dress for success and carry yourself with class. Always attend the visa interview in business attire. When speaking to the officer, stand tall and keep eye contact. Do not casually rest your elbows on the counter.
- Familiarize yourself with your application materials. Most questions you will be asked at the interview will already be addressed in your application materials. It is important that you take time before the interview to acquaint yourself with the details of your letter of support, DS-160, and all other supporting docs.
Berardi Immigration Law offers comprehensive immigration services to its clients, from preparing and submitting applications to USCIS to scheduling clients for their visa interviews. We are proud to help our clients cross the border with confidence. Call or email us today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.