Recent reports say that there has been an increase in visa applications being delayed or even denied due to staffing shortages at US embassies. This is very concerning for anyone who plans to travel internationally during this pandemic!
Many of you may be asking yourself what this has to do with work-life balance? Well, working from home can sometimes feel like a never ending battle against time.
Since most people are able to stay at home unless they go out for essential services such as grocery shopping or running errands, there is no need to have a normal office environment. You lose the same level of productivity when you don’t have access to your computer, internet connection, etc.
And since we're talking about staying busy here, all of these additional responsibilities can easily get pushed back until later. That's why it can be hard to prioritize work while stuck at home.
Luckily, there are some helpful tips and strategies that can help mitigate the negative effects of missing work after the pandemic. So let's discuss one of them: preparation ahead of time.
Even if you have no idea what position your department will ask about in this life, it is at least worth considering how you look and what you wear. You do not want to seem unprepared or unprofessional by not dressing properly for the interview.
If possible, try to arrive early so you can find out where they are holding the meeting and get some food or drinks- anything to help you feel more prepared and relaxed.
Avoid wearing very expensive clothes as most people who work in visa interviews already have close to a million dollars’ worth of clothing! They do not need to see another suit hanging in their closet.
We recommend staying in budget but making sure that whatever you do buy, you “luxury” wash many times before using professional cleaners. Also make sure that it does not smell too much like perfume or aftershave. Perfumes can actually cause dehydration due to excessive water absorption.
After the interview, go directly home to change into something casual. Do not shower or dress in a hurry because you may be waiting outside or near the venue for other meetings.
After arriving at your appointment, make sure to review our tips for booking a tour around the airport.
You will also want to have all of your documents ready in order to go through the process quickly.
While you do not need these things to apply for a visa, it is better to be prepared than running late or needing extra time due to missing something.
We recommend gathering everything you need ahead of time so that you don’t waste any time getting them together before the interview.
After arriving at your visa interview, you will be given a time to visit the consulate. This is different for every applicant!
The consulate staff will verify some important documents and make sure that everything is in order before letting you meet with the officer. You can expect to spend around one hour for this meeting depending on what questions they ask.
After the interview, the embassy or consular official will let you know whether you have been granted or denied a visa. If you receive a letter saying that you are ineligible, then you will need to reapply.
If you have been invited to your visa interview, then do not forget it! CBP will notify you when it is scheduled via their website or phone call.
If you are being summoned for an in-person visa interview at the embassy or consulate, then make sure that you are prepared for this event. You should pack light as usual, but include additional clothes in case there is a lot of waiting around before your appointment.
Make sure to check out from the airport using the proper documents (see our article about how).
Many visa applications require you to confirm your appointment with US Customs and Immigration at the Embassy or Consulate where you will be visiting for an in-person interview. If you do not have this confirmation, then it is impossible to file your application!
This can backfire on you really badly as there are often many applicants waiting for their turn during busy seasons like summer or winter break when school is out. You do not want to get too stressed out because you may not know what day your appointment is until very recently.
Luckily, the United States has created a way to check if you have an upcoming visa interview by going onto the official Department of State website. You can find this information under “Global Visas”.
On the Global Visas page, there is a link called “Visit our sites for more info” which takes you to another site that lists all of the countries’ consulates around the world. For every country, there is a phone number and email address.
If you have a meeting with an officer at your visa interview, make sure you are well prepared! They may ask about past travel or conversations regarding immigration laws and regulations.
They may also ask about statements or rumors related to the visa process. Before your appointment, do not discuss any such topics as they could be considered illegal interference in the visa process.
Instead, focus on discussing your employment opportunities in the United States. Many employers will verify that you current job is valid before issuing a work permit. Discussing paychecks can help ensure your continued income while here!
If you’re able to bring someone to the interview with you, this helps alleviate some of the pressure to quickly talk about these things.
Even if you have no idea what they will ask, you can still look like a pro! You do not need to know how to dress for this interview, but you should at least appear professional. Make sure your shoes are appropriate for the setting, and keep your hair and makeup simple and natural.
You do not want to over-do it because you would rather focus more attention on showing off your personality than looking professionally put together. Also, make sure your clothes fit well and are modestly cut. This is important so people cannot tell whether you match the theme of the department or not.
Having these rules under control will help ensure that you do not waste time looking into the window of the van as you wait for your appointment while also staying within guidelines.
At this second appointment, you will be asked if you are currently living in Canada as a student. If you say yes to that question then you must tell them where you live at the time of interview.
If you say you do not live in Canada at the time of the interview, you may or may not be questioned about it. It totally depends on what kind of reaction they get from you when asked the first time!
It is very important to be honest during the visa process for both appointments so please make sure you are before either one happens.
The immigration officer may ask why you are no longer living in Canada as a student, but there is not need to give too much detail about your reasons.
We recommend keeping it simple and just saying because you found another place to live or you lost your housing etc. is enough. They will probably assume you are living somewhere else now.