How Long Do Us Visa Interviews Take

By Tiara

Recent reports about how long it takes to get through your first interview with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are alarming for those who have made visa applications recently. While there is some merit in these stories, they also may scare off applicants as prospective employers look at you with fear!

Reports state that current average times for interviews range from eight to ten months. Some individuals report even longer waits than that!

It is important to know what types of delays are common at DHS and which ones are not. Unfortunately, many media sources do not mention the exact reasons why people’s cases take so long, nor do they indicate if anyone has received their decision on appeal or not.

This article will discuss the major things that can affect processing time at DHS and what steps you can take to remain optimistic while waiting. It will also talk about what happens to your case once it reaches an appeals stage. If you want more information, be sure to check out our separate article here!

We will begin by talking about something that does NOT cause substantial delay at all at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): employment verification.

Some countries take less time than others

how long do us visa interviews take

What are we talking about for the length of an average visa interview? We have talked about how different nationalities may or may not be given special treatment, but this also varies from country to country.

Some nations simply cannot afford enough employees to do their jobs so they have to give you a quick visit before sending you home with your bags. The way that these nations handle interviews is by having one person ask questions while the other waits outside or in a separate room.

This doesn’t always work in foreign cultures though. Some people don’t like such a system because it can make them feel as if there is no hope of getting help once you get into an argument with someone. This isn’t uncommon in some parts of the world.

Another reason why this style of interviewing might not work is due to cultural differences. For example, many Eastern European countries value respect and teamwork more than individualists like us so they would rather have two people who get along talk things out than have one person dominate the conversation.

On top of all of this, some places just aren’t very good at handling stress. In those cases, even if everyone was hired to play nice during the interview, sometimes things still go wrong.

They will review your application

how long do us visa interviews take

After you have completed all of your applications, they will move onto the next part of the process which is either scheduling an interview or giving you a quick call to make sure that everything is okay with your residency.

If there isn’t any contact from us within three weeks after submitting your applications, then you should assume something has gone wrong and you didn’t pass the initial screening process!

We recommend staying in touch consistently, even if it’s for only a few minutes every week so we can check on how you are doing and see if there is anything else that we need to know about you.

It’s important to remember that this process can be difficult at times. We understand that things don’t always go according to plan, but we want to give you some reassurance – most people get their visa through the same system around six months to a year.

This time frame assumes that nothing goes wrong during the screening process, such as when employees are unable to reach you due to no communication, etc.

You will get a visa or not

how long do us visa interviews take

Many people begin to feel nervous when they arrive at their visa interview as soon as it’s announced over the loudspeaker that there will be one person per visitor.

It can make some people feel very uncomfortable, especially if you are self-conscious about your English language skills or if you are worried about what questions might be asked.

But even if you have no reason to worry, it is still important to prepare for your visit because this could take longer than expected.

The length of time needed to process a visa depends on several things, such as how well prepared you are, whether there are lots of documents and information available, and the kind of visa you are seeking.

In fact, in many cases, it’s not until weeks after the interview that all the paperwork is completed and you find out if you were successful.

There are many reasons a visa may or may not be granted

how long do us visa interviews take

Beyond just confirming your identity, it is very likely that you will be asked about reports of criminal activity or allegations related to terrorism or organized crime.

You can expect to be questioned about these reports and whether you’ve heard anything else about the individual or the country they represent.

If there have been no updates to the information in their profile, this could indicate that they don’t want to make a decision until they know more about them.

It's also possible that they want to confirm whether you're aware of the negative facts about the person before granting them permission to enter Australia.

Keep your application updated

how long do us visa interviews take

After arriving at the embassy, you’ll be given an appointment time for your visa interview. This is usually around one to two hours, but it can vary slightly depending on how many questions they ask and what information they need!

It is very important that you are prepared for your interview as there may be some timing issues due to other commitments or life events. Make sure to check in with work colleagues and family members to see if they will be able to watch them while you are away.

By being aware of potential challenges, you can plan ahead and possibly find accommodation close by so you do not have to drive back home immediately after the interview. More general tips about traveling while on vacation can help make this easier.

Since most visas require at least a week to process, try to be well-organized before your visit to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Provide your documents

how long do us visa interviews take

After arriving at the consulate, you’ll be met by an officer who will ask to see your passport and visa. This is just a formality as most people have proof of their identity and residence already; however, it helps confirm that for us.

The officers reviewing your paperwork will likely take some time – this can make you feel anxious since you want to know how long your visit has been!

Be prepared for one or both of two things: either a very short interview or a very lengthy one. There is no rhyme or reason to how long interviews typically are. Some take only minutes while others can take hours.

There is not much you can do but be patient and prepare for whatever happens. If there is a lot going on outside, you may want to find somewhere more private so you don’t have to wait around for other activities to finish.

And once they do call you, tell yourself that it’s totally normal to be nervous before your first meeting with a foreign embassy or consular official.

Know your country’ll be visiting

how long do us visa interviews take

Most countries require only one in-person meeting during the visa process, which is typically for a business or employment visit. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days depending on how many people are involved in the process.

Some countries, however, require two meetings before issuing visas, which can add more time to your stay. Find out who will be handling your case and what their timelines are so you know when to expect updates.

In some cases, you as an applicant may need to wait around longer than expected while someone else reviews and processes your documents. Make sure this isn’t the case!

If you don’t hear back within a week, call or email again to see if there have been any delays that might push up your interview.

Plan your trip

how long do us visa interviews take

The length of time it takes to get into an interview for a US visa is mostly dependent on two things: how long the consulate or embassy staff has before their next meeting, and how quickly you run through the questions they ask.

The first person to talk to a member of the immigration team will probably be someone from the visa section. They’ll start by asking about your health and life back home, then move onto more general topics like work and education. Next comes the most difficult part – proving whether you have enough money to come back home.

After that, the rest of the interviews tend towards more practical matters. For example, if you are applying as a student then they may ask about courses you plan to attend, tuition fees, proof of funds and so on. If you already study in the USA, this can be verified easily.

If you don't, there's usually a way to verify your studies online (perhaps even free). All these bits of information go a very long way to prove your commitment to studying and earning money. A lot of employers want to make sure people won't disappear once paid, so there're often rules around job offers and second jobs.