How Long Does It Take To Schedule Visa Interview

By Tiara

Finding time to prepare for a visa interview can feel like an impossible task, even for those with experience scheduling interviews.

Interviews are usually one hour long, but some take longer depending on how many questions they ask you and what kind of interview it is (i.e. business trip or residential visit). Some countries require more than one interview, which adds to the total length.

With that in mind, here’s our tip: Don’t overbook yourself!

Don’t worry about being late for your next appointment, because you will probably be early for this one. By leaving enough time, you will have time to relax and focus on preparing for the important part — the interview!

Reminder: If you need to run last-minute errands, do not waste time looking up information online, doing research, or rushing through pre-interview preparations. This will only make it harder to stay focused until the interview.

Instead, simply put all the necessary materials away and leave yourself adequate time to get ready. When you're finally ready, you'll enjoy having extra time to refresh and recall things for the interview.

Narrow down your list of potential locations

how long does it take to schedule visa interview

If you are very close to an office, or the visa officer works in an area that is easy for them to get to, then using their home as a location is not a good idea. This could potentially create some uncomfortable situations for them or you, depending on how they feel at the time!

Interviews with international consulates take place at different times and places dependent on when someone has free time. Some days there may be no interview until later in the day, so it’s best to find out which days this is likely to happen before heading off alone.

It is very difficult to prepare for what kind of questions might be asked during an interview, but knowing who you are trying to meet with and what their department is can help you anticipate certain things.

By being well prepared, you will know what to do if these questions arise. Even though such conversations are mostly about business, it is always appropriate to dress professionally and behave with respect. You don’t want to come across as disrespectful or casual.

Don’t forget to check out our article: Best Ways To Prepare For Your First Day At A New Job.

Contact the embassy or consulate in person

how long does it take to schedule visa interview

Finding out how long it takes to schedule an interview with a visa service can feel like chasing your tail through a maze. Luckily, you are not alone in this quest!

Most embassies and consulates have online applications that allow you to apply for a visa via their website. Some even offer fast track options so you do not have to go through the normal process of setting up an appointment and going into the interview.

Many times, there is someone already working at the visa office who will be able to tell you when the next available appointment is. They may also be able to give you tips on what to bring to the interview, such as documents and pictures.

Prepare your application

how long does it take to schedule visa interview

After receiving notification of an interview, most employers will ask you to fill out some kind of application. This is typically done through their internal applications that they use to recruit new employees.

These applications are designed to gather basic information such as dates of employment, dependents, addresses, etc. Some companies have online applications where you can apply directly from your device, while others require you to bring in the app or PDF version.

Be sure to check with the employer ahead of time to make sure it has the appropriate applications and what features those apps have. They may also request that you upload these applications yourself!

In addition to the applications, many employers will ask for a resume and sometimes a cover letter. These could be sent via email or mailed along with the applications.

Find out what time the visa interview will take place

how long does it take to schedule visa interview

After receiving your invitation, you will be given a specific time for your appointment at the embassy or consulate. This is typically one hour long and there may be some initial small talk before getting into more serious business.

You should know that this time can change so it’s best to arrive early to ensure yourself of a quick visit.

A common question people have when scheduling their interviews is how many days in advance they should schedule them. The answer really depends on you!

If you are applying during off hours (between 8 AM and 5 PM, for instance) then going two weeks ahead of time would probably be enough to confirm your appointment.

But if you are applying during peak times (such as between 9 AM and 1 PM), then only setting your appointment one week in advance would be appropriate.

By being aware of these timing quirks, you will know whether to plan with one week or two ahead of time.

Dress the part

how long does it take to schedule visa interview

If you have received word that your visa has been scheduled, then it’s time to get yourself into interview mode! First, make sure to dress for the occasion. Even if you don’t think you will need much sleep before the interview, you never know when something unexpected happens.

We recommend wearing comfortable, casual clothes. You do not want to be nervous about wrinkling or matching too many things. Also, remember that this is a professional setting so keep up with etiquette. No jeans, no sweatshirts – dress like a pro!

If possible, try to organize your day ahead of time. This can be done through organized meetings, work friends, or family. If everything is in order, then you are more likely to stay relaxed and focused on the task at hand.

Most importantly, DO NOT PANIC! All visas require several days to process so there is nothing really you can do until then. But being well prepared is the best way to remain calm and confident during the process.

Know the venue

how long does it take to schedule visa interview

Many international visa offices require you to make an appointment to attend your interview. This is common practice as most people are not able to come in during business hours, so this way they can schedule more time with prospective candidates.

Some departments also ask if you have any referrals or letters of recommendation when you book your appointment. If you do, please tell them about it before your visit so that it can be verified.

This may sound tedious, but it’s important to know how long it takes to get scheduled!

We recommend doing your research one week ahead of time to ensure that you don’t miss your chance. And once you have your invite, then two weeks should be enough time to prepare for the meeting.

But remember, even though these appointments are usually longer than 30 minutes, there might be some questions that take much longer depending on the person asking.

Prepare your list of questions

how long does it take to schedule visa interview

The next step in preparing for your visa interview is figuring out how you are going to ask all of these questions. You do not need to know every little thing, but it makes sense to be at least superficially familiar with what things matter most to assess visa eligibility.

It’s easy to get distracted by the more detailed parts of the process, so try to focus on the big picture items first. These include topics such as employment history, proof of sufficient savings, evidence of dependents, etc.

Once you have those covered, then you can move onto getting answers to specific questions about each item! Don’t worry if you don’t quite understand everything right away- this is totally normal. Just go into the appointment prepared, and you should feel much better afterwards.

If anything seems suspicious or unclear, make sure to ask very pointedly! A lot of countries have resources available where you can lookup something like ‘Does (topic) mean (something)?’, and that could help you sort out any potential problems before the appointment.

Make a plan for after the interview

how long does it take to schedule visa interview

After your visa interview, the next step is to make arrangements for what happens afterwards. You will need to know where you are staying, how long you have to be there, and if you have transport back home or from the meeting location.

It’s good to know at least some basic facts about the place you’ll be staying so that you can find out when you'll get back home and how to get there.

You should also check with the embassy whether they offer any help with return flights or transportation home.