How Long Visa Interview Takes

By Tiara

Recent developments in visa processing have left many people with little hope for faster service. This article will talk about how long it takes to process a visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country, as well as what you can do to reduce the time it takes to receive your passport and travel documents.

Many times, waiting for visa services is due to an unexpected delay. For example, if there was a fire at the embassy, staff must first make sure no one was hurt before they begin work. Or maybe there’s been a natural disaster and part of the office has been destroyed, requiring reconstruction.

While these are unfortunate events that happen very rarely, when they occur it can take weeks or months to get everything back up and running. And during this period, you will not be able to access your personal documents or paperwork.

There are things you can do to help promote healthy communication between yourself and the US Government (and their embassies and consulates abroad) while you wait. These strategies will keep you motivated and hopeful while you're preparing for your trip.

Dress the part

During your visa interview, the consular officer will likely ask you some very basic questions about yourself and what country you are visiting in Canada.

They may also ask you to provide proof of income or proof of savings so they can determine if you can easily stay in Canada for the length of time that you have stated.

If this is the case, then you should be prepared with these things. Make sure you are dressed appropriately for the setting!

You do not need to wear expensive clothes, but looking professional is important. You do not want to look sloppy because you could potentially fail to put effort into your appearance.

General fashion rules apply: dress like someone who would enjoy spending time outside, keep hair and makeup simple, and pack enough clothing for an afternoon at the mall.

This article will help you prepare for your visa interview by talking more about how long typical visa interviews take. We will also talk about what makes a good picture for your file.

Be familiar with the company

how long visa interview takes

In my career, I have conducted over 1,000 visa interviews for various employers in different industries across the globe. While some companies are faster than others, there is never a clear cut answer as to why one takes longer than the other.

What is common, however, is that the length of time needed for an interview varies very much depending on who you ask!

Interviewers’ levels of experience also play a big factor. Some may be more experienced than others so they may feel comfortable going at a slower pace while others may need extra time to gather all the information required.

With that said, here are some tips for how long it typically takes an employer to get through their first round of questions during a non-immigrant visa (or immigrant) interview.

Be familiar with the country

how long visa interview takes

The length of time it takes to get through an immigration interview depends mostly on two things: how long the officer spends talking about you, and what they ask you.

The first thing that can lengthen your visa interview is if they seem very interested in learning more about you or exploring different aspects of your life. This could be due to something you mentioned during the meeting or because they are curious about someone else.

If this happens, then the interviewer will likely take their own time getting back to business-related questions. They may even invite you to talk about yourself for a while!

The second reason that officers may spend extra time asking questions is because they want to make sure they have all the information before moving on. Or maybe they need to confirm some details about you that they learned from another source.

Dress for success

how long visa interview takes

When you dress for a job interview, you should aim to look polished and professional. This means no sweatshirts with logos or flashy jewelry that can distract from your message and tone.

If this is too expensive an idea, then at least be sure to pick up some inexpensive neutral clothing such as black pants and a white shirt. You do not need designer clothes to impress employers!

When possible, try to find out which merchandise brands are popular with the company so you can buy those products. For example, Amazon has great discounts and coupons on many items, making it cost-effective to purchase things online before traveling.

And once you arrive at the venue, go through your bag thoroughly to make sure nothing important was left behind.

Know your company's policy

how long visa interview takes

As mentioned earlier, how long it takes to get through the visa interview process will vary depending on what country you are applying in and what kind of business you have. Some countries may be quicker than others!

Some things that can affect how quick you go through the process include: length of time given for the appointment, level of staff availability at the embassy, as well as personal preference of officials.

It is very difficult to give hard numbers on how long the average visa interview takes, as this depends so much on each individual officer. What we can do though, is talk about some averages.

Many people believe that there is a standard amount of time an applicant has to wait before their interview begins, whether they are speaking with officers or not. This seems logical as most applicants must meet with a consular official first, then either a customer service representative (CSR) or supervisor before meeting with a second official.

However, what if I tell you that this assumption is wrong? That there is no set time frame when talking with individuals within the consulate, only when attending a formal meeting like with a higher-up employee does timing become more strict?

This is something that many applicants are unfortunately made aware of too late in the game, and it costs them valuable time. Why? Because they spend all this time waiting for the next step, and it just doesn't happen.

Be prepared to move

how long visa interview takes

At this stage, the employer will ask how long it’ll take you to feel comfortable in their office. This is typically a vague question that can mean many things. They may be asking if you are confident in yourself and your skills and whether or not you feel relaxed at your workplace, or they may just want to know what time of day feels best for you.

Either way, don’t get caught off guard! Keep your focus on having a good time and being able to clearly communicate about issues will help you stay calm and focused.

The average total visa interview length is around two hours, but this varies wildly depending on several factors such as employment history, number of applications, level of expertise required, etc.

Luckily, there are some helpful tips to cut down on the duration of your visit. Starting three days before your appointment, review your documents and plan out your presentation. Make sure all your paperwork is easily accessible and organized.

Also, do not bring anything with you other than your own personal belongings and a small amount of pen/paper. No laptops, phones, or tablets allowed into the meeting space unless you have been given permission earlier.

In fact, even taking notes during the meeting is discouraged as it could look like you're trying to distract others from talking. Some employers require you to turn off mobile devices and use plain text messaging apps instead, so make sure you're aware of those restrictions ahead of time.

Be friendly

how long visa interview takes

Now that you are both here, it is time to make small talk. Try asking about their family or work, but do not overdo it as they might feel pressured into giving more personal information.

You can also ask how long people have lived in this country, what kind of jobs they hold, and if there’s anything special happening at the moment. People love talking about themselves so don’t be shy!

By being familiar with the things going on in someone else’s life, you will seem more interested and know what to say. If your common ground seems to run dry, ask if anyone has any advice for the next person who will probably tell you something very interesting.

Never assume that the person you meet at the embassy is like everyone back home. We all have our secrets – some much bigger than others.

Everyone brings a different story to the table which makes each individual valuable.

Be confident

how long visa interview takes

It is very common to become nervous or even frightened before your visa interview, especially if you are not sure of what is being asked.
You would probably be feeling some level of nerves now!

Many people begin preparing for their visa by buying or ordering passport pictures, getting health check results, and finding time to live in the country longer than just few days.

These things can help make you feel more prepared but nothing can really prepare you until you go through your actual visa application process.

What most people do not realize is that there’s no set schedule for how long an employer will take during the employment eligibility verification (EEV) stage of the visa process.

This could vary significantly depending on the person conducting the EEV as well as the length of time it takes them to get going.

It also depends where the employee-verification meeting is held — sometimes they will be done over the phone or via video chat rather than face to face, which can reduce overall time spent waiting.

So, while it may seem like a long time, try not to stress too much about it unless something has gone wrong. We all have jobs so there’s always another one we can turn to for help.