Recent developments in visa processing have left many people frustrated with the time it takes to get into the United States. Applicants are spending hours upon hours waiting for their turn at the consulate, or they are being told that there is no way to speed up the process.
Some consulates even offer online applications so applicants can apply from the comfort of their home but this only works if you already have an approved US visitor’s visa!
If you are experiencing long wait times for your visa interview, here are some tips to help you navigate the process and hopefully get through faster. These strategies will not work for everyone, as each embassy has different procedures, but they may be worth a try.
Reminder: Not every country allows its citizens to enter using a tourist visa so make sure you know what type of visa you need before starting any planning.
During your visa interview, you’re likely going to be asked some very in-depth questions that pertain to both you and your family as well as our country. These can get pretty personal sometimes so it is important to be ready with a clear understanding of who you are as a person and what your life plans are.
The consulate will want to know more about you than just whether or not you would like to live here. They may ask about relationships, employment, education, etc. This will also give them an idea if you have ties to the community and/or countries outside of America.
It’s totally normal to feel nervous before a visa interview but don’t let this affect how you respond to their questions. Keep yourself calm and focused. Use honest answers and do not guess at anything they might ask you!
If possible, try to review your application materials ahead of time and make sure your passport is up to date. Also, be aware of your visit timing so you aren’t rushing around trying to find a place to stay.
Hopefully you've already done most of the hard work by gathering all the necessary documents, but now it's time to really focus on your individual visa interview.
A few days before your interview, make a plan for how you will respond if asked about past visa issues or other concerns. If you have an appointment that morning, you can and should be prepared for it!
You do not want to arrive late for your meeting because you were trying to figure out what could potentially upset the immigration officer. And remember, most officers are sympathetic towards immigrants looking for a better life in America, so don’t get defensive – they may even feel sorry for you!
Instead, aim to look confident and knowledgable of the truth. Don’t try to explain away the lies unless you are sure you can back up your story with evidence.
After you confirm your appointment with USCIS, the next thing you should do is make sure you are well-prepared for your interview. You want to be as ready as possible before you arrive at the venue.
This means packing up some snacks, putting on your best suit or dress code, and making sure all of your documents are in order. Make sure your phone is fully charged and has enough battery left over!
In addition to those things, it’s helpful to know the area around the office so that you don’t waste time looking for parking or going to a different location to find a space.
While most visa interviews take place in an informal setting, there are times when more formal procedures are used such as the VISA-FACE SYSTEM (where you look directly into the eyes of another person while talking). Yours might depend on what kind of interview they have, but both are usually conducted within the context of the Department of Homeland Security.
During an interview, most immigration offices will ask you several questions that have to do with your employment history, current position, and potential opportunities in the country.
They also may ask about whether or not you meet the requirements for citizenship in the United States, and if so, what status you have.
If possible, be prepared with examples and evidence supporting your answers. But even if you are not fully qualified, being able as early as possible to recognize issues can help you deal with any unexpected questions.
The way you behave with other people is one of the biggest factors that determine how your day goes. Your behavior can make a difference between getting invited for coffee or not, or being given a job or being told “you’re not quite right for us at this time.”
In the case of a visa interview, your behavior can make a big difference in whether you get accepted into the country or not. This article will talk about some ways to boost your chances during your next visa interview.
Give a short intro and then quickly jump onto talking about their work
Most countries require employers to prove they have tried to recruit locally before bringing someone in from abroad as an employee. They will ask why you are leaving the company, what opportunities exist here, if there are any openings, and so on.
The interviewer may even ask how much experience you have in the position they want you to take on. If they feel you don't seem like you've thought through these questions, or you take too long to answer them, it could hurt your employment prospects.
Start by introducing yourself and then immediately move onto discussing their career. It's better to be direct and clear than to go off topic and drag things out.
Even though it may feel like your time is running out, do not worry! This can be done! If you have been invited for an interview, then they probably wanted to talk to you before granting entry into the country.
Interviews are usually a two or three hour process where there will be questions asked of you. Some might even be difficult questions that require longer answers. You do not need to respond to all of these, but picking one or two important things to say can help facilitate a speedy meeting.
If possible, prepare ahead of time by thinking about what makes you passionate and sharing those thoughts with yourself. Then, once you arrive at the venue, go through your notes to make sure everything is ready.
Knowing what you want to say helps you focus more clearly on the conversation. By having some material prepared, you decrease the chance of being distracted while speaking.
Even though you have been invited for an interview, it is not appropriate to start asking questions until the interviewer initiates one. Sending out signals that you are interested in their career may be the thing that sets the conversation off!
If you feel like the conversation has stalled or gone silent, then ask a question. But make sure your question is related to the job and/or the company, and not about the other person. For example, if you heard rumors about the employer being expensive, then ask whether they ever experience such budget constraints.
Your questions should also be relevant and thoughtful. If you see someone walking away, take note of what area they spoke about and try to join them later so you can speak with them outside the office.
Most visa officers are not super-intense, but they do want to know you well, so be prepared for some questions about yourself. They may ask about your career or hobbies, things like that!
But don’t worry – this is totally normal as part of their job is assessing people and getting to know them.
And while it can make you nervous at first, you’re more than likely being asked these questions because they perceive you as someone with good social skills who isn’t too sure of themselves. Or maybe they just really admire you and think you’ll fit in well into their country. Either way, being aware of your personal life will help you feel less stressed out!
Don’t forget to enjoy the time you have together during the interview - having a chat is very important when looking to extend residency or work visas in another country.