O1 Visa Interview

By Tiara

When you move to the United States, there are lots of things that must be done within a certain time frame. One of these is having your visa interview. This process usually takes place around one week after you enter the country as a tourist or through an employment contract.

At this interview, you will need to prove that you have enough money to stay in America for the length of time stated in your work contract or vacation trip. You also need to confirm that you will not take part in any illegal activity while here. If you do, then it’s pretty likely that you won’t be able to remain in the U.S. very long!

There is no rule saying how many people should attend a visa interview, but most employers require at least two witnesses when they happen in person. Sometimes only one other person is needed if the employer is familiar with you and/or the visit goes really smoothly.

If possible, we recommend being present during the whole thing because it can sometimes get tricky timing-wise. For example, if there was a question about whether you knew where to go for medical care, you might want to know ahead of time so you don’t waste time looking before you realize you left something important back home.

We also suggest being aware of the location of the meeting and knowing some basic English words such as “yes” and “no.

Dress the part

o1 visa interview

Even though you’ve done this before, do not repeat last year's mistakes! Keep your hair and makeup in place, dress appropriately for the setting, and shower ahead of time to freshen up.

You don't want to look like you didn’t put any effort into preparing or staying awake late into the night to get ready. This looks unprofessional and could be disastrous if you run into trouble because of it.

Be careful with jewelry; opt for simple, no-diamond styles. And while being fashionably dressed is lovely, remember that these things cost money! If you must layer something up, keep it classic and inexpensive.

And even though some people may consider jeans appropriate business casual clothing, they are definitely not. Pick more formal clothes that can be paired easily with other items (think pants with a jacket).

Research the embassy or consulate

o1 visa interview

Recent changes to the visa process have made it more difficult for potential immigrants to come into the United States. With that, there are also new rules for what kind of documents you need to prove your identity and eligibility for a visa.

Many people begin thinking about visas at this stage because they’re looking to move to America. There is a one year residency requirement for most US Visas, so making sure you meet that criterion is important. People usually start gathering proof in early spring before submitting applications.

The exact timing depends on when you want to enter the country, but it makes sense to do it around March–April since those with shorter deadlines will be approaching their limit later in the year. It’s best to get all of your proofs done as soon as possible since some may require close engagement with members of the community, like friends or family who live in the USA.

Plan your interview

o1 visa interview

After arriving at the embassy, you will be met by an officer who will ask some general questions to determine if you are eligible for a visa and whether you would like to proceed with applying for one. He or she may also want to know more about your intentions while in Canada and what kind of employment you have lined up.

This can sometimes turn into a longer conversation as not every applicant is able to stay in Canada temporarily. If this happens it should go without saying that being able to prove you have enough money to back up your trip (or access to funds) will help ensure that you don’t need to return home!

The timing of these interviews varies depending on how busy the consulate is during the given day, but most take 30-60 minutes to get through. Make sure to give yourself time to prepare for the meeting so that you do not feel rushed.

Once everything has been discussed, the resident visa officers will decide if you qualify for a short term visit (O1), long term visit (F2) or student visitor (J). If you do not qualify for any of those, they may recommend that you apply for Canadian permanent residency instead.

We cannot say this often enough – even though it may feel like there is no progress made, you have done something very hard already!

By laying out all of your applications and negotiations beforehand, you have shown that you are willing to put in effort to remain in Canada for a few months.

Know the situation

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Before you meet with an officer at your visa interview, you will be given a little bit of time to review some materials. These include the official invitation letter or appointment notice, the I-129F form, and the reminder note that says what day and time your interview is.

You should also make sure you have all of your documents in order and are aware of how many days you have until your interview.

If anything looks suspicious or does not seem authentic, it can affect whether you get admitted into the country or not.

Prepare your passport

o1 visa interview

If you have an appointment, then make sure to bring your passport as well as proof of residence. Make sure to also update all personal information in your visa applications within the last six months!

While most people can easily travel to Canada for one month, it is not easy or possible for some to do so. To ensure that you are given permission to enter Canada, we must confirm that you belong here and that you will return home after your visit. This process is called “visa refusal”.

If this happens, there may be another opportunity to apply for a short term visitor visa (O1) or possibly even a long-term resident visa (C1). However, this would require you to prove yourself more likely to live in Canada if granted permanent residency.

We recommend gathering as much evidence as possible to show how living in Canada is important to you. Include documents such as job offers, testimonials and letters stating why you believe you deserve citizenship. You can find lots of tips and tricks for applying for Canadian visas at CanIbecomeCanadian.ca.

Prepare your list of questions

The next level of visa interview is called the Oath taking or personal interview. This happens typically one to two weeks after you apply for the VISA, depending on when you hear back from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

During this appointment, your interviewer will ask you about past experiences as well as plans for the future. These are not only questions related to the VISA process, but also general inquiries about yourself and what kind of person you are.

The format varies slightly per embassy, but it usually starts with an easy question that requires a short answer. After that, they may transition into more involved questions where you must be careful with how much detail you give. Don’t forget to review your application materials!

It is very important to be prepared for this meeting. Know your case inside and out and be ready to discuss it in depth. You do not want to spend time explaining things if you left something out because you were too busy preparing.

Practice your oral English

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After arriving at the airport, you will be met by an officer in a private room for your visa interview. This person will not work for American Citizen Services (ACS) unless you are very clear with what questions they ask.

Therefore, it is important to practice your answers ahead of time so that when you meet them, you’re already well prepared.

The officers may also speak some other languages such as Arabic or Hindi, but this is only if they are familiar with those.

They will probably not make any formal notes during the meeting, however there is usually enough space to write down something quickly.

What things should you bring to the meeting? You do not need anything too elaborate, just remember to have it because you declared it!

Something to carry around while you wait outside the building would be helpful. There is no rule saying you can’t take a break, so feel free to grab a coffee or go to the bathroom if needed.

Practice your written English

o1 visa interview

Even though you will be speaking to the Consulate about mostly personal matters, it is important to know some basic things about you. Your answers in these interviews will likely be read by other people, so make sure they are honest but also appropriate!

If there is anything about yourself or family that can affect your ability to stay in the country, now is the time to be completely truthful. Do not try to conceal information unless you have good reasons for doing so.

It is very common for employers to ask about criminal records or if you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. If you have, be prepared to discuss the nature of the offense, when it occurred, and how it was resolved.

Depending on what country you are applying from, there may be legal limits on how much alcohol you drink, if any at all. It is best to be completely aware of this before attending an interview.