Foreigners who wish to visit the US and are not included in the US visa waiver program, need to apply for a visa. When applying for a United States visa, every applicant will have to go through some certain procedures, including attending a visa interview.
This in-person interview is a meeting with a consular officer who asks a few questions to the applicant, who also hands in the required documents. The interview must be appointed in advance, and a fee must be paid for the processing of visa application.
This article will go through the whole process of a US visa interview, the visa questions & answers, so you can be prepared prior to your interview.
Before you appoint your interview, know that you must fulfill some tasks in advance, as gathering the required documents, and completing a Medical Examination. If you do not fulfill them, your application might be delayed or even rejected automatically.
Below, you will find these tasks listed, and also a guide how to fulfill each of them rightly.
Completion of a Medical Examination
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services wants every applicant to complete a medical appointment with an authorized physician in the country where the they will attend their interview.
By “authorized physician” we mean a doctor who is approved by the US embassy in your country. If you complete your medical check with another doctor, the consular will not accept it as valid.
The medical examination includes a review of the applicant’s
- medical history,
- physical examination (which includes at least eyes, ears, nose and throat, extremities, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, skin, and external genitalia)
- chest X-ray
- blood tests.
After the check up takes place, the authorized physician will either hand to the applicant the medical examination results in a sealed envelope (Do not open it!) to submit them on the day of the visa interview alongside with the other documents, or will send the results directly to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate by himself (through mail, e-mail, or in person).
Here you can find a list of the US Embassies and Consulates around the world and check who are the approved physicians.
In general, when you go to meet the doctor, you need to have with you the following documents:
- Your visa interview letter
- Your passport
- Passport-sized color photographs (the number varies from 2 to 4 depending on the embassy)
- A copy of your immunization records
Check the link given above for information on extra documents that might be required from applicants from different countries.
Register for Courier Service
Some of the embassies and consulates require from visa applicants to pre-register for courier services, in order to send their documents back by courier and not hand them back in person.
Visit the U.S embassy website to check whether you need to register for courier services.
Gather the required documents
The main part of every visa application for every country is without a doubt the application form submitted alongside the required documents. Every applicant no matter the age must submit some certain required documents during the visa interview. These are personal documents, documents on travel history, health history, security information etc.
The commonly required documents are as follow:
- Interview appointment letter from the National Visa Center (NVC)
- Passport – valid for at least six month beyond applicants intended date of entry in the US
- Two passport photographs according to the required standards
- Results of medical exam in a sealed envelope
- Translation of documents which are not in English
Depending on the type of visa you are applying for you will have to submit other visa-specific documents.
On the day of Interview
Before attending the interview take care to prepare in advance so when you go at the embassy you do not feel lost. You will be interviewed by a consular officer, as part of which process you will have your fingerprints scanned.
Arrive at the consulate
The first thing that you need to keep in mind is that you must be on time for your interview. It is true that many times you may have to wait in a queue in order to attend the interview, thus meeting the consular officer an hour or more later than appointed. However, do not risk to be there late, even if someone tells you there’s a queue at the embassy. Be there at least 10 minutes earlier just in case.
In case you are late just a couple of minutes, and there’s no queue then your interview will be dismissed. You will have to appoint another and wait for your interview if such thing happens.
Do not bring any foods, laptops, backpacks or big bags with you at the embassy. Take as less things with you as possible. Wear something comfortable but a little bit official.
At the entrance of the embassy you will go through a security detector, which in most of the cases includes a full body metal detector scan. After that you will be given a token for your interview and then your will have to give your fingerprints. An officer will scan your fingerprints, and give you further directions.
After fingerprinting, you will have to wait in a lounge area, where you must wait quietly for your turn. You will hear your name when it is your turn. Have your documents arranged earlier, so you will not have a mess in your hands when you meet the interviewer.
US Visa Interview Questions
Usually you are interviewed by one consular officer, who is often pretty friendly. There is a number of questions that are asked to almost every visitor, no matter what type of visa they are applying for. Then there are the visa specific questions that are related to the type of visa you are applying for.
Usually, the interviewer starts the conversation with a few simple questions, which you should answer fully and correctly. In general, the most commonly asked questions during an interview are as follows:
Why do you want to travel to the US?
Simply answer about the reason behind your travel. You do not need to talk a lot. Just answer in two-three sentences which clearly explain the reasons behind your wished traveling, i.e. “I am going to visit my aunt, whom I haven’t seen for a long time. She has been inviting me over for a few years now, and only now I have managed to find time to apply for a visa and make the trip.”, “The reason I wish to get a US visa is to visit the country and sightsee. I have been saving for a long time for this trip.”, “I have gained to right to attend a conference / seminar / training.”, etc.
Why do your want to enter the US at this time?
Tell the interviewer the reason why you are wishing to visit the US exactly at this time. Give a reasonable answer, and try not to bluff.
Who will you be traveling with you?
If you are going alone tell so, if you will be going with someone else explain to the consular if these people will apply as your dependants or not, and also what is your relationship with these people.
How long will you be staying?
One week, three months, two days,etc, just give the amount of time you are planning to remain in the US. These questions are just a warm up for the questions to come. The consular officer has all this information in your application in his hands, but however he will just try to get into the real talk this way.
Who is sponsoring your trip?
This is a question they ask just to make sure where your money is coming from. You will be presenting to the interviewer a statement on your bank account and other documents, so of course they know who will be sponsoring your trip.
However, answer simply and clearly. Tell the consular officer that you have your own savings from your income, and if not, tell them the name of the sponsor and your relationship with him / her. If you feel the interviewer is giving you space to talk more about the issue, tell him your sponsor’s occupation and other details that will prove to him you have a strong connection, and there is a strong reason why this person is sponsoring your trip.
Do you have any relatives in the US?
A question that is usually asked to show if the applicant has a reason to stay in the US. This one of the main thing that the consular officer will try to find out about: whether you have a reason to remain in the US and not go back to your country once your visa is about to expire.
Do you have any intention on remaining in the US?
We all know that even if you do have an intention to stay in the US, you will not be telling that to the consular. This question is asked so you have a chance to prove to him you have no such intention. You should be very convincing. Tell them the strongest reasons why you have to get back to your country upon you visa expiration. Show that you have very strong ties to your country, by telling them you have family, kids, pets, friends, property etc.
Who will take care of your house / property / children / pets while you are away?
If you have children or pets, you will have to show to the consular the people who will look after them, and your relationship with that person. The same with house or property.
What do you work in your home country?
Talk about your profession and what you work. Try to be as specific as possible. Tell the interviewer about the company / organization / institution you work in and what they do, and also for how long you have been working there.
Have you been to the US before?
Even if that has been an illegal entry or you have overstayed your visa, you must tell. The embassy already has a register with everything about you, therefore it has no use to lie.
Where will you be staying in the US?
If you have booked a hotel, show your hotel booking and tell the interviewer a bit why you have chosen that hotel. If you will be staying over at friends or relatives show their invitation letter and describe your relationship with them.
Other questions might also be asked as if you are married, your annual income etc. Throughout the whole interview try to convince the interviewer that you have no intention on staying in the US after your visa expires, and that you have strong reasons to return back to your country.
What happens if I don’t show up for my interview?
If the applicant does not show up at the embassy for their scheduled interview, they must contact the embassy or consulate as soon as possible and inform them on the causes that have made impossible attending the interview. One must act this way, otherwise their case might be terminated and fees that have already been paid will not get refunded.