The United States Visitor visas, otherwise known as the B Visa, are nonimmigrant visas established by the US Travel Authorities for foreigners who wish to enter the US for business (B1) or tourism purposes (B2).
A traveler can enter the US under the B-1 business visa to carry out the following activities:
- To consult with business associates
- To attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
- To settle an estate
- To negotiate a contract
Whereas a traveler can enter the US under the B-2 tourism visa to carry out the following activities:
- Tourism or vacation (holiday)
- To visit friends or relatives
- For medical treatment
- To participate in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
- To participate by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating
- To enroll in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)
US Visitor Visa Interview
Every person who wishes to enter the US has to apply for a US visa. Exempt from this requirement are the countries under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), who instead have to apply online for an Electronic Travel Authorization.
People who qualify to apply for a Travel Authorization do not need to attend an interview.
However, those who apply for a US visa, from the age of 14 to the age of 79, have to attend an in-person interview at the US embassy or consulate in their country.
US Visa Interview Appointment
In order to be able to attend an interview you must firstly appoint one, online. After you complete the DS-160 form online, go to https://ais.usvisa-info.com and pay the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) application fee and schedule the interview. Follow these steps in order to fulfill these two tasks:
- Create a user account
- Enter the DS-160 confirmation number you have received in your email after completing the form
- Complete the courier document return process
- Pay the application fee
- Schedule an appointment for interview
The MRV Fee for visa applicants depends on the type of visa one applies for. The schedule is tiered as follows:
- MRV Fee – $160
- In case you still find it unclear how to schedule an interview for a US visitor Visa then contact the embassy / consulate, and they will give you clear instructions on what you will have to do.
US Visitor Visa Interview Questions
Before you go to the appointment center, prepare yourself in advance, so when you meet the consular officer you will know what to say and how to answer their questions. There is a list of common questions that are generally asked in a US visitor visa interview.
The questions that you are asked during a US tourist visa interview do not differ that much from the ones asked during a US business visa interview. We have listed these questions and given some advice on how to answer.
B-1 and B-2 visa interview questions
No matter if you are applying for a B-1 Visa or a B-2 Visa the questions that you will be asked at the beginning of the interview with the consular officer will be the same.
Usually the consular officer starts the conversation by commenting something on the weather, the rush hour in the morning, or the long queue at the embassy. That is because they want you to feel comfortable and make you feel less nervous or stressed.
Have all documents in your hands, nicely arranged and in order. Hand to the interviewer every document that he asks for, following by explanations if you see it necessary. In general, the commonly asked questions for US Visitor visa interview are as follows.
What is the purpose of your visit to the US?
This is just a warm-up question. Answer by simply telling the consular the reason behind your purpose of travel, whatever it is as:
- “For business purposes – to negotiate a contract.”
- “To visit my mother, who lives in the US.”
- “For medical treatment.”
Answer shortly and clearly, since the time you have with the consular officer is short and you do not want to waste it by talking gibberish, and nor does the interviewer.
Have you been to the US before?
It is very important to answer honestly. Tell about the reasons you have visited the US before, i.e. tourism, training, medical reasons, etc. Even if you have stayed beyond your visa validity, been deported or detained during your previous stay in the US, you must tell. The interviewer has the information either way, so it is of no use to lie. If you have never been to the US before, simply tell that.
Do you have relatives or friends currently in the US?
Even if you have some far away relatives that you only meet every three – four years or even less, tell the consular about them. Alternatively, even if you have a friend you have only met once or twice, you will have to tell the consular again. It is better to do so, rather than the consular officer finding it out later, since that could put at risk your chances to get a visa. The embassy is mostly scared that their visitors will try to remain in the US and hiding such information as having a relative or friend residing in the US, might make your purpose of visit look more suspicious.
Details on your friends / relatives in the US
If you have any, you will be asked questions on how long they have been living in the US, their addresses, what they work etc. Therefore, try to contact your friends and relatives in advance and ask them about this information.
Where will you be residing in the United States?
Provide the interviewer with the full address of the place where you will be staying during your visit. If you will be staying over at somebody’s house, shortly tell the consular the relation you have with them. Otherwise, if you will be staying at a hotel simply provide the name and address of the hotel.
What is the reason for traveling at this particular time?
If you are applying for a B-1 visa it is easier for the interviewer to accept your reasons. Whereas, if you are traveling under the B-1 visa, then you have to give stronger reasons, as
“Only during this period I can take days off at work.”
“My friend / relative has available space at her home / is free only during this time of the year.”
“My medical condition has worsened now, and I can no longer receive the right treatment in my home country.”
How long will you be staying in the US?
Tell the interviewer the date you plan to enter the US and the day you plan to leave.
Why do you plan to stay so long, can you stay shorter?
This is a question through which the interviewer usually asks to persons who have applied for a visa with a longer than 6 months validity. If you have applied for such visa, you must have a strong reason behind it, so provide the interviewer with a comprehensive explanation.
Have you booked your tickets?
If you will be asked this question depends on your situation, however if you have already done such thing, hand the booking confirmation letter to the interviewer.
How much do you think your stay in the US will cost to you?
Prepare an itinerary for your US trip, including all types of expenses. Present this itinerary to the interviewer when asked this question. It will give the consular officer the idea that you know what you are doing, and that you are aware how much you will be spending.
What do you do for a living? How much do you earn?
Tell the interviewer about your profession, what you do in general, how long have you been working there, as well as about your workplace, its name etc. Tell them about the income you receive from this particular job. If you have other types of income i.e. rent or freelancing, present how much do you receive monthly / annually from them.
How will you be financing your trip? Who is your sponsor?
Show proof of all your income and savings if you plan to finance your trip with your own financial means. On the other side, if someone will be sponsoring your visit to the US then present your relationship with them, their income and other details to prove that they are capable to cover your financial needs during your stay in the US.
Are you married? Do you have children? Do you have pets? Who will take care of them while you are away?
The consular wants to know if you are leaving someone behind, to whom you are committed and you will have to go back to. If you have children or pets, tell them who will take care of them while you are away, and what is your relationship with the caretaker.
How can you assure me that you will return to your home country?
Try to prove to the consular officer that you have strong ties to your home country and that by no means you plan to remain in the US. Try to prove that by telling to the interviewer you have a girlfriend / fiancé / wife, children, parents to whom you plan getting back to (if you have them). Present your properties, your business, your friendships and other relations you have with other people. Show a contract you have with your employer, or other types of engagements that prove you must go back to your home country.