Those who wish to enter the US for business purposes or for tourism purposes may have 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 an Electronic System for 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.
You must appoint a US visa interview before attending one. 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.
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.
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What are the B1 B2 Visa Interview Questions?
No matter if you are applying for a B1 Visa or a B2 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. The commonly asked questions for US Visitor visa interview are the following:
What is the purpose of your visit to the US?
This is just a warm-up question. Just answer in two-three sentences which clearly explain the reasons 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.”
- 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.
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?
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.
What is the reason for traveling at this particular time?
If you are applying for a B1 visa it is easier for the interviewer to accept your reasons. Whereas, if you are traveling under the B1 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?
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.
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.
Who will you be traveling with?
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.
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?
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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 your visa expiration. Show that you have very strong ties to your country, by telling them you have family, kids, pets, friends, property, etc.
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.