Dos and Don’ts for a U.S. visitor visa interview

Applying for a visa, especially to those countries like the US, which has a reputation for being desirable but challenging, can be daunting. However, if you prepare well, you can maximize your chances of getting your visitor visa application accepted. An important rule determines the success of obtaining a B1/B2 visa: you must not make the visa officer suspicious that you intend to immigrate to America.

Well then, how does one prepare for a US visitor visa interview? We’ll cover the main dos and don’ts so you can navigate through this seemingly complicated process.

Don’t: speak in complicated terms, overshare, or be too emotional

This is especially important if you’re being interviewed in a language native to you but not the interviewer. You don’t need to use complicated terms or sayings which may confuse the visa officer or create a double meaning.

This is good advice in general. No need to try to be clever and risk misunderstanding: just be honest and straightforward.

Another point is to not show too much excitement or emotions in general, especially if it implies that you intend to stay in the US for longer than permitted. 

We may be extreme here, but there’s no need to say something to the effect of “I’m so excited to go, it’s such a wonderful place that I might stay there forever,” as this is not only hyperbole but also may be taken literally.

Do: speak clearly and convincingly

Now we’re on to discussing the actual interview. You will be asked pretty much standard questions about what you’re going to do in the US and other details of your travels, as well as what you do in general: your job, your family, and other details about your life that the interviewers may ask you.

Why would the visa officer ask you these questions? Well, this is because they have to ensure you have something to return to. One of the main points of interviews for US non-immigrant visas is to make sure that you are not immigrating to the US, so making sure that you have a life at home to come back to is one important point they need to find out.

Answer these questions clearly, and in a straightforward manner. Don’t share details that don’t need to be shared. After all, we must respect each other’s time and avoid misunderstanding.

Don’t: book your airline and accommodation in advance

It’s good to be prepared for your journey and some countries’ visa processes may appreciate or even require you to have your whole trip booked in advance. However, this is not necessary in the case of US visitor visas.

What’s more, with the strict requirements and no-return policy in case of rejection, you may be stuck with unusable tickets.

Do: plan your trip well ahead

However, it is still necessary to have your trip planned well ahead. This is at least because you will need the details of your travel plans to answer the questions the interviewer will ask. 

You will need to prove that you are visiting, after all. It might be suspicious if you don’t have unclear plans of what to do in the US during your visit, and a well-planned trip is a proof that you will comply with the conditions of your visa and return to your home country.

Don’t: arrive too early

You don’t need to arrive too early for your visa interview appointment. This is because you will only be let in about the time for your interview. It is necessary to arrive 15 to 20 minutes ahead of the interview.

Do: arrive on time — never late

You should never arrive late for an interview. You’ve picked the time slot yourself, now you have to commit to it. Being late may also negatively affect your first impression in the interview, as it may be seen as a sign of disrespect for others’ time.

Don’t: overthink your interview

Now what’s left is to be confident! There’s so much you can do to prepare well, but you don’t need to overthink it and be nervous. Just know what to answer, and let your confidence shine.

Do: prepare well

And, of course, you need to prepare well! If you’re reading this article, you probably already know the importance of doing that.

Preparing well for a visa interview also means submitting your application correctly: this means that, besides fulfilling the eligibility requirements, you must have filled out the application form correctly, and attached the requirements, including visa application photo, properly.

Don’t: bring too much with you

It’s important to know what to bring. After all, you wouldn’t want to waste all that effort on the outfit by bringing too much stuff. 

You only need to bring the most important things: your required documents, wallet, and keys. No electronics, large bags, or flammables can be brought into the building. Phones and laptops have to be handed in before the interview.

Do: dress properly

They say, “dress for the job you want,” but it doesn’t just apply to job interviews, it also applies to visa interviews.

Okay, let us elaborate on that one. You may be looking to visit the US to go to Disney World, but that doesn’t mean you should dress up like a tourist in Florida. What we mean here is that you should dress up appropriately.

We recommend dressing up as you would at the office when there’s a more formal occasion. By this, we mean we recommend you to lean into business formal. This is especially more expected of you if you’re an office worker.

Interesting Related Article: “How To Get A Canadian Student Visa: The Definitive Guide