How to Do Well at a U.S. Visa Interview: Advice from a Former Consular Officer . Part 1

Thứ Tư, 05 Tháng Hai 201400:00(Xem: 20598)
How to Do Well at a U.S. Visa Interview: Advice from a Former Consular Officer . Part 1
A visa is a permission to travel to the US and to request that an inspecting immigration officer at the US airport admit the person to the United States. A visa interview is designed to help the consular officer to decide if the applicant is eligible under the law to be admitted to the United States.

The visa applicant's answers to the officer’s questions are critically important.

Visitors for business or pleasure must show that (a) their purpose for entering the U.S. is sincere and lawful, (b) they will enter temporarily and return to their foreign residence abroad, and (c) they have sufficient funds available to avoid unauthorized employment.

Applicants for spouse or fiancée visas must be able to convince the officer that the relationship is genuine. Each consul has his or her own idea of what a “genuine” relationship is, and that is the reason why at least 30% of spouse and fiancée cases are denied. In most of these denied cases, the officer will ask for additional evidence of relationship.

Consular officers focus on answers that the applicant gives to the officer’s questions, and the applicant's answers on the online visa application (Form DS-260). Most consular officers do not relay on the applicant’s documents to reach a decision, and that is why in many cases the officers do not want to see anything that the applicant brought to the interview. Still, visa applicants should bring with them any relevant evidence that may help establish visa eligibility.

In many cases, the applicant does not prepare the DS260 visa application. Someone does that for them. Still, the applicant should be fully familiar with the answers to all questions on the Form DS-260 and all documents submitted before the interview, such as the I-130 Petition.

The applicant must always tell the truth and should also be sure that nothing s/he says during the interview conflicts with any answers on the DS-260, or the I-130. Consular officers often look for inconsistencies and they may use these inconsistencies to deny the case. So, if a correction or clarification needs to be made, the applicant should do that before the consular officer has the chance to form a negative opinion.

Try to anticipate the questions that the consul might ask and practice your responses. Keep in mind that if you show anger, frustration or other strong negative emotions, the visa is likely to be denied.

Try to imagine that, instead of applying for a visa, you are applying for a bank loan. No banker will lend money to someone who appears distrustful, disorganized, nervous or frightened, or whose hands are shaking or voice is quavering, or who avoids making eye contact. Same thing at a visa interview.

In short, it is the applicant’s attitude and interview answers that are the key to approval. Documents and papers are only of secondary importance.

Q.1. Is it possible for the sponsor to attend the visa interview with the applicant, in order to answer any questions that the consul might have?
A.1. No one can accompany the applicant at the visa interview, but US citizen sponsors can wait at the American Citizen Services (ACS) section of the Consulate in case the interview officer wants to ask him anything.

Q.2. Does the visa applicant need to be familiar with all the answers on his DS260, the I-130, and G325A ?
A.2. It doesn’t make any difference if the sponsor or someone else filled out the forms. The applicant should know what is on them and be prepared for questions from the Consular officer. The Consul will use the information on these forms in reaching a decision about the application.

Q.3. In spouse and fiancée cases, is it helpful to try to submit a timeline of relationship on the day of the interview?
A.3. Some consuls refuse to accept any papers on the day of the interview. They want to rely on their perceptions about the applicants. If the case is denied, then a timeline submitted after the interview may be helpful if it can cover some problems that came up during the interview.

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