Preparation tips for the U.S.Visa Interview

September 20, 2017

Even if you have practiced and prepared, interviews can be very stressful. The night before you probably went to sleep feeling that you are the most qualified person for the job but on the morning of the interview, you start palpitating and have convinced yourself that you lack th experience and are totally unqualified for the job. While job interviews are stressful, one particular kind of interview takes stress to a whole new level – the US Visa interview. Yes this 2.5 to 3 minute interview has resulted in many sleepless nights, woozy tummies and sweat breakouts.

Is the US interview hard? No. The interview itself is very easy. It is what happens before the interview that does something to the nerves – getting your documentation ready, filling and uploading the DS-160, paying the non refundable $160 visa fees, the biometric scan held the previous day, the serpentine lines that greet you at the consulate, the battalion of security guards, and finally the 15+ counters where the extremely polite and well groomed visa officers (Americans) patiently wait for you.

us visa interview
Police personnel deployed outside the consulate: courtesy The Hindu

Keep it short
Applicants don’t have any privacy. Everyone can hear the questions and the answers, visa approvals and rejections. So keep your ears tuned to their questions to other candidates as they may just ask you the same question. They already have your information before them, so don’t say anything contrary or give any long answers. The key to doing well is to keep your answers short and to the point. They aren’t there to hear your life story. They are there to decide why you want to go to the US, if you will be a threat to their country or are someone who will land on US soil and then disappear like the 100,000+ illegal immigrants that have made the US their home without going through the proper channels.

how to get us visa
Rain or Chennai shine, there will always be Visa lines: Courtesy The Indian Express

There isn’t any format to their questions – they already have the information you filled in the DS-160 before them so they know about you. This process is to size you up. They are polite and warm, but sharp and masters in micro inequities. So if you seem hesitant, trip on your words, repeat yourself or talk to much, too loud or softly, they will pick up on that.

Be relaxed and act natural. Avoid humour. You aren’t a stand up comic. Your humour isn’t going to get you your visa, but your articulate and clear answers and confidence may just get you your visa.

Scoring well in your US VISA VIVA (Common questions for those applying for B1, B1/B2 Visa)


Q: Why do you want to go to the US?

A: “I was invited for a conference” “My sister is getting married”, “I am going for further studies”…”I was invited for a training programme”…… Please avoid answers like, “my favourite sister is getting married, she brought me up, I love her so much..blah blah blah…” or “My company said I needed to attend this training so I want to go….

Q: Where are you traveling to in the US?
A: Broomsfield, Colorado (Please make sure you know where you are going in the US and that you are pronouncing the name of the place right. )

Q: How long you plan to stay in the US?A: 3 weeks (make sure you’ve done the math before and don’t have to finger count at the counter)

Q: Where are you working now?
A: Intel…Tata Consultancy Services..(Please no abbreviation

s)Q: How long have you worked in your current company
A: (Again make sure you’ve done the math) 5 years.

Q: What is your present role?
A: I am a systems programmer / I am a senior journalist… (please don’t elaborate unless asked)

Q: Why do you want to leave your company?
A: I have been offered a more challenging role at xxx which I believe is a good move at this stage of my career.

Q: Do you have any friends in the USA?


Q: Are you married?
A: Yes / No

Q: For how many years?
A: 5 years

Q: Do you have children?

A: Yes 1 daughter /son or No

Q: Where does your husband/wife work

A: He works in HDFC / She works in Columbia Asia

Q: What is his/her role?
A: He is a senior manager / She is a cardiologist

Q: Have you travelled to the US before?
A: Yes /NO

Q: Have you travelled outside India?

A: Yes /NO

Q: Where?

A: Dubai, Singapore, Thailand…

They may ask for your CV so make sure you have it with you. Please maintain eye contact at all time and don’t use your hands to gesticulate or keep it behind your back like some police or military personnel. Smile pleasantly, and be polite.

Some people think if they appear indifferent and talk a little aggressively that they will convince the consular officer that they aren’t interested in settling down in the US. The “Listen bob, you want to give me a visa, give or get lost, I don’t care” attitude definitely doesn’t work. You are there because you want a visa to go to the US for whatever reason. So no need to get defensive about it. Be courteous not overtly desperate….

Uncle Simon says no visa today

Just be confident and represent yourself well and you may just hear the 8 glorious words, “your visa to the US has been approved.” Then go home and wait for five days to receive your passport with your US visa stamped on it. On the other hand if in spite of your best effort you are told, “your visa to the US has not been approved this time, have a pleasant day,” Then with as much dignity put your documents back in your folder politely say thank you and walk out with your head held high. You may never know why you were rejected. Don’t take it personally, reapply again and submit additional documentation to strengthen your case.



by Jacqueline Olivia

Jacqueline Olivia is the Business Head of Berean Bay Media House. She enjoys blogging about faith, lifestyle, movies and books.

One Comment

  1. Johann

    A well written article and helpful indeed.

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