Applying for a visa can be overwhelming, and you may not know where to start. We’ve come up with nine tips to help you succeed in the visa application process.
#1: Get Language Assistance (If Needed)
Be prepared for any interviews or consultations to be conducted in English. If you are not proficient with English, you can request a translator, but be sure to request one through the proper channels. To do so, you’ll need to fill out Form G-1256, Declaration for Interpreted USCIS Interview.
This form will verify that your chosen translator can communicate on your behalf and that they agree to keep any information from the meeting private. Do not sign the document before the interview – you will be asked to sign it in front of the interviewing officer to ensure total security.
If you are proficient or fluent in English, you won’t need an interpreter, but it’s important to familiarize yourself with terms and questions that may come up during the interview.
#2: Speak Confidently
Do not ask a family or friend to speak for you during the interview unless you are a minor. Confidence is your biggest asset during the interview, and any guests may make a bad impression on the consular officer. The officer is interviewing YOU, not your family.
#3: Get Familiar with the Program
Before you apply for work visas, student visas, or other immigration benefits, you should always research the program and how it can benefit you. If you haven’t already, take some time to look into the visa, you’re applying for and decide whether it fits your goals.
The agent wants to see that you are serious about pursuing temporary immigration to the U.S. If they suspect that you aren’t taking the process seriously, you may be denied.
#4: Keep It Short and Sweet
Consular officers have to process hundreds of applications, so it’s best to keep your interview concise. They want to confirm the information in your application and see whether you are pursuing immigration benefits with good intentions.
Answer questions honestly and avoid elaborating on the details unless the agent asks you to. Remember: as much as you may want to get the interview over with, so do they!
#5: Streamline Your Documentation
As mentioned in the previous section, consular officers are incredibly busy, and any delays on your part don’t leave the best impression. Before you go into your interview, make sure that your documents are in order.
Avoid lengthy explanations, as the interviewer will probably not read them. Most interviews last a few minutes, and they need to access important information as quickly as possible.
#6: Be Aware of Country-Specific Restrictions
Immigrants from some countries may not be able to get a visa without difficulty. If you aren’t sure whether restrictions apply to you, visit the USCIS website or call the consular office in your area to confirm. Attention to detail can be the difference between a visa and a denial.
If you are applying for a student visa, employment may be a condition of your visa. Research acceptable work positions before the interview, and don’t be afraid to ask questions – the job centers at colleges and universities are there to help!
For those applying for work visas, you may be asked about your duties and responsibilities in the United States. Always go over job expectations with your employer to ensure that you are following the rules and can answer questions about the job honestly.
Practice does make perfect, and while it may seem silly to do a mock interview with friends or family, acting out the interview beforehand can help calm your nerves and prepare you for the real thing.
#9: You’ve Got This
It may not seem significant, but a positive attitude can go a long way. Even if the interview goes poorly, you have other options – ask the officer about the documents and forms necessary for an appeal.
You can also get the reason for denial in writing, which helps you learn from mistakes and help you build a strong appeals case.
Ultimately, an interview is an information-gathering tool – if you provide the correct information and provide honest answers in good faith, you have a good chance of approval!