What you should know before your visa interview at a U.S. consulate

Many errors can be made when an applicant files a nonimmigrant visa application without seeking professional advice. Even when a professionally prepared application is presented to a consulate, such effort can be undermined when an applicant fails to adequately prepare for the interview and is unable to explain their circumstances and how they qualify for a visa. When processing an application, it’s estimated that the majority of a consular officer’s considerations are heavily weighted towards the applicant’s responses to questions. If asked by a consular officer, the applicant needs to accurately and clearly provide the details needed for them to process the application. In addition to meeting requirements and presenting a complete application, success at the consulate can often come down to an applicant’s ability to clearly explain the nature of their application.

Excitement and nerves can have an impact on an applicant’s ability to provide an interviewing officer with critical information. Consular officers are aware of this and, in general, nervousness shouldn’t negatively impact an application. This can become a problem, however, when these factors inhibit an applicant's ability to clearly explain what they intend to do in the U.S. and the basis for their visa application.

Depending on the location of the consulate and the type of application presented, the duration of visa interviews can vary. Some interviews can even last for as little as several minutes. This short period of time is often the only opportunity an applicant has to state their case for a visa. As a result, it can be common for applicants to feel the need to provide excess information, in an effort to strengthen their application or to increase their credibility. Sometimes, this information can be irrelevant and even harmful to an application. In the vast majority of cases, consular officers will be familiar with the information needed to quickly decide the outcome of an application.

Knowing exactly how you qualify for a visa, and being able to clearly communicate those reasons can go a long way in keeping the interview short, and increase your odds of success. An experienced U.S. immigration attorney can also ensure the information presented to the Consulate is relevant and addresses the essential requirements for each application.


Andrew David

Andrew David is the principal of David Immigration Law PLLC, and one of very few dual-citizen lawyers qualified to practice law in both the United States and Australia. Andrew advises individuals, small- and medium-sized businesses, and large multinational companies on U.S. immigration law and procedure.