Your consular interview is vital in determining whether you (and your family members) are eligible to receive a US immigrant visa.
Although your interview will likely only last a few minutes, it is tremendously important and will determine the outcome of your visa application.
On the day of your interview, you’ll meet with a consular officer who will place you under oath before asking you questions about your professional and personal life.
To ensure your interview goes smoothly, it's necessary to be completely prepared. This preparation includes knowing what to do during your consular interview and what not to do.
Common mistakes often lead to the denial of a visa application. To ensure you avoid these mistakes, you must first become familiar with them. Below, we have outlined the top eight mistakes you should avoid at your consular interview.
The first mistake to avoid on the day of your consular interview is to arrive at your local embassy or consulate too early or too late.
If you arrive more than 15 minutes late for your scheduled appointment, you will not be granted entry to the US Embassy or consulate and will have no choice but to reschedule your appointment for another day.
It’s recommended that you do not arrive any earlier than 15 minutes before your appointment.
Your interview time is based on the time stated on your appointment form and not your place in line.
If you arrive hours before your appointment time, you will not be seen any earlier than if you arrive 15 minutes ahead of your appointment.
The embassy and consulate appointment system ensures all applicants are seen as close to their appointment time as possible.
However, on average, you can expect to spend a total of 2-3 hours at your local US Embassy or consulate.
Ahead of your consular interview, it's important that you have prepared answers to potential questions you may be asked.
You don’t want to sound like you are reading from a script, but you want to appear confident in your answers.
A lack of preparation may make your consular officer believe you are not serious about the interview and obtaining a US visa.
Your officer will ask you questions about your personal and professional life, similar or identical to those on your visa application.
It would help if you practice answering these questions out loud to provide your consular officer with genuine, transparent, and well-thought-out answers.
During your consular interview, you must answer every question accurately and honestly - inappropriate answers, including guessing or lying, can have serious consequences.
At the least, providing false information on the application or giving incorrect answers to your consular officer will result in your visa being refused.
If you are unsure how to answer a question, it's always best to be honest with your consular officer and say: 'I don't know.'
Providing fake information will never produce good results. Your consular officer will later double-check all the information you provide during the interview and in the application form.
When they discover you have lied or guessed the answer to even one of your interview questions, it will make you appear untrustworthy and question the credibility of the rest of your answers.
Failing to bring all the required supporting documents to your consular interview, such as your appointment form, passport, and marriage certificate, will result in your visa application being delayed or even denied.
Before leaving for your interview appointment, ensure that you have all the documents you have been requested to bring with you to present to your consular officer.
It's also important to ensure that your visa-related documents are presentable. Crumbled or torn documents will not make a good impression on your consular officer and may negatively impact your application.
A first impression goes a long way. Failure to make a good impression on your consular officer could affect your visa application.
When you put time and effort into selecting a neat, business-appropriate outfit, it shows your officer that you are taking the interview seriously and that it matters to you.
Apart from your clothes, hair, and shoes, your posture and how you hold yourself can impact your appearance.
Sitting up tall and straight (not slouching) shows your interviewer that you are confident and well-prepared to answer their questions.
Additionally, making eye contact with your interviewer will make you appear honest and trustworthy.
The day of your consular interview is stressful, and it can be hard not to feel nervous. However, you must try your best to take deep breaths and stay calm.
When you stay calm, you can better listen to your officer's questions and answer each one accurately and correctly.
To help reduce nerves ahead of your visa interview, ensure you are well-prepared by conducting practice interviews in advance.
Having a good idea of the types of questions you will be asked and how you will respond is a great way to build your confidence and feel relaxed throughout your appointment.
Disagreeing with your consular officer is another mistake that will lead to the denial of your visa application.
When you take a negative attitude or tone with your interviewer, it shows that you do not respect them or their authority.
Although you may be under great pressure, you must stay calm and show your visa officer respect throughout the interview.
Remember, they are the person who has all the power in their hands and can grant or deny your visa application.
Your immigration visa application interview is supposed to be brief, lasting only a few minutes. There is no need to provide complex, long-winded answers to try and impress your interviewer.
Instead, focus on providing simple, accessible, and concise answers to each question. Rambling or providing too much information will only leave your consular officer frustrated.
Another issue is that when you provide more information than is necessary, it may trigger your official to ask additional questions you are unprepared for.
Focus on the specific question you have been asked and tailor your response to provide only the information you have been asked to provide.
We hope this blog post has helped you understand the importance of being thoroughly prepared for your consular interview and what mistakes to avoid.
If you require further assistance or more information about preparing for your interview, we'd love to help.
At Meimaris Law, our team of professionals has over 25 years of experience dealing with immigration law, and we'd be happy to help you on your journey to beginning a new life in the US.
Get in touch today for a free consultation with our team. Let's discuss how we can help you become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) in the US.