Top 10 Tips To Pass The US Visa Interview
1. Plan your visa application well in advance of your travel to the United States. The visa process can take several weeks or even longer.
2. Read all B-1 visa application instructions closely on the web site of the U.S. Consulate or Embassy where you seek to submit your visa application. See http://www.usembassy.gov/ for links to all U.S. consular posts. Be sure to pay all visa application fees as instructed.
3. Many visa applicants are required to attend an interview with a U.S. consular official as part of the visa application process. Plan ahead for your passport to remain with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for at least one to two weeks. After an application is approved, the Embassy or Consulate will need at least five working days to issue your visa and to return your passport to you.
4. All visa applicants must submit an online visa application (Form DS-160) before attending a consular interview. There is no exception to this rule. This application may take up to three hours to complete and asks for extensive information about an individual’s background. See https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/. Complete your visa application at least one week before your interview so that you have enough time to gather all information and data requested on Form DS-160.
5. Schedule your visa interview as soon as possible. U.S. Embassies and Consulates experience a high volume of applicants in the summer. This results in interview slots being taken early. You should be prepared to wait several weeks for a visa interview slot to become available. Most consular posts do not consider a business meeting or conference to be an emergency, so do not wait to the last minute to set up your interview date. It is very difficult to receive expedited consideration for an interview date.
6. At your visa interview, you may have only one minute to explain the purpose of your visit to the U.S. to a consular official. Have your invitation letter from the IBA ready, and be clear about the length of your visit to the U.S. Be prepared to explain that you are intending to return to your home country after the conference. Have evidence of your strong ties to your country of residence, such as recent bank statements, a letter from your employer, evidence that you own your home (if that is the case) or a lease for your current residence, and proof of your membership in your country’s bar association.
7. If you have ever been arrested, detained by the police or convicted of any crime, you should seek qualified U.S. immigration counsel before you apply for a visa. Certain criminal convictions render an individual ineligible for a visa. Under U.S. immigration law, a “conviction” is broadly defined and even includes, in some cases, admitting sufficient facts in a plea bargain where a charge is ultimately dismissed. Qualified U.S. immigration counsel can advise you before a visa interview about the relevance of any past criminal issues on your eligibility to secure a visa.
8. If you have ever been arrested or convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol (“DUI”), or if you have ever been arrested, entered a guilty plea, or been convicted of a comparable or any alcohol related offense in any country, you may be asked to complete a medical exam before you are issued a visa. In fact, U.S. consular officials are required to instruct an applicant to undergo a medical exam if the applicant has had a single arrest or conviction for an alcohol related offense in the past five years. Seek qualified U.S. immigration counsel early and before you apply for a visa if you have had any alcohol related arrest. Even an arrest for a DUI can result in an application for a visa being refused or delayed several months.
9. Consular officials take previous violations of the immigration laws very seriously. If you have ever overstayed a U.S. visa, been refused a visa to the U.S., or been detained by any U.S. law enforcement agency, seek qualified U.S. immigration counsel before you apply for a B-1 visa. Be truthful when asked about previous stays in the United States.
10. The U.S. government will require selected applicants to clear special administrative processing, which may take as long as one to two months. Apply for your visa as early as possible to reduce the chances of delays.