If you are planning to travel to the US to study or simply to visit as a tourist, you may be asked to attend an interview in your home country first.
The point of the interview is for American officials to make sure that you’re really coming to the country for the reasons you say you are. They want to be sure that you won’t stay longer than your visa permits, or do something you’re not allowed to do – for example, take a job when your visa only allows you to travel or study.
While it’s easy to see why an interview like this might make many people nervous, so long as you’re honest and don’t plan to break the rules, you should be fine!
Here are some top tips for making sure your interview goes well and you manage to get your visa (most of these include utilising your English language skills, of course).
Show Plenty of Respect
It’s very important that you are polite and respectful to the person who is interviewing you. Dress smartly, arrive early, and greet them with a smile and a friendly “Good Morning”.
Bear in mind that your interviewers might not always be polite to you. Some of their questions or the way they speak to you might sound rude – but remember that this is because it’s their job to figure out when people are lying to them! Try not to take it personally, and no matter how uncomfortable you feel about the situation or the questions you are asked, do not get angry, upset or defensive. You need to stay calm and respectful, no matter what happens.
Make it Clear that You Are Coming Home
The way the system works is that immigration officials often presume that everyone coming to the USA wants to live there, so you may have to persuade them that you will definitely come back when your visa has expired!
This means that you need to show that your reasons for staying in your home country are stronger than your reasons to stay in America. Talk about family and work ties, or any other commitments that mean you would not want to leave permanently. If you are travelling in order to study, explain how the experience will improve your job prospects in your home country, not in the US.
Often, your interviewer will ask you unexpected questions designed to test whether anything would make you stay in the country. For example, they might ask you what you would do if you were offered a high paying job in the US during your visit, or if you fell in love with an American citizen who wants to marry you. Whatever you do, never say that you would accept the offer and try to stay in the country. If you do, your visa will be denied.
Practise Your English Before the Interview
It’s very likely that your interview will be in English. Even if you are offered an interpreter, giving answers in English is better, because that way you can explain exactly what you mean! Also, don’t bring family members or friends with you to the interview, even if they speak better English. The visa is only for you, so inviting other people with you makes it look like you are planning to bring more family with you later, which won’t help your application!
That means it’s really important to revise any key words and phrases you are likely to need during your interview. Practise talking about your reasons for visiting America, your life back home, when you are coming back and why. If you don’t understand something, don’t panic. Calmly ask the interviewer to repeat the question.
Lastly, try to stay positive and confident, giving clear, concise answers that are always relevant to the question. If for any reason your visa is rejected, ask for feedback to improve your application next time!
Planning to visit or study in the US? Take a look at our range of courses at www.Eurocentres.com to help boost your English before your visa interview!