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Tips on How to Prepare for a Visa Interview in Person

One of the daunting tasks in a visa application process is attending an in-person face-to-face interview with an official at the embassy or consulate of a foreign country. 

The official is empowered to take a decision with regard to the issuance of the visa based on his/her perception and performance of the visa applicant. Here’s what a visa applicant needs to know about turning the interview into a success. 

Declare Strong Ties to the Home Country 

An applicant who is not entitled for an electronic visa has to apply directly at the embassy or consulate of the foreign nation they want to visit.

Most countries view visa applicants as intending migrants unless they prove that they have plans to return to their home country before the expiry of the visa. 

Therefore, they must present reasons for returning to their home country like financial prospects such as a real estate property, a financial inheritance or an employment in the home country.  

This is very important for applicants for student visas. They may be asked if they are intent to return after their studies or plan to pursue employment.

They may be asked to present their grades and career prospects for their preferred subject of study in their home country. 

The final decision depends on the discretion of the interviewer. Being prepared is the only way to convince the officer of the applicant’s ties with his/her home country. 

If the applicants have a spouse or children remaining in the country, be prepared to answer a question about their financial means.

If the official has an impression that the applicant is the provider, he/she may not get a visa. The officer may think that the applicant is planning on immigrating to the country eventually. 

Hone the Language Skill 

Most visa interviews are conducted in English not in the native language of the applicants as the former is considered as a global language.

It is good to practice conversing in English. Applicants are encouraged to practice with a native English speaker before the actual interview.

They may also be prepared to explain how they can utilize their newly-learned language skills in their home country.  

The applicants will have to speak for themselves. They cannot bring their family members or others to the interview to speak for them. 

The officer may not be impressed if the applicant is not prepared to speak for himself/herself. Only minor applicants can bring their parents or guardians to the interview. 

Gather All the Required Documents  

All visa applicants irrespective of the country that they wish to visit are required to bring a set of identity and travel documents with them.

It is important to collect all the documents before the interview date and this will save the applicants from repeated visits. 

If any of the documents are missing, the consular officer will not be able to complete the visa processing.

Applicants will have scheduled another visit to the embassy and may have to attend another in-person interview. This will delay the visa issuance or sometimes will result in visa denial. 

Arrange the documents properly so that the applicant does not appear clumsy or ill prepared. Keep calm and answer the questions sincerely. 

Keep the Answers Crisp and to the Point 

Most interviews are very short and take less than 10 minutes to complete. It is important to keep the answers short and to the point.

Applicants must answer the questions clearly. There should not be many pauses and they should not take a lot of time to think. 

Be prepared to talk about self and work.

Many applicants may find it a bit odd to talk about themselves.

However, their eligibility for a particular visa type is decided based on their individual credentials and it is important to make the consular officer know about them.

Applicants must convince the officer they are eligible for the visa. When discussing their job or area of study, they should not give highly technical answers or use a lot of jargon. 

Be truthful and the applicant's credibility is ascertained through their answers. Listen to the questions carefully and answer sincerely for a successful visa interview. 

Know What to Expect 

Applicants can try to understand from others what to expect in a consular office – whether there will be long queues or if there is a security check.

In most consular offices, the applicants will meet the officer through a thick glass and their interview will be short. 

Dress for the Occasion  

Applicants should make efforts to dress according to the occasion and present themselves properly.

They should carry themselves well and avoid wearing casual clothes. Try to attend the interview in formal attire. When speaking to the officer, keep eye contact and talk confidently. 

Get There on Time 

The consulate or embassy will let the applicant know the exact schedule of the interview. If an applicant comes late for his/her interview it will not leave a positive impression on the consulate staff.

Try to come in a few minutes earlier than the scheduled time. 

This will help the applicant get familiarized with the settings and they can relax before the interview.  

In some consulates, applicants may have to go through several security checks. Coming early will give the applicants enough time to complete these checks in time for the interview.

Make sure to leave the house early enough, taking into consideration possible delays caused by traffic snarls. 

Avoid Skipping Questions or False Answers 

Interview is a way for the officers of the consulate to meet the applicant and to know more about them. The official will also try to understand if the information provided in the application form is correct.

It is important to answer all the questions and to avoid skipping queries even if they are sensitive in nature. 

Giving incorrect or fake answers does not leave a good impression as the office will verify all the information provided in the form. 

Applicants must be open and answer the questions frankly.

Read: Criminal Convictions and Travel Visas

Present a Clear Supplementary Documentation 

Officers in the consulate must get a fair idea about the additional documents at a glance. Make the explanations short and clear. Most visa interviews last only a few minutes. It is not very easy for the officer to make sense of lengthy explanations.  

Visa interviews are a daunting task. However, clearing them is not that difficult. Be prepared and be sincere during the in-person interview. This will go a long way in leaving a positive impression on the official.  

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