Visa Interview: Everything You Need to Know (+ Common Visa Interview Questions)

April 20, 2023

9 min read

A woman waiting for her visa interview.

No matter why you’ve applied for a Visa, chances are you’ll need to complete a visa interview.

Luckily, we’ve created a guide with everything you need to know about visa interviews, including what they are, when they usually happen, and the most common visa interview questions you could be asked. 

What Is a Visa Interview?

A visa interview is an interview that’s part of the immigrant visa process. The purpose of a visa interview is to assess whether or not you’re qualified to get an immigrant visa.

When Does a Visa Interview Happen?

The visa immigrant process has many steps. A visa interview is just one step. Before the interview, you will have already gone through the following steps:

  • Submitting a petition
  • National Visa Center (NVC) processing
  • Paying fees
  • Completing the Affidavit of Support (AKA the Form I-864)
  • Collecting financial evidence and other supporting documents
  • Completing the online Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (Form DS-260)
  • Collecting civil documents
  • Scanning all the necessary documents
  • Uploading and submitting the scanned documents

After uploading and submitting all the scanned documents, the NVC will review your case. After your case has been reviewed, you’ll get either an email requesting corrections or an email confirming documentation is complete.

Once your case has been reviewed, the NVC will schedule your visa interview appointment. They’ll email you, your attorney or agent (if you have one), and your petitioner information about what day and time you’re expected at your visa interview. 

How Long Do Visa Interviews Take?

Plan to be at the consulate or embassy for a few hours. The last step will be the visa interview but the actual interview usually is a few minutes.

Do I Have to Do Anything Before My Visa Interview?

Once you get your visa interview appointment letter from the NVC, there are a few steps you need to take pre-interview. All in all, there are three main things you’ll need to do before your visa interview.

1. Schedule and complete your medical exam.

It’s necessary for anyone applying for a visa — including you and any family members or “derivative applicants” — to schedule a medical exam appointment with a doctor. This appointment and the doctor need to be in the country you’re interviewing in. 

However, keep in mind that you need an examination from an embassy-approved doctor. This is also called the “Panel Physician.” If you complete a medical exam with a non-embassy-approved doctor, your exam results won’t be valid. 

In addition to completing this medical exam, you also need to make sure your required vaccinations are up-to-date. Both the exam and vaccinations need to be completed by your interview date. You can check for medical exam instructions that are country-specific in the U.S. Department of State’s list of U.S. embassies and consulates

Once your medical exam is over, your doctor will either give you your results in a sealed envelope or they’ll mail them right to the embassy. If you’re the one receiving the results first, don’t open your envelope. You’ll need to bring the sealed envelope to the consular officer at your visa interview. 

2. Register for a courier service and review other pre-interview instructions.

Because pre-interview instructions can vary based on your location, it’s best to check the U.S. Department of State’s list of U.S. embassies and consulates. That way, you’ll be confident that you’ve completed all the pre-interview instructions correctly.

3. Collect all the documents necessary for your visa interview.

No matter how old you are, you’ll need to bring specific documents to your visa interview if you’re an applicant. This includes the certified (or original) copy of every civil document you submitted to the NVC as well as photos. The financial evidence and Affidavit of Support that you submitted aren’t necessary to bring to your interview. 

What Happens If I Forget Something?

Unfortunately, if you forget something on this list, the consular offiercer can’t process your visa. Getting your visa might be delayed if you forget items. In order to move forward with the process, you’ll need to collect all the items you forgot and give them to the consulate or embassy. You might also have to complete another interview. 

What to Bring to a Visa Interview

There are a few things you’ll need to bring to your visa interview. Remember, if you forget to bring all of the required items to your interview, getting your visa will take longer. Your visa request could also be denied

You’ll need to bring all your documents, including:

  • The DS-260 confirmation page
  • Your passport, which must be unexpired and good for 6 months after the date of entry into the U.S
  • Photographs, which should include two photographs printed in color for each person applying for a visa (these also have to adhere to the photograph requirements)
  • The appointment letter from the NVC
  • And any supporting documents, such as the civil documents you uploaded into the Consular Electronic Application Center – Immigrant/Diversity Visa portal (CEAC) 

After your interview, you’ll get these items back beside the photos, which could be kept by the NVC.

Depending on your situation, there might be a few other things you’ll need to bring. It’s likely that you’ve already paid the visa application fees. However, if you or your family members haven’t paid these fees, you’ll need to pay them when you arrive at the U.S. embassy or consulate. 

Some of your documents might need an English translation. You’ll need to collect them and hand them over if they weren’t already sent to the NVC.

Who Needs to Attend a Visa Interview?

Who you need to bring to your visa interview depends. Luckily, you don’t have to guess who you need to bring; the NVC’s interview appointment letter will name all applicants who need to attend. 

Usually, this will include people immigrating with you, such as your children or partner. If your family isn’t immigrating with you but will later on, they don’t need to come to your visa interview; instead, they’ll attend a different interview when the time comes. 

Keep in mind that your petitioner or sponsor doesn’t need to come with you to your interview. 

Is There a Dress Code for a Visa Interview?

There’s not a specific, required dress code for a visa interview; however, you should plan to dress in professional wear. Formal clothing is the way to go. Even if you’re attending an F-1 student visa interview, it’s a good idea to wear professional attire

Safe options for a visa interview include:

  • Ties
  • Pantsuits
  • Jackets
  • Suits
  • Dress shirts

What Happens If I Miss My Visa Interview?

It’s very important to show up for your visa interview. However, if you can’t make your scheduled interview, it’s imperative to get in contact with the consulate or embassy as soon as you can.

If you don’t get in touch with the embassy or consulate within the 1-year mark from getting your visa interview appointment letter the government could terminate your visa application. The fees you paid won’t be refunded if your immigrant visa petition is canceled. 

Most Common Visa Interview Questions

In order to feel most comfortable at your visa interview, getting familiar with some of the potential questions is a great idea. 

Here are some of the most common visa interview questions that applicants are asked

  • What’s the reason for your visit to the U.S.?
  • Where will you be living in the U.S.? 
  • Have you ever been to the U.S. before?
  • Why did you choose to travel now?
  • Who will you be traveling with?
  • Do you have any friends or family currently living in the U.S.?
  • How long will you be staying in the country?
  • Did you book your tickets yet?
  • What do you do for work?
  • How much money do you make?
  • How much do you estimate your U.S. trip will cost you?
  • How will you be paying for your trip?
  • Who will take care of your house during your trip?
  • Do you have a spouse?
  • Do you have kids?
  • Do you have any pets? 
  • If so, who will be taking care of your pets, children, and spouse?

There’s also a chance the interviewer will ask why you’re staying so long and if you can stay for a shorter duration if you tell them you want to stay in the U.S. longer than 6 months. If they ask you this, make sure you have a solid explanation. Give the interview all the details and make your case for staying longer than 6 months. 

The interviewer might also ask if you have any plans on staying in the U.S. No matter what, you should always answer “no” and make sure you emphasize this. They might follow up with a question like, “How can you prove you don’t have plans to remain in the U.S.?” That’s why it’s a good idea to have a plan of what you’ll say if you’re asked this.  

How to Practice the Most Common Visa Interview Questions

If you have a visa interview coming up, you should definitely practice speaking and answering potential visa interview questions. By practicing beforehand, you’ll not only be more prepared to answer questions, but you’ll also be more confident and comfortable during the interview. 

Although you can practice in front of a mirror, for example, another great way to get in some visa interview practice is through a speech coach app like Yoodli. The purpose of Yoodli is to help people become more confident speakers, whether that’s for a presentation at work, an upcoming speech, or a visa interview. 

This communication coach app uses AI technology to evaluate your speaking patterns and speech. That being said, you can practice answering potential visa interview questions and reap the benefits of a thorough AI speech analysis. That way, you can skip the guesswork about what you might need to improve before your interview. 

To get these analytics, all you have to do is record a video on Yoodli or upload one (for example, a Zoom call or a Google Meet recording). Then, this AI speech coach evaluates your speech and, as a result, gives you a plethora of insights for you to review. These insights include (but aren’t limited to): 

  • A full transcript of what you said, including timestamps
  • How many filler words you use (including which ones and when)
  • How fast or slow you speak
  • Your body language, such as facial expressions and eye contact
  • Your word choice

In addition to these metrics, you’ll get specific recommendations and feedback in the form of coaching comments. For example, Yoodli might highlight places where you can rephrase or elevate your response. 

In terms of practicing for your visa interview, you might want to explore Yoodli’s interview prep capabilities. There’s a specialized section where you can practice potential visa interview questions by inputting and responding to them. Once you’ve given your response, you can review those aforementioned analytics. 

You can practice the most common visa interview questions through Yoodli's interview function.
You can practice the most common visa interview questions through Yoodlis interview function.

The good news is, you can’t practice too much. You should practice these potential visa interview questions until you feel comfortable responding to them. This will help tremendously on the day of your interview. 

What Happens After Your Visa Interview?

After your visa interview, there are two main outcomes: either your visa request will be approved or denied. 

If the government approves your visa, officials will tell you how your visa will be given to you and when. If you are denied, the consulate officer will tell you why you were denied.

The Key Takeaway

Visa interviews are a necessary part of obtaining a visa for travel. Even though they can be nerve-wracking, it’s so worth putting in a little time and effort to practice answering common visa questions.

Yoodli can help you elevate your speech and become more confident during the interview. 


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