In a Nonimmigrant Visa Interview, Be Convincing

As with many different things in life, a successful nonimmigrant visa interview is all about being convincing. You know you have a good reason to travel to the United States; you merely need to properly convince the consular officer of that fact.

If you are planning to travel to the United States on a nonimmigrant visa in order to study at a university, you will need to make sure that you can convince the consular officer of exactly why you are looking to study in that particular field, and exactly why you want to travel to the United States to do so. In addition, you will need to make sure you impress on the officer exactly what your plans are in utilizing your newly-obtained degree when you return to your home country.

If the interviewing officer believes that you plan to immigrate rather than stay here temporarily and return home, they are likely to deny you a visa, and prevent you from studying here.

While an application for a nonimmigrant visa can seem rather daunting and time-consuming, the interview process is often the exact opposite. Consular officers are often working dozens of cases at a time, and are therefore under a lot of pressure to make good decisions quickly. As they say, first impressions count, and in this case, they can spell success or disaster. Many consular officers make up their mind about an applicant within the first few minutes of an interview.

In this regard, it is extremely important to answer all of the officer’s questions concisely. Make sure you provide a solid answer, but also make sure the answer is short and sweet.

Throughout the interview process, the consular officer will be looking over your application and all supporting paperwork. It is important that all files they look over are immediately identifiable. You do not want an officer to have to spend additional time reading lengthy explanations, or to give them any reason to deliberate on a decision. Ideally, you want everything to be apparent up front, so that when they look for documentation, the answer is provided so clearly it almost hits them in the face.

One of the more obscure and unfortunate points of advice, which I feel needs to be covered, is that it is extremely important to remember not all countries are seen as equal in the eyes of the consular officer. While it would be ideal if every country were treated the same, the reality is that applicants who are from countries that are suffering through economic difficulties or countries that are well-known for students remaining in the United States after their visa expires tend to have trouble being approved for nonimmigrant visas.

If you are from a country that is known for students immigrating after their period of study is up, you may be asked multiple questions during the interview about your plans for employment after your education is complete. It is extremely important that you take extra steps to ensure the consular officer knows you have plans to return to your home country and obtain employment there, rather than remain in the United States.

If you are planning on applying for a nonimmigrant visa, hopefully these tips have helped you. As always, please contact a qualified immigration attorney if you have any further questions.

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