Sample U.S. Embassy Interview Questions
It is our opinion that the United States embassy interview is the most crucial stage of the process. At the interview, the consular officer will question your foreign spouse, in detail, in order to determine the legitimacy of your marriage. If the consular officer concludes that you and your foreign spouse have a bona fide marriage then the immigrant visa will be approved.
The consular officer’s determination is based largely upon your foreign spouse’s responses to questions. Please note that the sample questions below are the result of our years of experience with this type of case and are intended as a basic guide only. Each consular officer will ask different questions as the circumstances dictate.
1. How did you meet your spouse? Describe the circumstances.
2. When did you first meet your spouse in person? Describe the circumstances.
3. How long have you known your spouse?
4. Please state the date and place you last saw your spouse, in person, prior to this interview.
5. How much time have you and your spouse spent together in person?
6. How do you and your spouse communicate (i.e. telephone, text, email, letters)?
7. How often do you and your spouse communicate? Describe the circumstances.
1. What is your spouse’s birthday?
2. What is your spouse’s place of birth?
1. Where does your spouse live?
2. Where do your spouse’s parents live?
3. If your spouse has siblings, where do they live?
Education and Employment Status
1. What does your spouse do for a living?
2. Where does your spouse work?
3. What is your spouse’s educational background?
1. What is your spouse’s religious background?
2. What is your religious background?
3. Does your spouse speak and understand your language?
4. Do you speak and understand your spouse’s language?
1. What do you like about your spouse?
2. What are your spouse’s hobbies and interests?
3. What are your hobbies and interests?
Prior Marital Status
1. Has your spouse been divorced?
2. If yes, when did your spouse get a divorce?
3. If yes, why did your spouse’s prior marriage end in divorce?
1. Have you met your spouse’s family? If yes, describe the circumstances and who you met.
2. Does your spouse have any siblings? If yes, state their names and ages.
1. Does your spouse have any children? If yes, state their names and ages.
2. If yes, do the children live with your spouse?
3. If yes, are you willing to take care of your spouse’s children if they live with you?
4. Do you plan to have children with your spouse?
1. What did your parents think about this marriage? Did they approve of it?
2. What did your spouse’s parents think about this marriage? Did they approve of it?
3. What type of wedding did you have? Describe the circumstances.
4. How did other members of your families feel about your marriage?
Travel to the United States
Travel to the United States (this is an H3)
1. When do you intend leaving for the United States?
2. Have you ever been to the United States? If yes, what type of visa did you use travel to the United States?
3. If yes, how long did you stay in the United States?
4. If yes, when did you return from the United States?
1. At what address will you reside in the United States?
2. Do you plan to get a job in the United States?
3. Do you plan to attend school in the United States?
1. Has your spouse told you about his/her prior criminal convictions? If yes, what was s/he convicted of and what were the circumstances?
You may also wish to read our page on the requirements for a marriage visa, and the marriage visa FAQs.
After the National Visa Center (NVC) schedules your visa interview appointment, they will send you, your petitioner, and your agent/attorney (if applicable) an email noting the appointment date and time. After you receive an interview Appointment Letter from NVC, you must take the following steps BEFORE the interview date.
1. Schedule and Complete a Medical Examination
You (and each family member or “derivative applicant” applying for a visa with you) are required to schedule a medical appointment with an authorized physician in the country where you will be interviewed. This exam must be with an embassy-approved doctor, also referred to as the Panel Physician. Exams conducted by other physicians will not be accepted. You must complete your medical examination, along with any required vaccinations, before your scheduled visa interview date. Please visit our List of U.S. Embassies and Consulates for country-specific medical examination instructions.
After your exam, the Panel Physician will either send the exam results directly to the embassy or give you a sealed envelope. If the doctor gives you an envelope, do not open it. Instead, bring it to your visa interview and give it to the consular officer.
2. Register for Courier Service/Other Pre-Interview Instructions
3. Gather Documents Required for the Interview
Every visa applicant, no matter their age, must bring certain documents to the interview, including photographs, and the original or certified copy version of all civil documents submitted to NVC. You do not need to bring your Affidavit of Support or financial evidence you submitted to NVC.
What happens if you forget to bring something on this list? The consular officer will not be able to complete the processing of your visa. You will have to gather the missing items and provide them to the embassy or consulate, and may have to come for additional interviews. Failure to bring all items on the above list can delay visa issuance.
Schedule My Appointment
The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with its visa systems. This issue is global and is not specific to any particular country or visa category. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working urgently to correct the problem and restore full operability. Currently, we are unable to print immigrant and nonimmigrant visas approved after June 8, 2015. In addition, U.S. Embassies and Consulates are unable to process new visa applications submitted on or after June 9, 2015. Nonimmigrant applicants should schedule their appointmentsat U.S. Embassy/Consulate for a visa interview after June 29, 2015. There is NO need to contact the call center or customer support—simply login to your visa appointment system profile and reschedule both of your appointments. Further information of rescheduling appointments can be found at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-appointmentschedule.asphttp://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-appointmentschedule.asphttp://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-appointmentschedule.aspOn this page:
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Citizens of qualified countries may be also able to visit the U.S. without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program. If you do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program or are traveling to study, work, or participate in an exchange program, you must apply for a nonimmigrant visa.
Applicants for U.S. visas are required to appear in person for an appointment at the Visa Application Center (VAC) and the visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You must schedule the VAC appointment at least one day before the interview appointment date. You can schedule both appointments, either online using this website or through the call center.
To schedule your nonimmigrant visa appointment, you must have the following information and documents available:
- A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person desiring a visa must submit an application.
- Your visa application (MRV) fee payment receipt
- Your DS-160 confirmation page
- Your e-mail address
- If applicable, required documents based on visa class (such as a petition approval for petition-based visas; more information about visa types and information about each can be found here).
Restrictions to Changing Appointments
Applicants are limited to the number of times they can reschedule their appointments. Please plan accordingly so that you are not required to pay another visa application fee.
Schedule an appointment
Change your appointment
Who Must Attend the Interview
You, your spouse, and any qualified unmarried children immigrating with you, must participate in the interview. All traveling applicants required to participate will be named on the interview Appointment Letter you receive from the National Visa Center (NVC).
If your spouse and/or qualified unmarried children will immigrate at a later date and travel separately from you, they are not required to participate in your interview. They will be scheduled for a separate interview appointment. You should contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate directly to arrange separate interviews, if needed.
Your sponsor/petitioner does not attend the visa interview.
What to bring to the Interview
The applicant is responsible to bring all required original or certified copy civil documents to the visa interview. Failure to bring all required documents to the interview may cause delay or denial of the visa. You must bring the following documents to the interview:
- Appointment Letter – The interview appointment letter you received from NVC.
- Passport – For each applicant, an unexpired passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of entry into the United States
- Photographs – two identical color photograph(s) for each applicant, which must meet the general Photograph Requirements.
- DS-260 Confirmation Page
- Supporting Documents – original or certified copies of all civil documents you uploaded into CEAC.
Your original documents will be returned to you when the interview has been completed. Any photocopies provided may be kept.
- English Translations – If documents requiring English translation were not sent to NVC, you must obtain them and present them on the day of your interview. For more information please review the U.S. Embassy or Consulate interview preparation instructions.
- Visa Fees – If your visa application fees were collected by NVC, you do not need to pay again. However, if you or any family member did not pay all the necessary fees, you will be asked to pay any unpaid fees at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Failure to Appear for Interview - If you cannot appear at your scheduled interview, contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate as soon as possible. If you do not contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate within one year of receiving your interview appointment letter, your case may be terminated and your immigrant visa petition cancelled, and any fees paid will not be refunded.
Need to change the interview date and time - Instructions to reschedule your appointment are available at U.S. Embassy or Consulate interview preparation instructions.
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The tips below are intended to help you prepare for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate in your home country.
Under United States law, all applicants for non-immigrant visas are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must therefore be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States.
"Ties" to your home country are the things that bind you to your hometown, homeland, or current place of residence (i.e., job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc).
If you are a prospective student, the interviewing officer may ask about your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-long range plans, and career prospects in your home country. Each person's situation is different, of course, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate, or letter, which can guarantee visa issuance.
Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview. If you are coming to the United States solely to study intensive English, be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country.
Do not bring parents or family members with you to your interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf. If you are a minor applying for a high school program and need your parents there in case there are questions, for example, about funding, they should wait in the waiting room.
If you are not able to articulate the reasons you will study in a particular program in the United States, you may not succeed in convincing the consular officer that you are indeed planning to study, rather than to immigrate. You should also be able to explain how studying in the United States relates to your future professional career in your home country.
Because of the volume of applications that are received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute or two of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep your answers to the officer's questions short and to the point.
It should be clear at a glance to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. Remember that you will have 2-3 minutes of interview time, if you're lucky.
Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically, applicants from those countries are more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after their study in the United States.
Your main purpose of coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. While many students do work off-campus during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their US education.
You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program. If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the United States. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the United States. Volunteer work and attending school part-time are permitted activities.
If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gains the impression that your family members will need you to remit money from the United States in order to support themselves, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied. If your family does decide to join you at a later time, it is helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa
Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.
This list was compiled by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. NAFSA would like to credit Gerald A. Wunsch, Esq., 1997, then a member of the Consular Issues Working Group, and a former U.S. Consular Officer in Mexico, Suriname, and the Netherlands, and Martha Wailes of Indiana University for their contributions to this document. NAFSA also appreciates the input of the U.S. Department of State.
After you have completed the steps on the Immigrant Visa Process on usvisas.state.gov, the National Visa Center, NVC, will review your file for completeness. Once your case becomes qualified for an interview, NVC will work with us to schedule an interview appointment for you. You can learn more about the interview process on usvisas.state.gov.
If you have received a notice, Instructions for Immigrant Visas Overview, from AIT, please read and follow the instruction carefully. You must notify AIT once you have submitted the required immigrant visa application form (DS-260), and you are ready for an appointment. You will receive an appointment notice within two to three weeks if you are applying immediate relative visa, or within five to six weeks for those people applying an immigrant visa under the family-based or employment-based classification.
After NVC or AIT schedules your visa interview appointment, we will send you an email or letter noting the appointment date and time. After you receive an interview appointment letter from NVC/AIT, you must take the following steps BEFORE the interview date.
Step 1: Register a document deliver address on line through www.ustraveldocs.com/tw before your appearance at AIT.
Step 2: Schedule and attend a medical examination with one of the AIT-designated physicians a medical exam in Taiwan about 3-4 weeks before your visa interview. Hospitals in Taiwan typically require two weeks to process the medical examination. If your medical examination will not be complete by the date of your interview, please contact us to reschedule your appointment, as AIT will not process your visa application without a completed medical examination. On the scheduled date of your medical examination, you must bring a printed copy of your interview notice and your DS-260 confirmation page for yourself and each member of your family, if applicable.
Step 3: Ensure you have all of the items that every applicant must bring to the immigrant visa interview. Please note that you must bring all required original documents to your interview.
Step 4: Read our interview guideline to learn about any special actions that you need to take before your visa interview.
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Please visit the following link to learn how to prepare for your Immigrant Visa interview: INSTRUCTIONS PACKET # 4 (PDF 240KB)
On the day of your interview, all visa applicants should enter via the applicant entrance off of Carrera 50 (there are two lines – one for immigrant visas and one for non-immigrant visas). Please do not arrive more than 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment. Your place in line will not be determined by the order you arrive. It is not necessary to arrive in the pre-dawn hours to get in line.
The following people may accompany the visa applicant to the interview:
- Interpreters – an applicant may bring one interpreter if he or she does not speak English or Spanish well enough to participate unassisted in the visa interview
- Special Needs Visitors – applicants may bring one person to help if they are elderly, disabled or if the applicant is a minor child applying for a visa.
- If you have a medical or other condition requiring a wheelchair or a special accommodation, please alert the greeters/guards to your needs as you enter the building.
Due to the limited size of our waiting room and the high volume of visa applicants, accompanying persons others than those listed above, will generally not be admitted to the Embassy. Drivers, friends, extra relatives and others not specifically named above cannot be permitted to enter and will be asked to wait outside of the Embassy to meet the applicant after the interview. Attorneys will NOT be permitted to accompany anyone into the waiting room or to the interview.
Dress appropriately for the interview and for the weather. The Embassy waiting area is outside the building where there is no heat or air conditioning. You will not be allowed to bring in food or drink. Snacks and beverages are available for sale in the waiting area.
To enter the compound, all persons must go through an airport-security type of screening. The Embassy does not provide lockers or storage bins for personal items. Any person refusing to comply with all security screening procedures will be denied entry into the compound.
NOTE: Any fees for visa services while in Colombia are only collected inside the medical clinics or within the Embassy. Neither the medical clinics nor the Embassy collect fees outside – do not pay any fees except at the cashier inside the doctor’s office, at the recommended laboratory, or Embassy.
Individuals at public notary offices, internet café’s, local hotels or other locations do not work for the Embassy or medical clinics. For accurate information about your visa case, please contact [email protected]
Remember, during the entire visa application and interview process, you must tell the truth and give complete and accurate information. If you do not, your visa will be delayed or you may be found ineligible for a visa that you may have qualified for otherwise