EP37: Visa Interview Questions and Top 7 Self-Defense Skills
When it comes to the visa interview questions, learning these 7 interview self-defense skills can make or break your consulate interview!
Getting caught without being prepared is like a death sentence for your approval odds! Trust me, I’ve seen countless applicants get denied instantly due to mistakes or misstatements they’ve said unknowingly.
So, how can you ensure that your visa interview will go smoothly?
The answer is in today’s podcast episode!
Subscribe to the My Path To Citizenship Podcast on iTunes to make sure you don’t miss any future episodes.
In this podcast episode, you learn the following:
- The visa interview process
- How to respond to questions you don’t understand
- Giving the right answers when you don’t know
- How you can protect yourself from a difficult consular officer
- How you should answer difficult questions the right way
…and a whole lot more.
What Questions Are Asked At The Visa Interview?
Although there is no set required questions for all visa applicants, there are common ones that you should prepare for.
For couples who are applying for the K1 fiance visa or CR1 spouse visa, the questions will focus mainly on your relationship. The consular officer’s main job is to determine whether your relationship is real or not.
Here are the most common questions you may be asked:
Personal Questions About Your Spouse
- What is your spouse’s name?
- What are your hobbies and interests?
- Was your spouse married previously?
- Tell me about your spouse’s children.
- What are your spouse’s parent’s names?
- When and how did you meet your spouse?
- How long have you been corresponding with your spouse?
- How long has your spouse lived at their current address?
- What is your spouse’s religious background?
- Does your spouse speak and understand your language?
Personal Questions About Your Fiancee
- How did you meet?
- Where did you meet?
- Have you ever been to the US?
- When is the last time you have seen your fiance?
- What do you love most about each other?
- What made you fall in love?
- What is your fiance’s favorite food?
- Who does your fiance live with?
- How long have you known each other?
- What is your anniversary date when you met?
- Do you want children in the future?
How Can I Pass My Visa Interview?
This is the million-dollar question, right?
Everyone wants their visa interview to be successful and end with the phrase “Congratulations, you’ve been approved!”
So, what can you do to ensure your visa interview goes well and you get your visa stamped in your passport? Preparation my friend… preparation.
There are a few tips you should follow when it comes to preparing for the interview:
- Bring all evidence, documents and completed forms with you
- Understand what is written on all the forms
- Know your dates (meeting, engagement, marriage)
- Relax and stay calm
- Be honest at all times
Many people are able to successfully pass their visa interview by following the tips above, but there are exceptions!
In some Middle Eastern and African countries, it can be difficult to have an easy interview. This is because of the restrictions placed in these countries due to fraud and terrorism threats.
It doesn’t help that Trump has placed many of these same countries on the travel ban list.
If you are affected by the travel ban, then you’ll need to really prepare for your interview. You can also expect to be placed in administrative processing for quite some time before a decision is made.
Related Podcast: Here’s why your case was put into Administrative Processing!
How Long Does A Visa Interview Take?
The visa interview length can vary depending on the country and consulate.
But, in general, you can expect it to take less than 20-30 minutes. This gives the consular officer enough time to review your case and any new evidence you are submitting.
They will then ask you several questions from the list above. After providing your answer, you may be asked follow-up questions based on your answers.
- Point# 1:
- Remember, you get one shot for the visa interview!
- You want to put your best foot forward so to speak. This means being respectful, honest and having all the documents they need during the interview.
- Point #2:
- The visa interview has a big impact on your approval odds. How you answer the questions being asked is very important. The better prepared you are the better your interview will go.
- Point #3:
- It’s normal to be nervous! I was nervous at my own visa interview and you will likely feel the same. Even if you are ready for the visa interview, your nerves can get the best of you. Try to stay calm and know that good things happen if you simply believe they will.
- Point #4:
- Consular officers can be wrong because they are human! Don’t assume because they have official titles and make the final decision that their actions are always right. This is not always the case and I’ve seen plenty of immigration officers make mistakes that were never caught by the applicant.
Visa Interview Questions & Self Defense Skills
Okay, so you may be thinking “why the heck would I need self-defense skills for my visa interview?”
Well, think of what’s happening here…
You are asking the Department of State (Consulate) for a visa so you can live in the United States.
Their main job is to protect the United States from threats coming from abroad (and other duties) so they are going to determine if YOU are that threat.
So, yes, you should think of it as a form of battle to win. You win the visa or they win by denying someone they believe isn’t eligible for the visa.
The following 7 visa interview self-defense skills will help you succeed in your next consulate interview.
1. Ask For Clarification If You Don’t Understand A Question
If you’re ever asked a question that you didn’t understand or hear properly, you should ALWAYS ask for the consular officer to say it a different way.
This is so important because you can’t answer a question correctly if you don’t understand it!
Here’s an example of how you can ask for clarification:
“I’m sorry, but I’m not understanding the question. Could you please ask it a different way?”
- You are asking them to clarify the question
- This gives you more time to think about how you will answer it
- Your answer will be exactly what the consular officer is looking for
2. Give Full Explanations With Each Answer
Giving full explanations when answering questions is important to show you are genuine.
Yes, I know that someone who gives a short answer can also be genuine but you need to think the way the consular officer thinks.
Here’s an example of how you can provide full explanations:
Consular Officer: “How did you meet?”
“We first met on Facebook after he sends me a friend request. We didn’t hit it off right away but began a friendship that slowly turned into something more. Now we are completely in love and want to be together for the rest of our lives”
- You are providing more than the basic information
- Shows that you have a strong history as a couple
- You are showing an ongoing relationship
3. Correct The Officer If They Misstate What You Said
If I can get one thing thru to you it’s that consular officers are human beings too. They make mistakes all the time.
Don’t be afraid of correcting them if they misstate what you’ve said. You want to make sure that what they are writing down is absolutely correct.
Here’s an example of how you can correct the consular officer:
Consular Officer: “So, you met once in 2018?”
“Actually, we met twice in 2018. The first time I went to visit her was February and the second time was around Christmas.”
- You are respectfully correcting their assumptions
- By correcting the officer, you’re making sure what’s on the record is correct
- You now get to restate what you said earlier
4. Don’t Let The Officer Cut You Off
Consular officers are not out to ruin your life, I promise!
But, they’ve been doing visa interviews for a long time. They may not have a lot of patience and may want to get straight to the point.
If you’re cut off in the middle of your answer, try your best to steer the conversation back to the original question so you can finish your thoughts.
Here’s an example of how you can take control of the conversation:
“I’m sorry to interrupt but like I was saying, my family, is very excited to welcome him as a son-in-law. Everyone who attended our wedding commented on how happy we looked like a newly married couple”
- You are kindly redirecting back to your original answer
- You are making sure that you answer all questions fully
- This keeps you on track so you don’t get confused and make mistakes
5. Say “I Don’t Know” Instead Of Guessing
Telling the immigration officer that you don’t know the answer to their question is not a bad thing.
In fact, by telling the truth and then offering some other detail you show that you are being honest and helpful.
Plus, you won’t risk guessing an answer that will later be used against you in a future immigration interview. This has caught up many other applicants who are then accused of fraud and misrepresentation!
Here’s an example of how you can answer a question you don’t know:
Consular Officer: “When did you become a couple?”
“I don’t know when we became an official couple. But I do know that we said we loved each other in May of 2017.”
- You are confirming that you don’t know the answer
- But you also provide additional details that you do know the date
- This shows that your relationship is genuine
6. Tell The Truth Even If It’s Embarrassing
There are many times you may be asked a question that you feel embarrassed about.
It could be very personal or it could show something negative about your relationship.
Don’t take it personally! Simply answer the question honestly and move on.
Consular Officer: “Did your fiancé give you an engagement ring?”
“Actually, my fiance did not buy me a ring because he couldn’t afford it. We plan to buy each other rings for our courthouse wedding.”
- You provide a brief answer to the question without embarrassment
- There is no requirement for engagement rings to be exchanged for the K1 visa
- By being honest, you show the consular officer that you have a genuine relationship
7. Offer Additional Information In Place Of Unknown Details
If you don’t know or can’t remember certain details about your relationship, it’s best to say so. Then offer other details in place of it so that you provide more information.
Consular Officer: “What did you give your wife for Christmas?”
“I don’t remember what I gave my wife for Christmas, but for her birthday I gave her a necklace and a card.”
- This shows that you may not remember one detail but can offer another
- This allows the consular officer to get an answer to a similar question
- You also show that you are human and may forget some details
Summary: Visa Interview Questions and Self-Defense Skills
Preparing for the visa interview questions is one of the most important things you can do to increase your successful outcome.
This can mean practicing visa interview questions, reviewing your case files and learning the 7 self-defense skills I went over earlier in this post.
By following these steps, you not only reduce your anxiety and stress but you will reduce the chances of making mistakes at the interview.
Mistakes and misstatements can be the death of your visa application!
Don’t risk your future life in the United States because you aren’t prepared. Visa interview preparation should be difficult but you do need to put in time and effort to be successful.
Want more visa interview prep help? Join the Migrant Academy and get one-on-one help including visa interview roleplay, sample interview questions, and Q&A calls.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.