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Opinions of Thursday, 26 November 2015

Columnist: Emmanuel Opoku Acheampong

How to prepare for a U.S. visit visa interview Part 2

Opinion Opinion

In our previous article, we considered a number of factors you may consider in preparing for your B visa interview. This is a continuation from last week’s article.

1. Know your travel plans
You must provide clear answers on your plans for the visit. You will be required to state on the Form DS-160 details that include your departure and return dates, name of the flight, destination, places you may wish to see in the U.S., and duration of stay.

You must be able to provide clear and adequate information. If you are asked for instance about what you wish to do in the U.S., you must provide specific travel plans as opposed to answers like “My brother says he will take me to see a number of places when I reach the U.S.”

Answers suggesting uncertainty in the length of your travel plans and how long you wish to stay in the U.S. may be considered as evidence of immigrant intent. You must remember that you are presumed to be an immigrant unless you satisfy the consular officer that you have a contrary intention. You must therefore, be definite in your responses and refrain from answers like “I want to visit the U.S. for about two months or for two to three weeks”.

2. Give firm and accurate responses to questions.
You must be firm and confident in your responses. You must give short and clear to-the-point responses in a clear voice. Do not hesitate to ask the officer to repeat a question if you did not hear it clearly. If you do not know an answer to a question you must clearly say so.

If you attempt to answer a question you do not know or are unsure of you may end up disclosing adverse information which may affect your application. It is not advisable to answer questions with “I think this” or “I think that” as this may be construed as uncertainty and an indication of immigrant intent.

3. Be responsive to the questions asked
You must always listen carefully to the questions and answer them; no more, no less. Many applicants do not respond directly to the questions asked, and end up providing answers that fail to address the officer’s concerns.

You must not volunteer any information you have not been asked. If the officer requires any information, they will ask you. If you volunteer unsolicited information you may end up creating unnecessary problems for yourself by disclosing adverse information.

4. Your statements must correspond with the facts
Your statements must be consistent with the information provided on the Form DS-160 and other supporting documents. Errors on the face of the Form DS-160 and other documents may be adversely considered by the officer; and so too will poor grammar and other spelling errors.

5. Be prepared to support your statements with documents
You must be prepared to forth a document to support your statements. However, do not try to submit any document to the consular unless they request you to do so. You must arrange your documents in such a way so as to locate a document without having to rummage through your entire file. This is a B visa interview and every second counts!

6. Dress appropriately
You must dress appropriately for your interview. Simply put, dress the way you claim to be. If you are a business executive you must appear as one. If you are a student, you must look like one. Avoid hot and attractive colours or outfits. This is not a beauty contest. In fact, the consular officer will not be convinced by your new and expensive clothes. Simplicity is the key here.

7. Be sure to maintain effective eye contact
Try to look the officer in the eye when answering questions. Do not look up, down, sideways or any other way to appear evasive. You may be thought of as concealing something or not been truthful in your answers.

8. Be Polite and courteous
The biblical adage “do unto others as you want others to do unto you” may not apply at the U.S. consular interview. Be nice and courteous even if you are not receiving the same courtesy.

The consular officer may not be nice to you and may not even respond to your greeting; yet retain your composure nonetheless. Do not try to argue with the officer or react negatively by shouting in a loud or angry voice. The officer may not merely refuse you but may make adverse notes on your case file which will be visible to other consular officers who may adjudicate your future applications.

This information is not cut and dried. Whiles it may be help you prepare adequately well for your interview it may not necessarily determine your eligibility for the visa.

By Emmanuel Opoku Acheampong

Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on U.S. immigration law. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this information.

The writer is an immigration law advisor and a practicing law attorney in Ghana. He advises on U.S., UK, and Schengen immigration law. He works part-time as a consultant for Acheampong & Associates Ltd, an immigration law firm in Accra. He may be contacted on