This is going to be a long article with some interesting side events at the embassy described by Jon (fictionalized name.) He went for his first U.S visa interview for a B1 visa/ US tourist visa through us. I hope his experience narrated gives you more insight regarding the U.S visa interview.
21st June 2019, Qatar.
People had scared the hell out of me with the recent hype of rejections. I was going through different websites, Quora, many interview threads. The more I was searching I was only able to find more rejection threads, it was more than enough to give me the “jitters”
Anyways, I was so confident that I’d be rejected, I couldn’t stop smiling.
I was practising all night looking in the mirror, role-playing with my neighbour about what sort of questions they would be asking and how I’d answer them. I was applying for a B1 visa (Tourist visa)
Finally, the day arrived, I went through security checks before being in the final line that led into the interview rooms. I saw person after person walking away with passports in hand, disappointed. I thought this was normal. There was a counter each on either side, with one person being interviewed and two waiting behind them.
Starting from the right, an old cute couple were going to visit their daughter and they were smiling and communicating in the local language and I had a strong feeling that the officer was also speaking in their same language instead of being translated by someone and their visa was approved. I was like,” Yay! Good for them, mine will be too… “
While on the left side, there was a kid finishing his interview. The officer asked him, "Do you have any property here or your father?” He replied, “yes, a couple.”
“Can I see the property documents?”
"Yeah," he opens his file and pulls out a couple of papers in a moment.
“Thank you, I may have to keep your file for more investigation and study (I think that’s what I heard), this does not guarantee you a visa, we will inform you of a decision when it’s ready. The time could range from N days to NN weeks, you can check…”
I couldn’t hear the conversation anymore. I thought to myself, “what the heck, I’m not carrying any possession documents.” The kid left with a disappointed face.
I was smiling, probably the only one in the room smiling, not thinking this might happen to me too.
So at the other counter, where there was a new candidate now, a man in his mid-30s, fancy clothes and shoes, gold chain and whatnot. That’s when I looked around and observed everyone was dressed to impress. I then looked at myself and I was so simply dressed in a blue plaid shirt sleeves folded, chinos and casual shoes.
Back to the interview,
The officer asked, “So what's your purpose of visiting the United States?”
“I’m attending a Talk.”
“I see. How were you invited to the Talk?”
“I got an email from a club that I’m a member of.” That answer seemed super vague to me.
She then asked him “Do own any property here?”
Instead of answering a simple yes, he goes about saying “ Yes, I have two flats in the city, and Xyz acres (don’t remember the actual number) of property, I own a cafeteria here from which I get a yearly turnover of XXXX QAR, I have the papers here if you want to see..” and proceed with opening a huge file and going through it.
She looked at him for a few seconds and I knew what was going on in her head. “Did I ask you how much property? Did I ask you where you had property? Did I ask you for any property-related document...?
But she simply told him “I don’t need to see the documents, I’m sorry, but your visa cannot be processed this time” and hands him his passport. He couldn’t believe it. Miserably, he took the passport and walked out. I guess his talkative nature got him!!!
I continued smiling. Sheepishly.
So the person at the counter in my row, was a single mother (as she told the interviewer) and she was ALSO going for a talk but in another city. She had a huge folder full of documents, probably weighing easy over 5kgs, with some old torn documents peeking out, some fresh ones, tons of colourful sticky notes and whatnot. I couldn’t hear anything else about the interview and she was finally asked what she will be doing with her kid. She said she’d be leaving him at her brother’s house for a week.
Immediately, the officer asked, “Didn’t you say before you don’t have any family in the city?”
"Umm, its it’s my first… first cousin. Here we call cousin brother and so that’s why I said... "
“I know what they are called here. So do you have photographs, relationship evidence, and acceptance from the said guardian that he’d be taking care of the child when you are away?”
She just remained there realizing her visa is getting rejected at this point.
“Here’s a passport, I’m sorry your visa cannot be processed this time.” She walked away gloomy and disappointed.
And the moment she started walking away, the guy after her immediately walks to the counter. I could see the anger and irritation on the officer’s face. The officer retorted at him in the most American way... in the local language! Which meant “Did I ask you to come here? Go, stand back behind the line.” I couldn’t believe the fluency she had on the language.
My smile grew longer. By this time I had realized, today is probably a bad day. Everyone is getting rejected, every officer seems to be in a bad mood. They are probably trying to meet their shares for rejection today (I know that’s not how it works!!!) I had so many other doubts and scenarios being built in my mind.
Plus, the guy in front of me had a huge backpack full of papers that its zip wouldn’t close properly. And he had another vast bunch of documents in his hands, not properly filed, threads hanging, etc. He looked so nervous, he was shaking and sweating even though there was an AC blasting air right on our faces.
And all that I had was a flimsy straightforward record with just 3 papers!!!
-An invite from my sister in the US
- Employment letter (current contract)
It was as of now I was certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will be rejected as well. And amusingly, I just kept smiling!!
His turn was called. He went forward, the officer said, “I see you were here before too, what has changed since the last interview?”
“Ma’am, actually I have a scholarship from the university.”
“But it’s not refllecting on your student status.”
“Ma'am, the school has emailed me about the scholarship where they said… Wait I’ll show you” and he starts digging through his documents.
I said to myself,” Oh no, what is he doing??”
And the interviewer instantly tells him “if you have a scholarship it should reflect on your I-20 (student visa), else it implies you don’t have one. Return later when you have everything ready." and gives him his passport.
ALL THIS HAPPENED UNDER 60 SECONDS.
I thought to myself, “WOW! This guy just lost USD160 (application fee) in 60 seconds.” He walked away sad. I felt bad for him. I didn’t realize I now had two similarly nervous people last me. I told myself they are in for a treat because everyone is getting rejected today!
Now I was waiting for her to call me forward and also trying hard to stop smiling in vain.
“Please come forward”
“Hey, good morning”
“Good morning to you too!” officer starts typing. My interviewing officer looked to be in a good mood.
I then ask: “How’s it going?”
“Good! Actually I’m doing great, thank you for asking! What about you? You appear to be happy about something." She grins continues typing.
“What in the hell?? She was noticing me all this while!!! Still, I kept smiling shamelessly.
“Yeah, it’s the weather I guess.”
“I know! It’s quite pleasant today, isn’t it? So, why are you visiting the United States?”
“Meeting my sister.”
“Any special occasion?”
"Yeah it's her graduation”
"Oh, Ok” continues typing.
“I'm her only brother and her twin too, so she really wants me.” My inner sane person was like, “That was needless! Remember, just answer straight to the point!! You messed up already!
“That’s sweet. So where does your sister stay?” “xx Chicago.”
“Hmm. So are you traveling alone or with someone else?”
“Yeah, with my parents.”
“Are they with you now?”
“No, they already have their visas stamped”
“What legal status does your sister hold?”
“She’s an American citizen.”
“Are you single or married?”
“That took some uncertainty.” The officer smiles again and continues typing.
“I see that you were at UCD (Dublin, Ireland) recently.” Says with an excited smiling face as if she or some of her acquaintances studied/lived there.
“Yeah, I went to pursue my masters.”
“How was it like there?”
“It was great. I miss Dublin.”
“So what do you work as?”
“Assistant Production Manager.” I did not mention the name of the company. Or how long I’ve been working the country I was working in. Always answer to the point!
“So, in a film company?”
"Haha, no, a construction company.”
"Oh sorry. I didn’t think of that.”
“It’s okay, I get that often.”
“How long is your stay US?”
“Not more than 15 days, that’s the longest my company would let go of me.”
My inner self told me “STOPP!!!”
“How much do you earn?”
“I’d say about XX Lacs a year?”
“Congratulations, your visa is approved. You can collect your passport within a few days. Enjoy your time in the US.”
The officer did not ask any documentation, proofs evidence nothing. It was all about confidence. I guess.
Got my passport stamped in 4 days with a 10-year visa!!!
So, this was Jon’s success story. Here you can see different scenarios he noticed (highlighted a few). He has clearly mentioned the red flags that he noticed in the interviews. Every scenario won’t be the same, but there are a few tips you can keep in mind before you attend your U.S visa interview.
To know more, read about 10 reasons why your U.S visa can/ may be denied...
Need to make your visa success story? Get assistance through us for your U.S tourist visa with houseoftours.com