U.S. Embassy/Consulate Interviewing Tips
Please note that nearly all Career Training USA participants will be required to interview at the embassy/consulate. If you are required, please prepare for your interview using the following tips.
Ties to home country.
Consular officers assume that all non-immigrant visa applicants are intending to immigrate to the U.S. You are responsible for proving that you plan to return home after your program. You must prove you have compelling ties to your home country, such as family members who still live in your hometown, university classes to attend after your program, a job lined up after you return, bank statements showing financial assets in your home country, or anything else that indicates your clear intention to leave the U.S. at the end of your program. It is best if you bring supporting documentation such as a job offer letter, proof of student status, or documents for assets in your home country. Without this proof, it will be difficult to show you have ties to your country.
Do not bring parents, family members, or friends with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family or friends. If you are not willing to speak on your own behalf, you will not appear mature enough to participate in a cultural exchange program and you will be denied a visa.
Practice your English skills.
You will be interviewed in English, not in your native language. You should practice English daily, preferably with a fluent speaker, in preparation for your U.S. experience. This practice will also help you prepare for your interview.
Relax and answer questions directly.
Consular officers often feel pressure to conduct quick interviews because there are many people applying for visas. Then, they must decide whether or not to grant you a visa after speaking to you for only a few minutes. Remain calm and try not to be nervous. Listen to the question asked and respond accordingly. Do not prepare speeches for the interview, do not be afraid to speak English, and answer the consular officer’s questions as best you can.
Know why you want a visa.
Be sure that you understand the purpose of the J-1 Intern/Trainee Visa. This is a cultural exchange program, not a work program or pathway to immigration. Know some details about the place you are going and where you plan to live. You should also be able to identify and explain your own personal reasons for this program to the consular officer.
Be polite and positive.
Do not argue with the consular officer. If you are denied a J-1 Visa, you should ask why, specifically, you were denied. Also, ask the consular officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring if you re-apply or how you can improve your chances of receiving a visa in the future.
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