Going for a visa interview can be a very tense experience. After all, all the hard work that you have been putting into your application is at stake. If you don’t clear the visa interview, all of that will go for a toss and you will have to start from square one.
I recently went through my visa application process after I got accepted at Johns Hopkins University. To be honest, I was the third child in my family to go to the USA for a post-graduation program. Yet, I was tensed. I decided if I let the tension get the best of me, I might as well not make the application altogether! So, I took things in my own hand and did the following.
Just to help you know – I got my visa application accepted in one go. So, you can relax as all the tips for visa interview comes from a place of experience.
The biggest boost to your confidence is understanding that you are in the right place, at the right time and doing the right thing. For this, it is critically important for you to review your visa application paperwork. From the respective government department of the country you’re visiting, to the visa consultant you might have hired, to the international students’ office at your university – everyone will have a list of documents you will need for your visa interview. Take a print of this list and pin it at your desk. Keep checking it every now and then to ensure you have it memorized. I remember, by the time I had to leave for the visa interview, I could recall pretty much every detail from the appointment letter.
Here’s an additional tip – carry two sets of papers in two separate files. The first file will have the documents that you are supposed to carry. The second would be a duplicate copy of everything, just in case, something goes wrong.
There are a ton of blogs online that will give you advice about clearing your visa interview. From first-hand experience, I can tell you that it is nothing like you read it usually. Every single interviewee is given some questions where he/she has to think on the spot. The only way to crack this is by going in with the right mind-set. You will understand the ideal mind-set for this, by talking to someone who has been through the process.
I had an informational interview with my elder brother, who had cleared the process a few years ago. Then I had a word with my elder sister, who had cleared it a year ago. Finally, I went to my visa consultant who gave me a broad overview of the mind-set I should have in the interview. When I went for the interview, I kind of knew what I was getting into and that helped me stay calm.
To some people, this may sound like a bit too much. But this is like the weekly tests or the pre-board exams that we had in schools, before the actual board exams. They are not as difficult as the actual interview but they prepare you for it. I got to learn a lot about my responses and reactions during my mock interview. My visa consultant was very supportive in giving me a few mock interviews. I had a few mock interviews with my elder brother as well.
These are the steps that I took before the interview-day. On the interview day itself, I ensured that I was on time, well-groomed and well-rested. All of this just helped me stay at my natural best.
At the end of it all – no one can guarantee you that you will get the visa stamp on your passport. But the insight is this – you don’t need the guarantee. It is a simple interaction where the visa officers would ask you questions that help them get to know you better. All the advice given here will only help you get in the right mind-set of answering these questions.