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Be prepare for interview

Consular officers are fond of asking questions of type 'What if...'


Examples are
What would you do if you win jackpot in Las Vegas casino?
What if someone offers you job in US at very high salary?
What if someone offers you partnership in his business?
What if some beautiful proposes you for marriage?
Consular officers may ask such questions to scrutinize the applicants. If you give answers such
as I will buy house in US and stay there after winning jackpot, I will accept job offer or
partnership and start working or get married to beautiful US citizen girl and settle there, your
visa will be rejected. When you are applying for tourist visa, you are just supposed to tour the
country and not just stay there forever because of one or another reason.

While there is a definite luck-factor involved, your chances of success will greatly increase if
you prepare yourself thoroughly for the interview. The preparation consists of the following:

1. Knowing the visa officer's concerns and strategically preparing convincing points to
satisfy his/her concerns.
2. Creating a list of anticipated questions and practising answering them again and again.
It is good to take some time out and sit quietly in a room imagining that you are in the
interview and that the consulate office is asking you questions. Practice answering the
questions aloud. Repeat this entire drill 3-4 times until you have mastered the
answers to all the questions. The interviewer will specifically ask some questions to the
man and some to the woman and each one will be expected to answer those questions
by themselves. So, this practice should be done by both.
3. Prepare perfect documents, especially your family photographs, property documents,
bank statements, income tax records, and consultancy documents. Make sure your
documents are perfect and that nothing is missing. Arrange the documents properly in
a thin folder and memorize their arrangement, so a document can be instantaneously
pulled out when needed.

Visa Officer's Concerns:


The visa officer typically has a few main concerns which he/she will want you to clarify. If the
correct answers are given to these concerns in a convincing manner, then a visa would
normally be granted. Following are the concerns along with the convincing points:

Concern: Why do you want to visit the US?


Convincing Point: For tourism purpose. Give names of places you are planning to visit: Niagara
Falls, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburg, and if possible Las Vegas and California.

Concern: Will you return to India after your visit?


Convincing Points: Yes, we definitely will because: (show that you have very strong ties with
India in the following form, for which you will return):

1. Family ties: All our relatives, except the daughter we want to visit, are in India,
including our only other daughter, our only grandchild, and our elderly mother who is
partially dependent upon us for support. (Show family photographs to strenghthen
your answers.)
2. Property: We own two bunglows, and a shop in XYZ city. We own a car, and have so
many Rupees in the bank. (Show titles of bunglows, shops, car, bank statements
confirming amount, and your income tax documents.) (Avoid using the unit, lakh.
Instead say one hundred thousand. For 10 lakh, say million.)
3. Work as a Private Consultant: Show appointment documents for consultation jobs.

Concern: How will you finance your trip?


Convincing Point: Our daughter and son-in-law will finance our entire trip. (Point out the
affidavit prepared by your son-in-law stating the same.) In addition we ourselves have enough
personal funds to cover the entire trip, but these will not be needed.

Typical Questions:
Sample answers are given here. You would have to modify them for fit your situation.
1. Why do you want to travel to the USA?
Ans: We want to go to the USA for tourism purpose. We want to visit places such as Niagara
Falls, Chicago, Detroit, and Pittsburgh. These are within drivable distance from our daughter's
town. If possible we will also like to visit Las Vegas and California.

2. Why do you want to visit only at this time?


Ans: We are planning to visit the US in summer months, when the weather will be good for
tourism. Also we want to visit the US before we get old, so that we can enjoy all the tourist
places fully.
If planning to visit during winter months, you can say you would like to experience fall colors,
snow, celebrate christmas and new year in US etc.

3. How long has it been since the last time you met your daughter?
This is an important question and should be answered carefully and confidently as per the
reality of your case. Answer for a special case is shown here:
Ans: Our daughter is currently in India, visiting us and her other relatives. We would like to
travel with her to the US. She will be taking us around the US for sight-seeing. Then after a
few months the two of us will return to India while our daughter will continue to stay there
with her husband. We have never done international travel before, and it will be comfortable
for us to travel in our daughter's company.

4. Will you come back to India after your visit?


Ans: Yes definitely we will.

5. How can you assure me that you will come back?


Ans: All our relatives, including our only other daughter and our only grandchild are in India.
Also our elderly mother who is partially dependent on us is India. We own two bunglows and a
shop in XYZ city. We have so many rupees bank balance. I also run an engineering
consultancy business with a partner. (Show documents for all these.)

6. Do you have any other relatives in the US?


Ans: Say whatever is true. E.g.: No. We don't have any other relatives in the US.

7. What relatives do you have in India?


Ans. Example: Man: We have our elder daughter in India staying very close to us in city XYZ.
Our only grandchild (grand daughter) is also in city XYS. (It will be good to show family
photographs at this time.) Also all my brothers and sisters and their families in India.
Woman: I have my only brother in India. Also I have my mother who is partially dependent on
us.

8. Why do you want a 6 month visa? Can't you finish your trip is a shorter time?
Ans: We would like to go to the US in April so that we have all of the summer for visiting
different places. If we can get a 6 month visa we wish to see the 'fall-colors' in upstate New
York in October (autum) before we return. But a shorter visa would also be acceptable if you
feel that is appropriate.

9. What will you do at home when your daughter and son-in-law go out to work?
Ans: Our daughter doesn't work as she is on a H4 visa (not allowed to work). She has a car of
her own and we plan to drive around to visit nearby places.

10. What does your daughter do?


Ans: Our daughter is a home-maker.

11. What does your son-in-law do?


Ans: He is a mechanical engineer working for a mechanical engineering software company
named, XYZ, in XYZ city, XYZ state.

12. Where does your daughter and son-in-law stay in the US?
Ans: XYS city, XYZ state. (Memorize the names of the towns thoroughly - this is the primary
place you will be visiting in the US, so you should know its name properly)

13. What is your daughter's birth date?


Ans: XYZ

14. What is your son-in-law's birth date?


Ans: XYZ

15. What is the date of your daughter's wedding anniversary?


Ans: XYZ

16. What do you do in India?


Ans: Example
Man: I work as a private engineering consultant with a partner. (Show consultancy
documents.) Previously, I retired as an engineering manager from an engineering company.
Woman: I am a home-maker i.e. house-wife.

17. What is your annual income?


Ans: Mention you annual income. Avoid using the unit, lakh. Instead say one hundred
thousand. (Show your latest income tax return.)

18. Who will take care of your consultancy business when you are visiting the US?
Ans: My partner will look after the consultancy business till I return.

19. Do you have a credit card?


Ans: It is good to mention, yes, if you have one. Else say no.

20. Who is sponsoring you?


Ans: Our daughter.

21. When did you retire? How much pension do you get?
Ans: In 1999. I get Rs. 8000/month. Also, show the pension book.

22. Did you ever do international travel before?


Ans: Say 'Yes' if you have, else say 'No'.

23. Could you please show me your visiting card?


Ans: If you are employed or have business, show the card. If you are retired or don't have
card, say so.

24. Can I see your leave approval?


Ans: In case of employed person, show it to the officer. Otherwise answer accordingly.

25. Will you work in US?


Ans: No, I am going there for tourism.

25. How long has daughter been living USA? What is her legal status?
Ans: Answer accordingly.
At the Interview:

1. Do not get nervous. Be confident. You will be more confident if you have prepared
thoroughly.
2. Be there little early. You don't want to be missing your interview just because you got
stuck in traffic.
3. Wear formal clothes as if for a formal business meeting. The interviewing officer will
always be an American (the interpreter if required may be Indian). If possible the man
should wear a tie. Americans always appreciate formal attire, so they will not find you
over-dressed if you wear a tie.
4. Both candidates should greet the officer with a smile and a "good morning", as soon as
you enter the interview booth.
5. Both candidates should have a confident posture and look at the interviewing officer
straight in the eyes throughout the interview.
6. Be confident in your answers, whatever you say. Make short, clear, to-the-point
replies, in loud and clear voice. Do any tell anything that is irrelevant or not asked. By
mistake, you may give some unnecessary information that may lead to your rejection.
7. Be polite, do not argue and do not ask unnecessary or unrelated questions.
8. Often times you might not understand what the interviewing officer is saying because
of his/her American accent and/or the microphone system. If you do not understand
one of their sentences do not feel afraid to say, 'beg you pardon; I did not understand
you.' If he/she repeats the question and you still do not understand, that is not a
problem, do not panic. Calmly and confidently say, sorry sir/madam. I still did not
understand you. Could you kindly repeat what you said?
9. If you know English, it is preferable to have interview in English so that you and
consular officer can understand the thoughts of each other. Interpreters mess up
sometimes.
10. Consular officers are very smart in their profession. They can figure out true intentions
of applicants most of the times because of their training and experience. Some of
them also may know regional languages of India.
11. If officer asks the questions of type 'What if', don't give answer immediately without
thinking through it. If officer supspects that your intention may to stay in US and/or
work there, your visa may be rejected.
12. Be honest during the interview and while preparing the documents. Consular officer is
not your enemy and he is just doing his duty.
13. For every question asked, when you are saying your answer you should be prepared to
simultaneously put forth a document supporting your answer, and refer to the
document in your answer.
E.g. if the interviewer asks you what are your ties in India, for which you will return to
India after your visit, and if one of the components for your answer is that our only
grand-child is in India, you should simultaneously present photographs of your grand-
child and your family to the interviewer to strengthen you answer.

Documents That You Carry:

1. Go through the documents thoroughly to see that nothing is missing.


Improper/incomplete documentation is the leading cause of visa refusal. Know what
detailed you have provided in the application form and in other documents. Many
times when applying for parents, children prepare lot of documents and parents have
no idea what is going on.
2. Documents that you carry along with you to the interview should be carried in a thin
folder in a plastic bag.
3. You should remember by heart the order in which the documents are arranged in the
folder, so that if you need to show a particular document to the interview officer it can
be presented in 2 to 5 seconds. The interview officers are highly impatient, and any
delay/fumbling in pulling out a document from your folder in presenting it to the
officer, can very well trigger an emotional reaction from the officer that might lead to
visa rejection.
4. Here is a list of documents that should be carried along other than the documents we
have sent you:
a. Family photographs that show your close family.
b. Property titles for real estate. If you have any document/deed that reflects the
value of these properties, carry that along as well.
c. Title of car.
d. Your latest income tax returns.
e. Bank statement copies, passbooks and latest ATM balance receipts.
f. Consultancy appointment letters.

Miscellaneous Situations:
In rare cases, the interviewing officer might say that I can grant visa to only one of you two.
Be prepared for this situation. Ideally both of you will like to travel to the US together, or both
of you would like to stay back in India together. While one of you doesn't want to travel alone
to the US, you might as well take a visa for one person. It is better than having both of your
visas rejected. This way at least it will be easy for one of you two to get a visa if/when you
apply next time. Before going to the consulate decide which one of you should get the visa if
this situation occurs, and when the officer asks this question, confidently say "in that case you
can give a visa to her", or "you can give a visa to me". Be prepared to give a good reason for
the choice made between you two, if the officer asks about it.

If You Get the Visa:


Immediately go through all the information on the visa stamp very carefully. Make sure there
are no typographical errors in your name, passport, number, date of birth, etc. written on the
visa stamp. If there are any such errors, contact the visa application center to get it corrected.
Even a small error is not tolerable as it can cause trouble later on, and should be corrected as
soon as possible.

If You Don't Get the Visa:

1. That's not the end of the world! It doesn't change anything in life. Things continue to
be as excellent as they were before.
2. We did our best. The rejection was solely due to a whim of the interviewing officer.
3. We can always apply a second time. Something to think about...