Top Questions on US Visa Interview and How To Answer Them

February 10, 2020

Once you’ve completed the DS-160 form, paid the visa fees and scheduled an appointment, you are now at the last step of the US Visa application. Which is the most crucial part. And preparation for the interview is important because having a huge amount of money in the bank, properties and a relative in the US is not a guarantee for your visa approval.

As I see it, it will be your answers to the questions and the way you respond could be the factors that may affect the consul’s decision in giving you a visa. Here are possible questions to help applicants prepare and pass their visa interviews.

Top questions are about your purpose in the US, who your contact person is, financial capacity, educational background, and your strong ties in the Philippines.

Purpose

What is your purpose of visit in the US?

Tell them what you are going to do and also why. It should validate your purpose and the length of stay in the US. Higher chance of approval if tourism is your main purpose.

Sample answer:
(1) For vacation, I would like to visit NY as a birthday gift for myself / as a treat for myself for working hard in the past years / going to the US is one of my goals in life and visiting a friend/relative.
(2) For business, I was selected to attend a seminar/training, being the top employee/manager.

How long are you planning to stay in the US?

The safe answer is a week up to 4 weeks unless you gave them a reasonable answer to why you are staying for more than a month.

Sample answer:
(1) For XX days only because I have a lot of commitment here in the Philippines / I can’t be away from the office for a long time.
(2) For X months because I want to experience Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.

What are the places that you would like to visit?

Your answer to this question must convince them that you are going to the US for tourism purposes only. Tell them the reason why you want to see that place in person, which sparks the urge to include it to your itinerary.

Sample answer: 
(1) I would like to visit Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History, Grand Central Terminal and the New York Public Library.
(2) It’s my dream destination because of the books I’ve read and the movies I’ve watched such as Night at the Museum, Friends, Gossip Girl, Percy Jackson, and Spiderman.

What kind of event are you going to attend?

This is asked for applicants whose purpose is work-related like seminars, training or retreat. It could also be family-related such as weddings, birthdays or reunions. There might be some follow-up questions like why is your presence important or why should you be there? Be ready for a good explanation.

Sample answer: 
(1) We will attend my brother’s graduation this coming September.
(2) A retreat organized by our partner company and I will be the one to represent our company.

Contact Information

Who will you visit?

State how you are related to the person that you are going to visit, sometimes if your contact person is a friend or a relative, this might be your first question. They have done background checks about this person and your answer should match the information they have.

How did they get to the US?

They’ve investigated your contact person days before your interview and you must prove to them that you know them by answering this question confidently.

Sample answer: 
(1) He applied for a J1 visa and doing an internship at XX.
(2) She was petitioned by our aunt last 2005.

What’s their job and status in the US?

For cross-checking, if you know your contact person and if they could help you find a job in the US which is not allowed.

Sample answer: 
(1) He is a nurse at XX and has a working visa since 2012.
(2) She is a manager at XX and was granted US citizenship last 2009.

How long have you known each other?

If the contact person is not a relative, state the number of years and you can add if you’ve met them in high school or college.

When was the last time you saw each other?

This is to test if you are really in touch and close to the person you are going to visit or if you are using them as a stepping stone to the US.

Sample answer: 
(1) Last January, he was one of the groomsmen for my wedding.
(2) Last May, we went to Palawan for a summer vacation.

Occupational Background

What is your job?

State your current job, part-time or any business if you have. Be enthusiastic in answering this question.

How long have you been working?

Answer the number of years at your current job. You could also include your years of work experience especially if you are three years or less at your current job.

Sample answer: 
(1) I have been in the XX for 3 years but I’ve been working for 9 years already.
(2) 10 years in the XY industry but only 2 years at my current job.

Read: How to Apply for a US Tourist Visa in the Philippines
What is your job description?

Give them a summary of your duties and responsibilities. Emphasize the importance of your job to you and the company.

Sample answer: 
(1) My main responsibility is to prepare the disbursement vouchers for monthly remittances of XX personnel. And once the budget is released, I’ll print the debit advice for crediting of payment.
(2) I am a financial advisor at XX, I offer insurances and investment to clients depending on their goals and financial capacity.

Educational Background

What is/was your major?

State the highest educational attainment you have completed. Consul would like to check if your skills are in demand in the US but if you have been working for 5 years or more then most likely, it wouldn’t be a problem.

Book through Airbnb:  Get Php1,600 OFF on your first booking worth Php3,500.

Financial Capacity

Who will pay for the trip?

Answering “myself” has a higher chance of getting approved especially if you are employed, even if your income is not that big. You can tell them that you’ve been saving for this trip for a long time. But if you are being sponsored, most likely if you are a student, a homemaker or a senior citizen, be prepared to answer what’s the source of income of your sponsor and bring proofs such as bank certificates or business permits.

How much do you think would it cost you to stay in the US?

Before the interview, you can create a breakdown of expenses so you have an idea of how much the trip would cost, which includes the airfare, hotel accommodation, food, transportation, tour, and shopping expenses. And with that, you could come up with a budget plan for your US trip.

Sample answer: 
(1) My budget is XXX,000 and I’ll be bringing my credit card with XXX,000 credit limit for shopping and other purchases.
(2) A total of XXX,000, my daily budget is XX,000.

How much is your monthly income?

One of the crucial information that you must answer truthfully. Some thought that your monthly income must be at least Php40,000 for you to get approved, having lower than that is a risk. However, consuls don’t usually ask this question if you have proven your strong ties to the Philippines.

Even I was tempted to double my monthly income because it might be the reason why I will be denied. But on the day of the interview, that question wasn’t even asked.

Sample answer: 
(1) XX,000 and I have XXX,000 savings to support this trip.

How can you assure me that you will come back from the US?

You are on your way to being approved, they just need assurance that you will come back after the trip. State your strong ties to the Philippines, your work, business, properties, partner, children, parents and other reasons why you would come back.

Sample answer: 
(1) I am aiming for a promotion and will pursue a Master’s Degree in the next few years. Lastly, I still have a lot of travel adventures to do here in the Phils.

Where to Stay near the US Embassy

Red Planet Manila Bay

Best Western Hotel La Corona Manila

Hotel Juliano

Link for Hotels near US Embassy

Here’s my 10-year Multiple Entry Tourist Visa.

Family Background

Are you married or single?

An easy question. They are determining your ties in the Philippines if you have someone to return to after the trip.

How long have you been married?

This is usually asked for applicants who are married to a US citizen especially a foreigner. Have your marriage certificate ready because they would check its authenticity. Follow up question usually happens when you are less than a year married or you were married within a year upon meeting each other.

Where are your children and what are they doing?

A common question for senior citizens because they are checking if you still have any family members here in the Philippines, how many are in the US, whether they have a working visa, green card or US citizenship. Checking for the possibility of overstaying since they have no one to return to in the Philippines.

Do you have relatives in the US?

If your contact person is a friend or if you are staying in a hotel. Consul would like to know if you have relatives in the US. And even if you haven’t seen them or no communication at all, respond to this question truthfully. A Yes or No answer will suffice. You can tell the consul that you have no plans of visiting them.

Have you applied for a petition?

Ask your parents about this because you may be young when it was processed and not aware of. They just want to know what your stand with the application if you are still pursuing it or not. If not, then your answer must convince them that you are settled with your life here in the Philippines.

Sample answer: 
(1) Yes, but no plans of pursuing our petition because we are very much settled here. My parents are here and don’t want to live there.

Book through Airbnb:  Get Php1,600 OFF on your first booking worth Php3,500.

Tips:

  1. Review your answers on the DS-160 form because all possible questions will be based on them.
  2. Higher chance of getting approved if you will finance your trip.
  3. Research about your relatives’ and friends’ status in the US.
  4. Know when to keep your answers short and when to elaborate.
  5. Make your visit short like a week to a month.
  6. Highlight your strong ties to the Philippines.
  7. Assure the consul that you will return and not look for a job there.
  8. Always smile and maintain eye contact especially when you answer the questions.
  9. Wear a smart casual like a collared top and a pair of slacks or pants.
  10. Prepare necessary documents.

I hope this post helps you pass your interview and remember that as long as your intention in going to the US is good then no need to worry because you will be approved.

Read: How to Apply for a US Tourist Visa in the Philippines

Disclaimer: Your visa approval will still depend on your case and the consul’s discretion.

For US Visa Assistance you can reach me through:

FB Page: adVIENtures – Vien M
IG: @adVIENturess
Email: contact@adVIENtures.com