Moving to work in the United States can unlock many personal and professional opportunities, but the process of getting a non-immigrant work visa can be challenging.
If you have done the hard work to land a job with a U.S.-based employer who will sponsor your visa, you will want to fully prepare for your final step: your work visa interview.
We worked with our partner Argo Visa to dive into top tips for succeeding at your U.S. work visa interview. Their team of Former Visa Officers have adjudicated over 1 million visa interviews all over the world during their time working for the U.S. State Department, and they have compiled their top tips when interviewing for any of the different types of work visas.
Let’s dive in.
1. Know how to talk about your work & company
It is fundamental that you can clearly communicate what your company does and the value your role adds. You need to keep in mind that a Visa Officer might not be familiar with your industry or the typical job duties of someone with your title, so assume that they know nothing.
Be simple and succinct in describing what you do and why it is important to your company, but don’t be too humble. The visa officer needs to know that you are an expert and imminently qualified for your position. Stay professional, but try to avoid industry jargon or corporate buzzwords.
If you are not working for a well known company, you should be ready to briefly describe what your company does. In addition, if there is anything atypical about your relationship with your company (e.g. working for an end-client that is different from your employer), you should be ready to address it.
2. Be strategic about your documentation
You not only need to have all of your documentation ready, but you need to also make sure that you present everything in an organized, professional way. The visa officer will not want to look through everything you bring, so be ready to quickly find whatever document or information they ask for.
Visa Officers are extremely busy and do not have time to sort through countless pages of documents. There are certain documents that may have a huge positive impact on your case, so be strategic about how and when you present those.
3. Be ready to talk about your past, present, and future
Both your past experiences and your future aspirations are important in telling the story of why this work opportunity in the U.S. is right for you.
The interview will likely ask you questions about your past such as: Have you been to the U.S. before? What happened on your previous trips? How did you get this job? Why do you want to go to the U.S.? Why this role?
The Visa Officer will almost certainly ask you what your future plans are and how this experience will help you get there. Some common questions include: how long do you plan to stay in the U.S.? What do you want to do after that?
Unless you are applying for a work-based green card, which allows you to live and work in the U.S. permanently, you should express that you intend to return to your home country, or at least outside of the U.S., after your contract ends.
4. Be confident and showcase why you qualify for this role and visa
This differs from number 1 slightly, because you need to not only explain what you do, but also confidently communicate to the Officer “why YOU?”.
At the end of the day, the Visa Officer is making a decision on you as an applicant—not your company, job experience, or your college/university. Having a collected confidence during your interview will help to assure the Visa Officer that you are qualified and ready.
5. Prepare to explain any complications in your situation
Everyone has a unique situation so it’s difficult to give one-size-fits-all advice, but if you have any complications in your situation, you should be ready to address them.
Whether it’s a family member who overstayed their visa, multiple prior F-1 refusals, an issue during your OPT experience, or even an out-of-the-ordinary gap in your resume, be prepared to address it in your interview. Visa Officers take notice of anything in your case that is not standard, so be prepared to talk about these things.
The key takeaway
A huge part of succeeding at the visa interview is about being prepared to talk about your entire situation in a concise, clear, and effective way to the Visa Officer. Our partners at Argo Visa have helped thousands of people prepare and pass their interview through personal coaching, mock interviews, and other advice. If you are interested in working directly with a Former Visa Officer to prepare for your U.S. visa interview, you can book a consultation here.
Once you get approved for your visa, you will need to figure out several other life logistics, such as where you’re going to live and how you will get started with the U.S. financial system. After you’ve moved, for instance, you will need a U.S. credit history to apply for credit cards, loans, apartment rentals and other essentials.
Fortunately, Nova Credit lets you use your foreign credit history from certain countries to apply for several of these essential products and services from our partners.
This means that you can apply for great credit cards, phone plans, and more using your hard-earned credit history from back home—rather than starting from scratch. If you are approved for these products and manage them responsibly, you will start to quickly build a U.S. credit history.
Currently, Nova Credit serves individuals coming from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K.
Use your foreign credit history to start your U.S credit history
New to the U.S.? Check if you can use your country's credit history in the U.S. to apply for credit cards and start your U.S credit history using Nova Credit.
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