What will you be asked at your B-1 visa interview?
The B-1 visa permits non-US nationals to enter the US for short-term, business-related purposes, where the individual is not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program.
As part of your B-1 visa application, you will be required to attend an interview at a US Embassy. The purpose of the interview is to validate the information provided in your application, and to dig deeper into your business or employment status, and personal and financial circumstances to determine your eligibility under the route.
It will be important to prepare for your interview and the questions you are likely to be asked. You should also take supporting documents with you, in original form. While you may not specifically be asked for these, they will help support your case and also act as helpful prompts for you during the interview.
General B1 visa interview questions
You will be asked some general questions about your reason and plans for travel. Questions could include:
- Why do you want to travel to the US now?
- How long do you plan to stay in the US?
- Will you be planning to extend your stay in the US?
- What will you be doing while in the US?
- Where in the US will you be going?
- Will you be returning to the US after this trip?
- Will you be traveling alone? If not, who will be joining you?
- Can you provide evidence you will be leaving the US at the end of this period of stay?
You will be expected to show some form of itinerary at the interview, with an indication of at least initial plans for accommodation and any further travel. The more research and preparation you can do, the better. You should be as clear as possible about your planned length of stay, using your itinerary and return tickets, if booked.
The B visa is for temporary visits only; as such, the consul will want to be satisfied that you will leave the US as required.
You will also be required to detail where specifically in the US you will be spending the time. Will you be staying in one city, or state, or travelling onwards taking in multiple destinations?
Provide the full address of the place(s) where you will be residing during your visit. Make sure that the addresses you provide match those on your visa application.
You will need to provide the complete picture of who is planning to go to the US with you, whether that is alone or as a party. Are you going with business associates, employees, or perhaps relatives or friends who are applying for a B-2 visa to accompany you?
It is likely you will also be asked about the timing of the visit. There could be many reasons why the timing works; perhaps you have arranged a business meeting with a US associate or contact, or a new opportunity has arisen which you need to act on.
You may even at this point be asked if a shorter period of stay is possible, so be ready to answer how that would (not) work based on your needs from the trip.
Work-related B1 visa interview questions
As the B-1 visa is for business trips, the interview will also include questions relating to your work and business reason for travel. Questions could include:
- What is your profession, how do you earn your living?
- If you’re employed, who do you work for?
- Will you be looking for work in the US?
- If you’re self-employed, what will happen to your business while you are in the US?
You will be required to detail all aspects of how you make a living. This could include full-time employment, business interests, part-time work. Other sources of income or funds may also be relevant, such as savings or pensions, to give a full picture of your position.
The consular officer will be looking to verify the credibility of your position, whether you are employed or self-employed. Documentation should include your employment contract, recent proof of income e.g. wage slips and bank statements for the last 3 months, including savings, and your business card.
Importantly, the officer will want to be assured that you are using the visit for one of the permissible activities, and not, for example, to undertake paid employment for which you would need a work visa, or as an opportunity to ‘scope out’ a new life, such as searching for a new job or go house hunting.
Financial questions B1 visa interview questions
The consul will want to delve into your financial position, with detail of your income to ascertain how you will be able to fund your stay in the US. Questions could include:
- What is your annual income?
- Do you have a credit card?
- How much will your visit cost?
- Who will be paying for your visit?
- Are you being sponsored?
Based on your itinerary and plans, you should also provide detail of the expected cost of the trip, and how you will fund it.
Travel-related B1 visa interview questions
The consular officer will look into your US immigration history, and will want to hear from you about any past trips or time spent in the USA. Questions could include:
- Have you ever visited or been to the US before?
- Which other countries have you been to?
You would mention any kind of prior travel to the US, whether in transit, or a brief tourist stay, or an extended period of study. You should expect the consular to carry out further checks to verify the information you have provided.
Personal B1 visa interview questions
Finally, you may also be asked more personal questions such as:
- Do you have relatives in the US?
- Do you have any children or other dependants? Please provide details of their ages and where they live.
- What assets do you own in your home country?
You should be open about all the ties you have to the US and to your home country.
If you do have relatives in the US, but have no plans to visit them during this trip, make that clear. You may still be asked to provide their names and addresses for further checks, so it is sensible to take that information in with you.
The consular officer will be looking for assurance that you will return home from the US, which you can prove by showing your retained ties to your country of residence. When detailing assets, include all residential or commercial property, motor vehicles, etc.
In addition, the consulate may also ask other questions to ensure that you are in sound physical and mental condition to travel to the United States.
NNU Immigration are specialist immigration attorneys based in London. We can support you with your B-1 visa application, including guidance on compiling the necessary documentation and preparing for the B-1 visa interview.
If you have a question about making a B-1 visa application, please contact us.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.