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, it’s likely you’ll be asked to attend an interview at a US Embassy.
You will be required to answer questions on your visa application, and to demonstrate that you meet the B-1 visa eligibility criteria.
The purpose of the interview is to validate the information you have already provided in your application, and to dig deeper into your business or employment status, and personal and financial circumstances.
During the interview, the consul will cover a lot of ground, so it’s important to prepare well and understand the type of questions you’re likely to be asked.
General B1 Visa interview questions
- 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’ll 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’ve done here, the better. You should be as clear as possible about your planned length of stay, using your itinerary and return tickets if booked.
You’ll also be required to detail where specifically in the US you will be spending the time. Will you be staying in the 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’s likely you’ll 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.
In most cases, where your application is successful, you’ll be granted a 10-year visa. That’s not to say you can stay in the US for 10 years, but within that period you can make applications for non-immigrant temporary status. The consul will want to be confident that you will leave the US as required.
Work-related B1 visa interview questions
- 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?
- Please provide a business card.
Here you’re 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.
The consular officer will be looking to verify the credibility of your position, whether you’re employed or self-employed.
Importantly, they’re specifically looking for evidence that you will leave the US by the end of your permitted stay, and that you aren’t using the visit as an opportunity to ‘scope out’ a new life, such as a new job or go house hunting.
You should take supporting documents, in original form, with you to the interview to show the consul. 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.
Documentation should include your employment contract, recent proof of income e.g. wage slips and bank statements for the last 3 months, including savings.
Financial questions B1 visa interview questions
- 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?
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. Based on your itinerary and plans, you should provide detail of the expected cost of the trip, and how you will fund it.
Travel-related B1 visa interview questions
- Have you ever visited or been to the US before?
- Which other countries have you been to?
Any kind of prior travel, whether in transit, or a brief tourist stay, or an extended period of study. Your case will be taken on its own merits, so it’s important to be open and thorough about your travel history and time spent in the US. The consulate may then carry out further checks to verify the information you have provided as part of their decision-making process.
Personal B1 visa interview questions
- 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?
Mention all the ties you have to your home country and the assets you own there. This could include residential or commercial property, motor vehicles, etc.
If you do have relatives but have no plans to visit them, then 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.
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.
It’s important to make yourself comfortable with all aspects of your B-1 visa application documentation, as these will form a large part of the B-1 interview questioning.
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.
Last updated: 13 December 2019