Preparing for your US Visa Appointment in London
Tips to prepare for your US Visa interview at the London Embassy
The visa appointment is a critical element in your application for a US visa.
During your interview, the adjudicating officer will be looking to assess your credibility by asking you questions on the information provided in your application and, at their discretion, requesting sight of documents to evidence your case.
The type of visa you are applying for will largely determine both the documentation you should take and the questions you are likely to be asked. Employment and business visas for example will usually require more extensive supporting documentation and longer visa interviews than a temporary visitor visa.
Documents for your US visa appointment
Perhaps unhelpfully, there is no exhaustive list of documents which you are required to take with you to your interview. You will however need to be able to respond to any requests of the adjudicating officer. Given what is at stake, take professional advice on your circumstances to ensure you are sufficiently prepared.
In general, you should look to take with you as a minimum:
- Your current passport. This should contain at least one blank page. Non-UK passports must be valid for at least six months beyond your stay in the United States.
- One printed photograph compliant with US requirements. This must be a 5 x 5 cm color photograph taken within the last six months. This is in addition to the digital photograph required when filing Form DS-160.
- Printed confirmation page from your completed Form DS-160 with bar code.
- Fee payment receipt
- Appointment Notification Notice for your visa interview
- Evidence to support your eligibility for the visa
- Evidence that supports sufficient ties to your home country
- Evidence of your status in the United Kingdom, if you are not a U.K or EU passport holder
- Evidence of previously issued US visas
- Evidence of residence outside US
- Evidence of funds to cover all expenses while in the US – this applies when you intend to be supported by a sponsor or where self-sufficient.
- Documents relating to any existing medical conditions that could have a bearing on your eligibility for a visa
- Documents relating to any arrests, convictions or cautions, regardless of where or when they took place
- Documents relating to any previous US immigration issues such as overstaying, deportation or entry denials
All documents must be original and genuine and translations must be certified.
Evidence of nonimmigrant intent
A key determinant in the adjudicating process for US nonimmigrant visas is that the applicant must intend to leave the US by the visa expiry date.
This requires you to evidence that the stay will be temporary and for a limited and specific period of time after which you will leave the US.
Evidence that you have ‘sufficient ties’ to your country of residence should be used to show you satisfy this requirement. Documents such as mortgage statements, payslips and evidence of family ties would be expected.
What happens at the interview?
Aim to arrive at the Embassy (London address: 33 Nine Elms Lane, London SW11 7US) 20 minutes before the start time of your appointment. This should allow for security screening in order to enter the Embassy.
You then need to check in. Your passport will be checked and your fingerprints taken before you are questioned by the adjudicating officer.
The interview can last anywhere between 2 minutes and 20 minutes, depending on the type of visa and the level of scrutiny and questioning of your application.
What could you be asked?
The questions will relate specifically to the information you have provided in your form, and to the visa classification you are applying for. For tourism visas for example, you will be asked about your itinerary and the nature of your planned activity. For an investor visa, you will be asked about your investment, the enterprise and your plans once in the US.
You will also be asked about personal information and details relating to whether you satisfy the general grounds for admissibility. Complicating factors such as a criminal record or previous US immigration issues will also be addressed.
Here are some examples of the more common, general questions that could be asked at your interview:
- Have you ever visited the US before? If so, when?
- Do you have a home, vehicle, business, or family in your home country?
- What are your plans during your time in the US?
- How will you support yourself financially during your stay?
- Will you be visiting anyone in the US?
- What are your plans after your stay in the US?
Remember that full disclosure is demanded at all time, or you risk being deemed inadmissible on account of fraud or wilful misrepresentation.
When will a decision be made?
In most cases you can expect to be informed during your appointment if your visa application is successful. If so, your passport will be retained for the visa to be issued. Your passport will then be returned.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.