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Interview for visa at US embassy

Posted: Thu, 17 Sep 2009 11:02 pm
by Currant
Hi all,

Has anyone had the experience of going for an interview for a tourist visa to the US (likely a B1/B2). I need to do one as I want to spend Christmas there with some friends who've invited me.

I've got my interview scheduled and am gathering the supporting documents (payslips, bank account statements, income tax returns, letter from employer) to prove I am coming back to Singapore. I'm not from a country with a visa waiver program.

Would be keen to hear from others about what the interview was like and whether they looked for other forms of documentation. The above were "suggested" documents on their website.

Thanks!

Posted: Fri, 18 Sep 2009 3:29 am
by sgbum
that is all you need and be honest with all your answers

Goodluck

Posted: Fri, 18 Sep 2009 9:45 am
by carteki
Having been through the experience their main concern is "are you coming back to SG". Things that they're looking for is roots in Singapore (family, job, time that you've lived in Singapore) etc.

On a practical note, bring some reading matter. The appointment time is ONLY to get through security. I had to wait an hour once I was through security! You're not allowed to bring any electronic stuff in.

Good luck.
Kim

Posted: Fri, 18 Sep 2009 6:18 pm
by moto
one of the best pieces of advice i have received regarding these visa interviews?

keep your answers short.

listen carefully to the question and if it can be answered by a monosyllable, do so. you do not need to elaborate unless otherwise asked to. and even then, keep your reply very direct to the point. extended answers make you sound defensive and insecure, and only provide more cues for extended interviewing... and the longer the interview gets, the more you become nervous and the interviewer's senses heightened.

good luck!

Posted: Fri, 16 Oct 2009 4:57 pm
by Currant
Thank you all for your advice.

I did get my visa (yay!) and it was a pretty straightforward in the end. I thought I'd share my experience and the process here anyway because I had quite a lot of difficulty finding info on the internet regarding these interviews. Hopefully this may help some other people.

First and foremost I think it is clear from their website that the basic assumption they work with is that everyone wants to go to the US to live and/or work. It is up to the visa applicant to prove that you are not interested in that and have a good enough reason to come back.

I also do think that the officers profile people and make up their minds by reading the documentation, etc. before they interview the applicants if they are going to approve you. Long interviews seemed to be for less clear-cut cases. My "interview" lasted something like 3 minutes!

So on to the process. My appointment time was 8.00 am. I get to the embassy at 7.45 and there was already a queue of around 20 people in front of me at the entrance. I think the earliest appointments are 7.45.

You clear security (leaving handphones/blackberries switched off and with the guards and you get a number to collect them later) and enter the visa application hall. It is freezing cold (bring a cardigan or sweater). You take a number and wait to be called. I was called at about 8.45. You submit your application form and all your documentation to the person at the window/counter (passports, bank statements, pay slips, letter from employer, previous visas to the US, whatever you think will help you). You get a slip with further instructions on what to do - basically you need to (1) walk over to the cashier to make your $183.40 payment in the form of a cashier's order and (2) wait to be called again unless otherwise instructed. So as mentioned by previous poster, bring something to read!

I was called up after around 45 minutes. You walk up to the little window and have your fingers and thumbprints scanned. Many people had trouble getting a good scan and were asked to rub their digits against their hair/neck to get some oil on it!! (At the place for the Employment Pass, they gave you some hand cream but not here at the embassy). It was all rather comical really, and quite gross at the same time. I wish they'd make people wipe off the scanners and also provide some hand sanitizers or something.

Then the interview started. Basic questions: when are you planning to go, reason, how long are you staying, who you're travelling with, what do you do in Singapore, etc. As I mentioned I think because my documentation was in order, and I earned decently and had a good job, my "interview" was over in less than 5 minutes, as the officer was satisfied that I wasn't a threat I guess.

However, as I sat waiting, I also saw a lot of people really being grilled, some outrightly rejected and walking away sadly. One guy was down to begging "please, please, please I'd do anything for it...". It was all quite strange. Do note that as there are a few counters and you are speaking through a glass panel, practically everyone in the hall (and there were about 30-40 people when I was there) can hear what's going on to the individual applicants. It was hard NOT to eavesdrop.

I was told immediately that my visa was approved and to collect it in two days (and given a pink slip). Pick up time is between 2.30 and 3.30 pm only. I thanked the nice lady and take off happy. All in all I got to the embassy at 7.45 and left at 10.00 am.

Collect your phone and blackberry at guardhouse and be on your way. The picking up of the visa 2 days later was straightforward (it is at the guardhouse itself) so you can actually ask the taxi driver to wait for you while you get it.

That was my experience, hope this may answer someone else's questions...

Posted: Fri, 16 Oct 2009 7:37 pm
by taxico
thanks for sharing, never knew it was such a hassle even before landing on american soil.

i hope you don't get the ethnic pat down. enjoy your stay and happy holidays in advance!

Posted: Fri, 16 Oct 2009 11:32 pm
by muterabbit
i got reject by us embassy......my $180....
cus i just graduate ,no job no income no property....
my vacation travel plan got sculled
:mad:

btw congrats~~

Re: Interview for visa at US embassy

Posted: Sat, 17 Oct 2009 10:50 pm
by Vaucluse
Currant wrote:Hi all,
For a non-native your English is exceptional . . . heck, for a native your English is exceptional.

A pleasure to read.

Have fun on your vacation

Posted: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 2:24 pm
by nakatago
bumping this thread because i don't want to start a new one.

this may sound silly but would an airplane booking/itinerary be highly recommended as a supporting document? because for some countries, they'll tell you NOT to book a flight first but they require to see a flight itinerary issued to your name for your visa application. catch-22, i know, but there are ways around it.

Posted: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 3:21 pm
by poodlek
nakatago wrote:bumping this thread because i don't want to start a new one.

this may sound silly but would an airplane booking/itinerary be highly recommended as a supporting document? because for some countries, they'll tell you NOT to book a flight first but they require to see a flight itinerary issued to your name for your visa application. catch-22, i know, but there are ways around it.
I'm from a visa-exempt country (Canada) but upon entering the USA they ALWAYS want to see my return fare booked. Usually they'll overlook the rest of the 'suggested supporting evidence' if I have at least that (not suggesting you don't supply it though!). I think if you're fairly certain they'll accept your application then it will only help your case to show it.

Posted: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 3:24 pm
by carlsum1986
nakatago wrote:bumping this thread because i don't want to start a new one.

this may sound silly but would an airplane booking/itinerary be highly recommended as a supporting document? because for some countries, they'll tell you NOT to book a flight first but they require to see a flight itinerary issued to your name for your visa application. catch-22, i know, but there are ways around it.
The last time I did my visa to go to USA they specifically told me to do the visa first and not buy a ticket.
I did a sort of a travel plan like this date I plan to do this this and this..
Then I plan to take this flights time dates and flight number.
This was satisfactory for them.

So I guess dont buy a ticket till you get the visa.

Posted: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 3:34 pm
by nakatago
carlsum1986 wrote:
nakatago wrote:bumping this thread because i don't want to start a new one.

this may sound silly but would an airplane booking/itinerary be highly recommended as a supporting document? because for some countries, they'll tell you NOT to book a flight first but they require to see a flight itinerary issued to your name for your visa application. catch-22, i know, but there are ways around it.
The last time I did my visa to go to USA they specifically told me to do the visa first and not buy a ticket.
I did a sort of a travel plan like this date I plan to do this this and this..
Then I plan to take this flights time dates and flight number.
This was satisfactory for them.

So I guess dont buy a ticket till you get the visa.
Ah, because what I did for another country was call up a travel agent to send me a booking in my name. I had three days to pay up or let it go. I was just worried that I had to this again (fyi, I let go of the booking because I saw better fares). :?

Hmmm..... :D

Posted: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 3:59 pm
by carlsum1986
nakatago wrote:
carlsum1986 wrote:
nakatago wrote:bumping this thread because i don't want to start a new one.

this may sound silly but would an airplane booking/itinerary be highly recommended as a supporting document? because for some countries, they'll tell you NOT to book a flight first but they require to see a flight itinerary issued to your name for your visa application. catch-22, i know, but there are ways around it.
The last time I did my visa to go to USA they specifically told me to do the visa first and not buy a ticket.
I did a sort of a travel plan like this date I plan to do this this and this..
Then I plan to take this flights time dates and flight number.
This was satisfactory for them.

So I guess dont buy a ticket till you get the visa.



Ah, because what I did for another country was call up a travel agent to send me a booking in my name. I had three days to pay up or let it go. I was just worried that I had to this again (fyi, I let go of the booking because I saw better fares). :?

Hmmm..... :D


:D i guess I will use that tactic next...and I will be on the blacklist of many travel agents...good tactic...it doesnt matter if they blacklist me cause booking direct with airlines are usually much cheaper.... :D

Posted: Thu, 05 Aug 2010 8:29 pm
by longstebe
nakatago wrote:bumping this thread because i don't want to start a new one.

this may sound silly but would an airplane booking/itinerary be highly recommended as a supporting document? because for some countries, they'll tell you NOT to book a flight first but they require to see a flight itinerary issued to your name for your visa application. catch-22, i know, but there are ways around it.
It can't be used as a supporting document.
I book and pay for my flights online like most, the one thing you can do is pay for the trip insurance. If you are unlucky enough to be denied your visa
then you can go ahead and cancel your flight with a full refund, minus the trip insurance of course.
If you have all your other paperwork in order this will be overlooked anyway.
I have entered the US on many occasions and not once been asked to show my itinerary. They have asked how long my stay is for. Of course it's better to have one with you to show if needed.
Visits to the US, now you have to go online and fill in the necassary documents. It's basically the same as your I-94.

Posted: Thu, 05 Aug 2010 10:25 pm
by nakatago
longstebe wrote: They have asked how long my stay is for. Of course it's better to have one with you to show if needed.
.
well, that's the idea, given that US visa guidelines are vague*--I was basically asking for anything that has a chance--even a slim one--of helping me prove that I will not overstay. anyway, I've decided to pester my hosts for info and addresses and will be booking a flight with an agent (see prior posts) as soon as I clear another hurdle.


*just like PR applications/rejections criteria/reasons as of late.