Top Mistakes to Avoid during a Visa Interview

Guest post by Richard Herman

Planning to leave the country but nervous about your visa interview? Well, interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re applying for a visa to the UK or the US. Maybe you spent all your time on the review process and forgot the last step of your visa process. The visa interview is crucial to getting your visa. applying for an H1-B visa or interviewing for a green card, you should know what to expect. All you must do is give your answers confidently, know the purpose of your interview, and avoid some basic mistakes that could give the wrong impression.

Common Mistakes to Avoid during Your Visa Interview

Even if you’ve all the documents, your visa may be refused. About 20% of visas are rejected because of basic mistakes people make during the interview. Here are some mistakes you should avoid that might sabotage your visa application.

1. Arriving Late for Your Interview

When you apply for a visa interview, you’ll be given an exact date and time. The most common mistake people make is to take this lightly. Even the slightest delay can leave a bad impression on your interviewer. The diplomat may think you’re a negligent candidate if you’re
late for your interview. No matter how far away the place of your interview is or how tired you were the day before, you should never keep your interviewer waiting. To make a good impression on the diplomat, you should try to arrive at least 10 minutes before the assigned time. You should always take into account the traffic situation in your area to make sure you aren’t late.

2. Having an Unsuitable Appearance

Even though an interview for a visa isn’t comparable to an interview for a job, first impressions count. You do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on new clothes, but you should dress smartly for the interview. Arriving at the embassy sloppily dressed can hurt your chances of getting an approved visa. It’s always advisable to wear formal clothes when going to a visa interview. Your clothes should be ironed properly, and your footwear should be clean or polished. Also, don’t wear too much make-up or perfume to the interview. This also applies when you are preparing for a marriage green card interview.

3. Not Being Well Prepared for the Interview

Preparing a day or two before the interview is a good idea and can increase your chances of getting your visa approved. One common mistake people make is not being adequately prepared. Although not all interviews are the same, there are some questions that are
commonly asked during these interviews. You should read and research a few questions before you go to your interview. If you know
what kind of questions to expect, you can prepare the answers before the day.

4. Providing False Information

During a visa interview, the diplomat wants to know more about you and your details. He’ll judge your character on how correctly and frankly you give him all the information. Incorrect information in your application or during the interview may affect your visa applications approval.
A visa application is an official document. Providing false information in your document may not only lead to rejection but may also severely affect your future ability to apply for a visa. Even if the question you’re asked is sensitive, you should answer it truthfully and confidently.

5. Not Carrying the Necessary Supporting Documents

Depending on which visa you’re applying for, there are different documents you’ll need to present at the interview. If you show up for your interview without the required documents, it may affect your chances of getting the visa approved. The diplomat may think you’re careless and demonstrate insignificance. Instead, you should research the required documents in advance and prepare them for your
interview. This way, you avoid having to look for your documents at the last minute. You can also make a simple checklist on your phone and go through it to make sure you haven’t forgotten any documents.

6. Giving Unnecessary Information during the Visa Interview

Sharing too much information with the interviewer in order to appear smart and confident can be detrimental to your visa interview. This information may trigger additional questions from the diplomat that you may be unprepared for. The official isn’t interested in wasting hours
trying to know everything about you. Instead, he’d rather have clear answers to the questions he asks. It would help if you didn’t try to impress the officer with exaggerated answers. By keeping your responses short and simple, you can maintain the natural flow of the conversation.

7. Not Carrying Appropriate Fee for the Application

Embassies or consulates have pretty strict rules when it comes to payment. If you don’t know exactly how much you’ve to pay for your application, it can have a negative impact on your visa. You should make sure that you know the payment method and the amount of the
fee for the interview. Most embassies don’t accept cash and prefer a bank cheque for your visa application or the issuing fee. You should check reliable sources such as government websites and obtain all payment-related information in advance.

8. Arguing or Disagreeing with the Visa Official

If you start arguing with the visa officer, there’s a good chance that your visa will be refused. An aggressive tone of voice and rude behavior toward officials shows the interviewer that you don’t respect authority. Officials don’t want such detrimental people entering a foreign
country. When communicating with your visa officer, you should use a confident but polite tone. It would help if you used sophisticated language when clarifying a topic with your interviewer. You can also request a regional language interpreter if you aren’t fluent in English.

What to Expect after Your Visa Interview?

The real moment of truth comes after you’ve finished your visa interview. Your diplomat will tell you whether your application has been rejected or accepted. If your visa gets approved, you’ll receive your passport with the stamp by post. However, you must wait at least six months before applying again if your visa is denied. When preparing for your visa interview, make sure you’re confident and honest. Getting your visa approved is easy if you take care to avoid the most common mistakes.


Richard Herman is a nationally renowned immigration lawyer, author, and activist. He has dedicated his life to advocating for immigrants and helping change the conversation on immigration. He is the founder of the Herman Legal Group, an immigration law firm launched in 1995 and recognized in U.S. World News & Report’s “Best Law Firms in America.” He is the co-author of the acclaimed book, Immigrant, Inc. —Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (John Wiley & Sons, 2009). Richard’s poignant commentary has been sought out by many national media outlets, including The New York Times, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Forbes, FOX News (The O’Reilly Factor), National Public Radio, Inc., National Lawyers Weekly, PC World, Computerworld, CIO, TechCrunch, Washington Times,

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