Your H1B petition has been approved by the USCIS and now all you have to do is get H1B visa. Easy, right?
For many, the interview at the U.S. Consulate for a nonimmigrant visa can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially for the first-time applicants. Stories abound regarding bad experiences and denials.
That is why being prepared is absolutely important before going to the interview. To help our readers, we’ve compiled some helpful tips as well as some common questions that Consular Officers ask during the H1B visa interview.
A. Before The H1B Visa Interview
1.Check the Consulate website to ensure you have completed all pre-requisite activities before the interview, including completing the DS-160, paying the fees and completing the fingerprinting requirement.
2.Ensure you have gathered all the required documents for the interview as per the instructions provided on the Consulate website. You should also bring:
a.A complete copy of the H1B petition that was filed on your behalf, including the LCA, and client details (if you will be working at a client site).
b.Your original degree certificates and transcripts in addition to the photocopies as well as the degree evaluation, if applicable.
c.Tax documentation (tax returns and/or Form W-2’s) you may have if you were previously in the U.S., if any.
d.Experience letters, if you were previously employed in a related occupation.
e.An up-to-date resume which is accurate.
f.An updated Job Offer Letter from the US employer, especially if a significant amount of time has passed since the H1B approval and the visa appointment.
g.Paystubs and other proof of employment.
h.Evidence regarding maintenance of status if you were in the U.S.
3.Arrange the documents to be able to identify and hand them quickly to the officer when requested.
4.Carefully review the H1B petition and the documents you have collected. Inconsistent information in the H1B petition and the other documents is a red flag the Consular Officer will be looking out for.
5.Review the questions below and go over them as if you were at the interview. Have someone read the questions to you and make sure you can answer the questions clearly and concisely.
NOTE: H1B visa applicants are technically not required to speak in English and can request a translator for the interview. However, a Consular Officer will become concerned if you are going to be employed and working in the U.S. and cannot communicate in English.
B. The Day Of The H1B Visa Interview
- Make sure you have your Appointment Confirmation Notice and other documentation and arrive at the US Consulate at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment time.
- Dress sharply like professionals. This means you should avoid wearing jeans (which is considered very casual in the U.S. and not meant for business meetings or any formal function) or sneakers.
- Remember to be polite and greet the Consular Officer. While the officer may understand you may be nervous, you want to make a good impression right from the start.
- When answering the Consular Officer’s questions, be honest, polite, clear and concise.
- You should have your documents ready to present to the Consular Officer, but should not provide any document unless the Consular Officer requests it.
C. Common H1B Visa Interview Questions
The following are some questions you should be prepared to answer, irrespective of whether you are going to the Consulate for a fresh H1B visa or an H1B renewal. Remember that the questions may not be exactly as worded here, but could be a variation of these questions.
- How did you find out about this position?
- When/How were you interviewed? (other questions about your interview may be asked)
- What does the U.S. Company do? (or other questions about the company or the department you will be working in)
- How many employees does the U.S. Company have?
- What is the annual turnover of the U.S. Company?
- Who will you be reporting to? What is their position?
- How many people will be on your team? Will you have anyone reporting to you?
- Where in the U.S. will you be working?
- Will you be working at a client location?
- If you are working at a client location, who is the client?
- If you are working “in-house”, what type of projects will you be working on?
- What will your job duties be in the U.S. Company?
- What computer languages do you know? (IT professionals are often asked this question)
- What computer languages are you currently using in your company?
- How long have you worked with your current employer?
- What is your role in the current company?
- What is your current salary?
- Have you ever been in a ‘no-job no-salary’ kind of situation?
- What was your previous job?
- Why do you want to leave your current employer?
- Which university in the U.S. did you obtain your degree from? (This is in case you have a U.S. degree)
- What is your highest degree?
- Where will you be staying in the U.S.?
- How long do you plan to stay in the U.S.?
- Which state do you live in the U.S.? What’s your opinion about the state? (for those who have already been in the U.S.)
The H1B Visa Interview can be an overwhelming, but with the right preparation, you will set yourself up for success. Making sure you have the correct documents and are ready to answer the toughest questions the Consular Officer can throw at you will go a long way in ensuring a positive outcome after the interview. Although no one can guarantee the outcome of an H1B visa interview, your lack of preparation should not be the reason for an adverse decision.
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