We are all aware of the fact that the visa interview outcome varies. On any given day, when two individuals approach the same visa officer seeking an F1 visa, one with an outstanding merit and strong financial background, the other with a poorer merit and not so good financial background. It is likely that one with the poor merit and not so strong financially could end up getting a visa and the other individual is rejected.
I am quite sure, no one knows the exact reason why something like this could happen? Despite we do not have an accurate understanding of the underlining mystery behind these varying outcomes; I do my best to walk through the factors that can turn around this unexpected outcome.
Visa interview is a face-to-face interaction between two individuals. Evidently no matter how well you prove your financial security and educational background to a visa officer, human factors play a key role in almost any visa interview. So having strong interpersonal skills is extremely important and inevitably it is an added advantage for a positive visa outcome.
Well, what interpersonal factors contribute to a successful visa interview?
A visa interview does not start with the first question. It starts right the moment you come face-to-face with a visa consular. So first impression is extremely important and you have no idea how true this is! Research has shown that counselor assess candidates through nonverbal communication as much as verbal communication.
Smile: The smile is your biggest asset. Having a confident smile throughout an interview shows a positive outlook. It connects you to the interviewer and helps to project that you are enthusiastic for the information you are sharing. Most importantly, a confident smile conveys the counselor you are friendly, open and genuine.
Eye contact: Eye contact with the visa officer is extremely crucial. Looking down or side gives a negative impression that you are not confident, nervous or rude. Having an eye contact communicates your enthusiasm, passion, and interest. Don’t overlook this valuable communication tool.
Posture: Right posture is a positive sign of confidence and poise. Take a deep breath and stand up straight. Good posture communicates confidence, passion, and boldness.
Appearance plays a supporting role. It supports your image and reflects the person you are who takes the interview seriously. Appearance isn’t just everything. But important enough to consider and make it a priority. You don’t want to walk into the interview looking sloppy. Look neat and professional. A good attire reflects positive outlook. Avoid too much makeup; Jewelry should be kept to a minimum; don’t apply too much perfume; don’t chew gum; These are just few apparent reasons that can lead to an unexpected outcome.
Communication is inevitably a key element in the interview. Effective communication projects a positive image and boosts your chances. So it is very important to communicate clearly and precisely. Avoid using filler words such as ‘Like’, ‘Um’, or ‘I guess’ in sentences. Pay extreme attention to the counselor questions and answer slowly and appropriately. If there is any possibility, practice English speaking with a native speaker before the interview. This tremendously helps you in many ways. All in all, clear communication is very essential to interview success.
4. Timing is critical
Normally, visa interview doesn’t last for that long, if you are more lucky, even less than two minutes. Because of the significant number of applications that are received seeking visas, apparently, counselors are extremely busy and try to conduct interviews quickly and efficiently. Having said that, keep your answers brief and short without much elaboration and extra examples. You should be able to use the limited amount of time wisely in answering counselor questions effectively.
A little nervousness is quite normal. The pressure to do well in the interview can lead to anxiety, but don’t let it ruin your visa interview. Remember to relax and just be yourself. Don’t let the fear of interview overtake your mind and control you. This can be overcome through intense preparation.
If your dream is to study in the United States, all starts right here – Preparation. No matter the level of financial security and educational background backs up for you, preparation is a must. Know the program and how it fits you – The more you know about your program, the more focused your answers will be. You should be able to prove yourself that you have enough skills, background, and ability to advance your studies or work in the United States. Successful visa interviews are not just based on documentation and background.
Personality, enthusiasm, confidence, positive outlook, appearance, and clear communication count heavily in a visa interview.