In trying to anticipate visa interview questions that will be asked to finalize your visa application process, most people looking to travel simply get lost as they don’t honestly know what to expect. Having worked in an embassy myself for years, I can confirm that the process of preparing a visa interview questionnaire is as daunting for the consular staff as it is for the applicant. Just as you don’t know what to expect, they also do not know what to expect in applicants coming through the door.
Related Article: 10 things you must not do during a U.S visa interview
However, one thing is clear, they want to make sure that as little people as possible make it across the border. Why? Well, that’s pretty simple. With the global economic downturn and with countries looking to get to pre pandemic levels of economic outputs, the fewer the people looking for greener pastures in their country, the better it is for resource generation and circulation.
So, whether you seek a visa to travel to Australia, Canada, the United States, The United Kingdom, New Zealand or even Finland, the questions asked during these visa interviews are usually fixed, but asked to get targeted response from applicants.
So, are you a first-time applicant looking to get the stamp of approved on your passport? Or are you one who has been rejected in the past? Maybe even more than once. Not to worry, in this post I will be dissecting 16 visa interview questions that are usually asked and prep you up with the right response to each question.
In your preparation for your next interview, who better to hold your hand and guide you through than someone who had sat through countless interviews and seen candidates approved as well as rejected. So, let’s jump right into it.
Visa Interview Questions
Why Do You Seek To Travel To This Destination?
At face value, this is supposed to be a pretty straight forward question. Bearing in mind that prior to this visa interview you had submitted a properly filled visa application form together with all supporting documents. So, they know the purpose of your intended trip. Then why ask this question?
During a visa interview process irrespective of which country’s embassy you are interviewing in, one of the purposes of running an applicant through a questionnaire is to catch him/her out in a lie. To judge how honest or consistent you are with your narrative.
As soon as inconsistencies arise in your tale, you are done. Your visa will definitely be rejected. When asked about your purpose of travel keep your answer short and straight to the point. For example; “I am traveling to further my studies” or “I am traveling for a medical treatment”.
You don’t need to tell the officer it’s a master’s degree program, or you will be studying in the prestigious University of Melbourne, Australia. There is no need for that, if the interviewing officer wants to know more, he/she will ask more visa interview questions in this direction for clarity.
Have You Visited This Destination Before?
When answering this question as well as other questions that will be put to you, try to relax, although I don’t recommend that you be too relaxed, because being too relaxed guarantees that you will definitely make mistakes by giving too much information away.
When asked if you have visited the United Arab Emirate, Australia, Canada, the United States or whatever country’s embassy you are interviewing in, think deeply and don’t rush to give a response. You might have laid over in Dubai on your way to Australia the last time you embarked on an international trip.
A layover is still considered as visiting a particular destination even if you were holed up in the airport the whole time. You could have also been in coma while you were being transported for treatment in another country.
Being unconscious is no excuse, particularly if you laid over in this destination while connecting to your final destination. If your answer to this question is; ’no’. Your travel record would show otherwise. Such mix up as minor as it may sound is enough to get your visa application denied.
If you are not sure or cannot remember, then say so. Your visa interview session could be rescheduled for another time at which point you must have gathered all the facts. There’s provision for this when all the facts are not readily available.
If you have all the facts available at the time of the visa interview, a simple yes or no response would suffice. That’s of course depending on whether you have actually visited the country in question in the past.
Do You Have Friends, Relatives Or People You Know Residing In This Country?
This question seeks to establish your credibility in relations to the history of your family members or friends already in your intended destination country. If you have friends or family members already in the country, they will be checked to see if they are law abiding in their civic practices, by extension since they are related to you, it is assumed that you all share similar values, beliefs and ideology.
However, if they have problems with the law or are found to be illegal immigrants, this will greatly impact your chances of securing a visa to enter the country, as it will be assumed that you are looking to follow in the footsteps of your relatives.
Before you go on to answer; ‘no’. When asked this question, ensure that you don’t have Facebook friends or twitter and Instagram acquaintance located in this country. As the research involved in granting applicants visa is quite thorough.
Having worked for the consular section of an embassy and been in several teams of people running background checks on different visa applicants, in my experience, the little things are the reason why some applications get rejected.
If you have friends or relatives in this country, a simple; ‘yes, I do’ will do and if you don’t; ‘no, I don’t’.
What Arrangement Have You Made For Your Accommodation?
As part of the preparation to embark on this trip, it is assumed that you should have made plans as to where you will be staying upon arriving your intended destination. If applying for a student visa, you must have made a down payment for your on or off campus accommodation.
If traveling for vacation, you should have made a hotel reservation. When asked this question, simply disclose that you will be staying on or off campus or in a hotel if you are applying for a tourist visa. Leave it at that, if they require a support document to this effect, then show them a proof of payment.
Do not say that you plan on making accommodation plans when you get to Australia, if that is your intended destination or you plan to go to your church in New York, for your housing needs. That just wouldn’t cut it as such response will definitely ensure that your visa application gets rejected.
Can You Tell Me Why You Decided To Embark On This Trip At This Time?
This question seeks to ascertain whether there is a pattern which shows you usually travel at this time of the year. And if this is the case, whether you do or don’t have an immigration violation relating to visa overstayed.
Sometimes this question seeks to know whether your application for a visa is based on a special circumstance. For instance, if the applicant is an asylum seeker coming into the country as a refugee. If this is the case the application is normally fast tracked.
Whatever your reason is, keep it short and brief. “I am traveling for vacation, because I am on leave from work”. “I am traveling to further my studies at the University of Northampton because the fall semester begins in September”. If support documents are requested, then produce them. Other than that, make your response a compound sentence.
What Is Your Duration Of Stay In The Country?
This visa interview question seeks to know the timeframe in which you plan on staying for. They seek to know whether you plan on honoring the terms of your visa. Or whether you plan on staying on as an illegal immigrant upon expiration of your visa.
If you are traveling to Australia, Canada or the United States for work, then your duration of stay is the timeframe in which your contract with the company seeking your services agreed upon. If traveling to study, then duration is the period of time your course last for.
Do not factor in any extra time, in trying to respond to this question. So, if you are applying for a student visa, do not add the period you will be working under a post study work arrangement. That’s a different application and if you do such estimations your chances of getting a study visa will be greatly hampered.
Your duration of stay is normally captured in a document, which might be a letter from the company you work for disclosing that you have been granted a leave of absence to resume after a certain period or a confirmation of enrolment from your intending university stating that you have been enrolled in a course, with beginning and ending dates.
This is the best time to display such document.
Why Do You Plan To Stay For Such A Long Time? Can Your Stay Be Shortened?
It could be that you plan on staying for an extended period of time, this could be because you are traveling to have a major surgical procedure done and you will require the doctor to keep you under close supervision. If this is the case, now would be the right time to tell your visa interviewer the reason for your planned extended stay in their country.
You could also be traveling to resume work in a Canadian company, with a period of 6 months set aside for the training of new recruits. You might want to inform the consular staff of these developments and how it affects your length of stay in Canada. Full disclosure makes the process easy and seamless.
Who Will You Be Traveling With?
Most countries allow for visa applications to be submitted per family, but these are usually processed individually. If you plan on traveling with your spouse, partner or children, who themselves have already submitted their visa application.
The right thing to do would be to inform your interviewing officer that you plan on trying with your wife/partner and children. However, if you are applying for a visa for just yourself. Simply respond that you plan to travel alone.
Do not inform the consular staff that you are traveling alone, when your family members also put in applications to for their respective visas. This will be discovered, as mentioned earlier the research carried out per application is rather thorough. And as soon as you are found out, your visa as well as those of your family members will all be rejected.
Have You Booked Your Ticket?
This here is a tricky question that must not be responded to in a rush. As there are a number of tickets that can be booked when one is preparing to embark on a trip to another country. So, take a second to think about it.
Then, ask for clarity. Which ticket is the questioner asking about? Does he/she mean flight ticket? Does he mean a hotel reservation? Does he mean concert tickets if you are applying for a tourist visa. Giving a wrong answer here can jeopardize your chances of getting a visa.
More often than not, this usually translates to flight tickets. If this is the case, then your response should be; “no, I haven’t”. This is because you cannot book a flight ticket without a visa and responding that you have booked one, shows that you were overly confident that you would secure a visa. This could act against you in the look run.
How Much Do You Think Your Stay In The Country Will Cost?
It’s paramount that you research the city, county or state you plan on living in while overseas to ascertain the standard of living as well as the cost implication of residing there for an extended period. Depending of course on your duration of stay.
This information must be gotten before the date of your visa interview. The figure extrapolated for the cost of living should take into account the nature of the city. Is it a cosmopolitan city like London or is it located in the suburbs like Northampton?
The hard figures obtained should be correlated against the cost of upkeep for a day, a week, a month and a year. Then estimated against the period in which the applicant plans on staying in the country. The final sum should be disclosed when this question is asked.
Being ignorant of this figure, would be very detrimental to the approval of your visa application, because the amount required for savings to cater for the applicant’s upkeep is related to the sum of money that will be displayed in the candidate’s bank statement. It is consequently important to be equipped with this figure.
When asked about the cost of staying in this country, you must not quote an absolute figure. An estimate would suffice.
What Do You Do For A Living? How Much Do You Earn?
The whole time the visa interview is taking place, the interviewer is looking to determine whether the applicant will return to his/her home country upon expiration of visa. This question makes this quest clearer.
Having a job or a source of livelihood means that the applicant has something to return to and would not overstay his/her visa. On the other hand, being without a job or a source of livelihood paints a totally different picture, particularly if the applicant is applying for a tourist visa.
The burden of proof is thus always on the side of the candidate applying for a visa to show his/her employment letter or proof of ownership in the form of incorporation papers, if the applicant claims ownership of a business.
When asked this question, simply respond with your nature of work as well as the amount you earn in your local currency. If you are a student and haven’t started working, you could disclose this fact to your interviewer. Whatever you do try to be honest at all times.
How will You Be Paying For Your Trip? Are You Being Sponsored?
This question seeks to identify your line of credit. This is the point where your bank statement or document highlighting the study scholarship you have been awarded will have to be revealed. It seeks to ensure that you have enough financial cover for your duration of stay.
Any legitimate bank statement will do. However, if the name of the account holder is different from the applicant’s, there must be a legal document that explains the relationship between both parties. A simple verbal explanation would not suffice here.
Are You Married? Do You Have Children? Do You Have Pets? Who Is Going to Look After Your Kids And Pets While You Are Away?
Are You Married?
This question seeks to find out if you have someone waiting for you back home. It plays directly into the previous narrative of looking to figure out if you will overstay your visa. Having a spouse or partner who is not traveling with you and expecting your return speaks volumes.
If you are married, then your answer should be; “yes, I am”. If not; “no, I am not”.
If you are currently filing for a divorce, but this hasn’t been finalized, then you are legally still married to your spouse. Do not disclose that you are single, because you’ve filed for a divorce this will be translated as being dishonest and could jeopardize your chances.
Do You Have Children?
If you have children, this is when that disclosure is made. Whether they are traveling with you or not is not the point. Don’t forget, only give answers to questions that are asked.
If you have children, just like in the case of the married question; “yes, I do”. If not; “no, I don’t”
Do You Have Pets?
It is key that you don’t give an umbrella response to all 3 questions. So, when asked; are you married? Do you have children? Do you have pets? Do not give a single sentence response for all 3 questions. Instead treat them as individual inquiries.
If you have pets, simply respond; “yes, I do”. If not; “no, I don’t”. You don’t need to give detailed information about the type of pet you have. Just like with a partner or a spouse, this question seeks to find out whether you have anything significant waiting for you back home.
Who Is Going to Look After Your Kids And Pets While You Are Away?
If you do have children and pets, but do not plan to travel with them, this is where you highlight the plans you’ve put in place to make sure they are all taken care of while you are away. These itemized plans need to be very detailed, showing the relationship between you and the person who’s saddled with the responsibility of looking after your loved ones.
If you paid an animal care professional to look after your pet when you are away, then give a detailed response to this regard.
What About Your Property And Belongings, Who Is Going to Oversee Their Upkeep While You Are Away?
The consulate staff is looking to make sure you are not going to vanish as soon as you exit your country. In knowing that your estate and belongings are still under your ownership, they know that you will have to return home to regain control of their administration.
If you have liquidated your properties and belongings, in liquidation, I mean converted them into cash, this is going to raise a lot of suspension and might paint a picture of a man/ woman who does not plan on coming back to his country.
You can respond to this question by highlighting the person or organization who is/are going to oversee the affairs of your estate while you are away. It will help to show documented evidence of the timeline that will see the end to this arrangement.
Do You Have Intentions Of Staying Back In The Country?
Looking for visa interview questions? They don’t come blunter than this. With this question, the interviewer seeks to know whether there might be planned or unplanned circumstances that might keep you back in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Finland, the United Kingdom, the United States or whatever country you might be seeking to travel to.
A lot of things could make you stay back, for one; you might find love abroad, you could be a tourist who decides to enroll in one of the local universities abroad or you could identify a business opportunity. Whatever the case might be, to ensure that your visa application is granted, I suggest you assure the visa officer that you do not plan to overstay your visa.
How Can You Assure Me That You Will Return Back To Your Country?
If you ever get asked this question, then rest assured that you hold the key to get your visa application approved or rejected. The consular interviewer seeks to be convinced that you will be returning to your home country on or before the expiration of your visa.
If you are a working class citizen who’s only traveling for vacation, then your passion for your job as well as the salary you earn should do the trick. If you are a student traveling to study abroad, then a job that’s waiting for you at the end of your studies should be enough.
If you are a businessman whose business is thriving, then your income statement should be more than adequate to prove that you don’t have any reason to not return if granted a visa to travel.
As long as you have a concrete reason to return, this visa interview question shouldn’t pose a problem of any kind. People who struggle with this question are those who are unemployed and really do not have anything keeping them back in their home country.
Intangibles Related To Preparing For A Visa Interview
Preparing with potential visa interview questions that will be asked is not the only aspect to the process you should be mindful about, there are other intangible dimensions that should be considered such as the attire you plan on wearing for the occasion.
For instance, if you are an applicant from any of the countries in Africa, looking too western might send a wrong message. If you are a European or American traveling to Africa or Asia having an ungroomed beard might be misconstrued. Thus, you have to consider these things when preparing for your interview.
At the heart of whether you are going to be awarded visa to travel to another country or not is the debate as to if you will be returning to your country on or before the expiration of your visa. The 16 questions highlighted in this article directly or indirectly are related to this premise.
Are you married or single? With children or pets? Student or worker? The same burden of proof is levied on all applying parties. All visa interview questions are crafted such that the immigration services of your intending country through their consular operations can identify genuine applicants from the ones who are rotten.
What do you think? Do you think most visa interview processes are rigged making it difficult for deserving applicants? And in your opinion which is the hardest country to get into?