Let’s clear this up once and for all. Consular Officers do not make decisions before the U.S. visa interview.

For the majority of visa applications, Consular Officers only know about the case in the 30 seconds leading up to the visa interview, i.e. when they call “next!” to the visa applicant standing in line, and then they quickly pull up the DS-160 application form and scan it for all of the most important information, including:

  • Type of Visa
  • How long does this person plan to spend in the U.S.?
  • What is his or her job/ livelihood?
  • Does he or she have family already in the United States?
  • Has this person been denied a visa before? If so, why does this person believe the visa was denied? <– this answer will tell us a lot about how the interview will go.
  • Have they answered yes to any of the security questions?

We process all of this information in about 30 seconds before the actual interview, which will helps us understand what type of interview this will be. We usually start with a general opening question (“Why are you going to the United States?”) before we start focusing on the specific issues we care about.

This means the visa interview itself is incredibly nuanced. Consular Officers read your facial expressions. They note how nervous or relaxed you are. They scan your visa application and paperwork to make sure you match what is written about you on paper. If there is a discrepancy, they will find out and then the trust is broken, and your visa will be denied, or they will send the petition back to USCIS to be revoked.

Never lie to a Consular Officer – it is a good way to get your visa denied, and perhaps even earn a permanent ban to the United States.

And finally, don’t ever believe someone who guarantees they can get your visa approved – that decision is for the Consular Officer alone. It is impossible for anyone else to guarantee.



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