My previous post
In my previous post I had listed some tips on documentation and preliminary paperwork required for the application of an H4 Visa.
The current post
In this post I will discuss some of the commonly asked questions during the H4 Visa interview. The visa interview process for all the visas can be divided in two segments: One the questions that are asked for any US visa interview and two the questions that are unique for the H4 visa.
Questions regarding general information like name, address, background check, academic background, medical reports, previous work experience and current occupation are likely to be asked in any visa interview.
For the H4 visa the interviewer’s goal is simple: to ensure that the spouse will accompany a legally employed person in the United States and to ascertain if the visa applicant will not try to seek employment in the United States. They do not want you to come and settle here. They also do not want you to come and work illegally here. Hence you must expect questions related to your marriage, your work experience, your spouse’s work experience, his/her salary slips and bank information, home address, information about his employer, etc.
The objective of any visa interview process is to obtain the visa irrespective of all odds. Remember that a good interview strategy can make the process easy.
List of questions asked during my interview
I am listing the questions that were asked during my visa interview. I did some research and more than often the pattern for the interview is similar.
- What is your name?
- Where do you live ? (A little tweet about my hometown)
- What do you do for a living?
- Can you show me your salary slips?
- What are your educational qualifications?
- Are you studying?
- When did you get married? (A quick glance at my ‘chooda’ or customary marriage bangles)
- Can you show me your marriage certificate?
- Do you have any pictures of the marriage ceremony? (Of course I do!)
- What is your spouse’s highest degree? (Now it is all about him..:D)
- Can you show me a copy of his degree?
- Which company does your spouse work for?
- Who is sponsoring your husbands H1?
- Where is his employer located?
- What is the role of your husband in the US Company?
- How long has your husband been in the US ?
- Can you show me his passport? (He wants to verify the US stamping)
- How long has your spouse been working for the sponsoring company?
- Can you show me copies of his payslips? (He wants to know how much he is earning or what is the annual income)
- Can you please show me your tax returns, bank statements, play slips, etc.?
- Can you show me your passport?
- Can you show me his I 797 ?
- Do you intend to work in the United States (The focus is back on me. Of course the answer is a big fat NOOO!)
- How long do you intend to stay in the US ?
- Do you intend to come back to India?
- Do you have a copy of your itinerary?
- Congratulations! you are all set! You will receive the stamped passport within a week to ten days.
That sounds simple. However my visa interview lasted for almost 20 minutes.
- I was wearing an attire befitting a newly wed-I was a walking model for a jeweller so to speak. Lets say it does make a difference!
- My shoes were already hurting me.
- I was carrying many originals and photo copies with me. At times I was struggling to take out the right paper at the right time. There were two heavy folders-one for my documents and another for my husband’s documents. Both these folders were in a big bag..:)
- I was tutored well to answer all the questions well.
- The only unexpected element was that ‘I did not know what to expect’. Obviously my main concerns was ‘What if my visa is denied?’ ‘What if i have to go through this entire process one more time?’ ‘What is something goes wrong’?
Strategies to calm yourself during the visa interview process
- You have to stand outside the US embassy in a long queue**. The queue may last upto a few hours. This is a bummer but take the bright side. This gives you time to adjust to the environment inside the consulate, be comfortable, and gather your thoughts.
- Get hydrated. Carry a water bottle for as long as they do not instruct you to throw it away.
- Look at your documents and make sure you are familiar with your folder.
- Gather your thoughts-think of something positive.
- Talk to others around you.
- Say a little prayer in your heart.
- Be vigilant on how the interview of others is being conducted. Keep an eye on the token monitor right over your head. You will be given a token/queue number.
The H4 visa interview process is relatively simpler than other visas such ( business visas, work visas or student visas) Be focused and just answer the question. Nobody is interested to know anything beyond that. Be polite and firm–fumbling and poor eye contact can invite suspicion and rigorous questioning by the interviewing officer. Just follow one golden rule: ‘preparation helps! It is better to be prepared than sorry!’
Good Luck and I hope your H4 visa interview goes well.
**I cannot say a ‘long queue’ these days as the US Economy is not in a very great shape-loss of jobs, massive layoffs have reversed the immigration process. In fact the H1 quota is still not filled this year. Obviously if there are no H1s being filed there will be lesser H4 visa applications as well.
Updated Dec 2010: Please post any H4 visa related questions on this forum: http://h4-visa.com/