Interview and Supporting Documents: What you Say Matters More Than What You Show!

Are you applying for a nonimmigrant visa and preparing for your interview, trying to decide which supporting documents to bring to justify your purpose of travel and ties to your home country?

One of the common misconceptions regarding the nonimmigrant visa process is that an applicant’s documents are central to their application. While it’s always advisable to be prepared and important to know which documents are required for certain visa classes, consular officers typically will base their decision more on the interview they have with the applicant than they will on the supporting documents presented to them. The consular officer will likely want to hear you explain your purpose of travel and ties to your home country. If an officer would like to view your documents, he/she will ask for them during the interview. There is no need to present documents if the consular officer does not ask for them.

Consular Officers often use the information in the DS-160 application to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine an applicant’s eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa. When preparing your application, you must provide accurate information in your DS-160 application. Be prepared to answer the questions asked by the consular officer. The consular officer is likely to be interested to know your purpose of travel, how long you intend to stay in the United States, your contacts in the U.S., and your ties to your home country that would compel you to depart the U.S. after your visit.  Always remember: It is what you say, not what you show, that matters in your visa interview.

Information on required and recommended documents is available in our Nonimmigrant Visa Check List (PDF).