Dear Visa Applicant…

A lot of people have asked me what kind of questions would they be asked for the J1 Visa’ interview. My last visa interview was after my 4th year in the university which made the whole situation with the visa approval a lot harder since you have just graduated and the chances for you to stay in America after your Work and Travel program are bigger. 

There are some important things for you to know and to be prepared for:

  1. Stay calm and relaxed. Be confident and smile. These people there meet tons of students every day and they are not only listening to what you say but they are also looking at how you act or at the well known body language. So if you are nervous and acting inadequate they may think you are lying. If you are prepared for the interview there is nothing to be nervous about. So stay calm and show them what you got! 😉

2. What do you do at the moment? – Of course you need to know which year in the university you are and what exactly do you study. It may seems funny to you that I mention it all but trust me there are students that still are not sure how their university program is called. If you are part of any other organisation, NGOs or academies make sure you mention them as well. This will only gonna help you.

3. What are your future plans after you come back? This is your most important question. So make sure to have some future plans or if you do not have any (a common situation when you are in your 20’s) make some. I personally told them that I am going to start my masters once I come back from the States and I knew exactly what I am going to study, how long the program is and what job opportunities would I have after I graduate from this exact program. Then I told them that after graduating I would love to work in the field of PR and marketing and I even named a specific company that I find suitable. Do not just tell them: “Well… I am going to study something, maybe in this university and then we will see.” Be specific and confident so they do not have any doubts you are going to come back and make your plans come true.

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4. Do you have any relatives in the USA? – They ask this every time. And if you do have some relatives there you better do not lie because they have all the information needed in their system already and they are going to find out anyways. If you tell them yourself it may not be a problem but if you lie, it will be for sure.

5. Where exactly are you going? – You should know exactly in which town/ city you are going to work and live. As well as the name of your employer, the place where you are going to work and what your job will be. For sure they will ask you where are you going to stay once you arrive in the US and you should have an address to give them. Even if you still do not have a place to stay, find a hotel and give them the address saying that you are going to stay there for a few days until you organise your accommodation.

6. Why do you want to go to the States? – I would advice you not to mention making money here. First of all, this is a student’s program that suggests that you would be working only 40 hours per week and that main aim is for international students to experience the American culture. So I always say that I love travelling and I want to visit as many places in the States as I can and I would love to go to a concert of a famous star,  to the US open tennis championship, meet new international friends  and so on. 

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7. What other countries have you been in? – Here make sure to mention all the countries you have ever visited. In my case this was a very favourable question since I have travelled a lot and what is more I have been part of at least 4 youth projects funded by the EU which shows them that I have been here and there but I have been coming back every time in my country.

8. How many times have you been in the States and what have you worked? – If you have been a participant in the program before make sure you remember the name of your previous employer and the place where you have worked.

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9. What do your parents do? – Tell them the truth again because they probably already know. The better paid jobs your parents have the better your chances are, of course because they see that you have a financial background in your country and someone to support you.

10. How much money did you make the last summer in America and what did you use them for?  – Again say the right amount since they have your W2 form in the system. I personally said that I travelled with the bigger amount of the money and with the rest I have paid my university fee.

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11. Why are you changing the place? – If you have already been in America with this program they may ask you why are you going to the same place again or if not why are you changing it? If you are going to the same one you may say that you already know the employer there, you have some friends that you want to meet and it is easier for you to find accommodation. If you are going to a new one, you may say that you want to explore more in America, visit a new place and meet new people. Just do not tell them: “Because I had some problems there the previous year and I did not like it.”

12. Why didn’t you go to America last summer? – In my case since I was in America summer 2013 and then I didn’t go the next summer 2014 but I went for a visa interview summer 2015 they asked me why did I miss one summer? Here I said that the last summer I was about to go to Argentina with a volunteer’s program but at the end they couldn’t organise a group to go and I stayed in Bulgaria where I did an internship in PR. The interviewer was impressed that I had the intention to go abroad for a volunteer work and I think this helped me a lot as well.

If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to ask them in the comments below or in our Facebook page. And… Bon Voyage! 🙂

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