[US Visa] Part 5 – Interview Tips, Secrets and Reminders

Note: out of all the US Visa-related posts, THIS one is the most crucial.

There are plenty of reasons for someone to go to the US. Unless you have an invitation letter from a US-based company to be on official business such as attending a meeting or training, especially if it’s all-expenses paid, I believe the easiest, most believable reason to be approved for a visa would be to simply tour the US, which requires a B1/B2 visa. Not necessarily visiting (terminally ill or otherwise) family or relatives (although when asked, which will most likely happen, answer truthfully); not getting medical attention; not doing business; not accompanying your boss; but simply being a tourist. I saw plenty of instances during interviews where the VA excused herself to make sure that the applicant was applying for the correct visa, for whatever purpose their trip was. Avoid this and getting denied simply because you applied for the wrong visa type by getting a B1/B2 visa and traveling to the US primarily (or solely) to be a tourist.


There is just a 1% chance that the visa officer will take a look at your documents, and this happens when he or she is not satisfied with your interview responses. Answer correctly and you will get approved – it’s as simple as that! You already know that you’re supposed to *truthfully* prove 1) strong economic and family ties to the Philippines and 2) that you’re going to be a tourist who will visit temporarily. Just make sure that you are able to clearly convey those to the visa officer by keeping the following in mind:

SMILE AND BE CONFIDENT Actually, be confident to the point of self-entitlement. Smiling denotes confidence. In psychology, there’s a behavior called “mirroring.” Be visibly optimistic as opposed to anxious, so that the visa officer could channel that positive energy too. Respond anxiously during the interview like your whole life depended on it and you most certainly will get denied. 
BE AWARE OF ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOU APPEAR NERVOUS. Sweaty palms? Fidgeting fingers? To each his own. Prior to the interview, even though I wasn’t nervous I noticed I kept swallowing my saliva for some reason. I didn’t want the VA to misconstrue that this was a sign of nervousness or apprehension so I had to consciously stop it. Before being called for interview, it would be good to go to the bathroom, take a deep breath, smile, and take one good look at yourself. Just don’t take too long!
RESPOND IN STRAIGHT ENGLISH. Yes, the embassy may have their roster of Tagalog, Bisaya, Chabacano, etc… translators. But for simplicity’s sake, use English. Americans are outspoken and outgoing, and lack of confidence in speaking in English might be mistaken for apprehension, lying, or being uneducated and possibly attempting to be illegally employed in the US. You don’t have to have an accent; simply rehearse your answers ahead of time. 
KEEP CALM. When confronted with an accusation, smile, then politely and dismissively deny it by providing a reassuring counter-argument. Keep cool like it’s no big deal.
BE PREPARED. See the requirements checklist post.
BE WELL-TRAVELED. It increases your chances GREATLY since this is a very common question asked of all applicants. I saw a family of five who have only been to Hong Kong and Bangkok get denied, although keep in mind this might not have been the only reason. Frankly, just about anyone has been to those two destinations that it’s no different than going to Tagaytay or Baguio. If you haven’t traveled much and don’t need to go to the US immediately, perhaps you can consider applying further in the future. Remember, 7200 pesos (plus other incidental expenses, your time and visa record) is at stake here so don’t rush it.
After taking into account all the tips I’ve written above, worst case is I think you can get at least a single-entry visa, which is better than nothing at all.

Good luck with your application!

      Do you have any other tips you would like to share with other readers? Comment below!

NOTE: This guide was created based on a B1/B2 (business/tourist) visa application. Some information may not be applicable for other visa types.

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: How to Apply (Step by step)
Part 3: Requirements Checklist
Part 4: Actual Interview Questions
Part 5: IMPORTANT! Interview tips
Part 6: What you do NOT have to worry about at the US Embassy
Part 7: When your visa is denied

Share this post:

Hi! I'm Kevin, a published travel writer, and this is my travel blog about first and business class flights, airport lounges, shopping, visa information and local travel credit cards for mileage programs. In 2017, I fulfilled my personal goal of visiting over 30 countries before I turned 30 years old and I would be more than glad to help you achieve your own #travelgoals too. ;)

Please follow me on IG at:

Leave a Reply