10 Mistakes to Avoid when Applying for a US Visa 

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Planning to go through your US visa interview? You are probably already familiar with the main keys to a successful outcome: answering questions truthfully and clearly, providing all required documents, and being able to prove your lack of immigration intent.

But there are less obvious nuances that can negatively affect the visa officer’s decision. Be sure to read these points to improve your chances of obtaining a visa!


1. Requesting a US visa on a new blank passport

New blank passport

The main purpose of the most common type of US visa (B1/B2) is for tourism and business travel. And to get it, you must already be a person who travels regularly – otherwise, you could be mistaken for a potential immigrant.

Tip: To improve your chances of obtaining a US visa, start by travelling to countries with more lenient visa regimes.


2. Noncompliant U.S. visa photo 

Noncompliant U.S. visa photo 

You will need your photograph twice when you apply: electronically for your DS-160 form and in print for your interview at the embassy. It is essential that the photographs are identical and show your current appearance.

If it is obvious that the photograph has been taken more than 6 months ago, it may well be unacceptable. In addition, photos must comply with strict size and biometric requirements. Learn the detailed specifications for the US visa photo here.

Tip: entrust processing U.S. visa photos to specialized professional service.


3. Pay for the tickets and hotel in advance

Pay for the tickets and hotel in advance

Air tickets and hotel vouchers may negatively influence the visa officer’s decision. Since you have already paid for everything, they may think that their opinion doesn’t really matter that much.

Tip: It is better to get your visa first and then buy your tickets and hotel.


4. Apply for a visa to the US if you change jobs frequently or are new to the company

The visa officer will get the impression that you are not happy in your home country. This may be a reason for refusal.

Tip: The visa application form is complex, so make sure you work on your job history. Also, in the first six months of employment, you cannot take a holiday, so you should apply for a visa only after this term.


5. Worry that the participation in the Green Card Lottery will affect your visa 

Green Card

You can enter the Diversity Visa lottery as many times as you like. It will not affect your chances of obtaining a tourist visa, because different consulate departments are responsible for processing these kinds of applications.

Tip: If you have been in the lottery, just don’t bring it up in the interview in any way, and don’t be nervous that an officer might raise it.


6. Not thinking through your route in advance

Not thinking through your route in advance

If you want to go to Las Vegas and play in a casino, great. If you want to be in Manhattan, fine. You want to go wild in Texas, no problem. But you need to be clear about your destination and the places you want to visit.

If you begin to stammer when answering this question, the consul will doubt that you are really going to the US as a tourist.

Tip: Plan your itinerary carefully and outline your intentions.


7. Take the costs of travel entirely on your own if you are a student

The visa officers may not like students at the age of 20-23 who are working and paying for the trip themselves. Why? If the student is so independent in his home country, he will find an interesting offer and be able to stay in America.

Tip: It is better to make a parent the sponsor of the trip. For this you need a reference from the sponsoring parent’s place of work.


8. Requesting a visa to the US for longer than a month if you are a mum

If you are a mumThe visa officer will not appreciate the motivation of a mother who intends to leave her children behind for a long time. Usually a refusal is issued in such a case.

Tip: You should justify the trip and explain to the officer who will take care of the children while the mother is away.


9. Getting a visa to the US on an invitation from someone you don’t know well

Many people think that you can increase your chances of getting a visa by submitting an invitation from an American. In fact, this is not the case because having connections in the U.S. can be a reason to immigrate.

Also you will be asked questions at the interview about the person you are going to visit: what is their job, how long have you been friends, why are you going to visit them.

Tip: Only apply for a visa by invitation when you are actually visiting someone. If the lie is discovered, the visa will definitely be refused.


10. Complicate things

Complicate things

Abundance of references and cover letters will not affect your chances of getting a visa. It is just a waste of time and effort. You will not have time to explain to the visa officer why you included additional papers to the basic application packet.

The interview lasts for 5-6 minutes and you have to make everything briefly and clearly

Tip: Only submit the necessary documents. Find out which papers to include in the article How to successfully pass a US visa interview.  

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