So, I’ve had the chance of attending both interviews at the US consulate in India (Chennai). Both H1B and B1/B2 visas, as I’ve been to the US on both type of visas (I have a 15 year B1/B2 visa as well). The questions that get asked at different consulates are different or are dependent on your case and the officer who interviews you. However, there are some common/popular questions officers ask. Let me share some of the most popular ones here. If you are attending a US visa interview, these will help you prepare well.
H1B Interview Questions
On the H1B visa, you obviously are going to the US for work. Typically, H1B visas are valid for 3 – 6 years and the questions you get asked at the interview are related to work mostly. Here goes..
Where are you going to work in the United States?
Answer with your company details. Name the company, where it is located and where you will be working.
Note that this information will be provided to USCIS who can randomly come in to your office at some point of time (while you are in the US) to check whether you actually work at the physical location you mentioned. Some companies send employees for on-site assignments and they won’t necessarily be working at the office address but at a client’s site. In this case, it is recommended that you state this outright at the interview.
Who is your employer or sponsor?
Name the company offering you the visa and state their business.
Ex: XYZ software company is sponsoring me, they are into software development.
Do you know the owners of this company?
Recommended that you find out who are the owners of the company, including the President, Chairman, Board of Directors etc.
How did you come to know about this opportunity/company?
Let them know the truth. It could be through a job board, your existing employer in India or something else. Don’t hide information.
Are you going to be doing on-site work?
Provide a relevant answer.
Where is your office going to be?
Give the physical address of your employer. Try to memorize the address.
Where are you going to stay?
If you have made arrangements already, let them know.
Ex: At the Marriot at Irvine, California from this date to this date.
What is your salary?
Disclose your annual CTC in dollars.
Ex: $100,000 annually.
Do you intend to live in the US?
There have been debates on whether to answer yes or no to this question. My opinion is to be honest about it and not lie.
For ex: “Currently not looking to live in the US.”
When are you returning to India?
Ex: At the end of my visa in 20xx.
Do you have family in the US?
Be honest and disclose the details of each family in the US. Try to memorize their addresses for easy reference.
Do you have assets in India?
If you own a property in India, let them know the details.
Ex: Yes I do. I own a land/apartment in Chennai.
Where are your family members in India?
List out your living family members in India. Where they are and what they do, if asked.
Do you have any business/work in India?
Fully disclose your businesses in India. Ideally, there should not be any as you are supposed to work only for your sponsor/employer while on H1B visa.
Ex: Yes, I have a freelance business in India, but it is non functional currently.
Who is paying for your visa/immigration/legal expenses?
Ideally, your legal/immigration expenses should be taken by the sponsor/employer. If they are asking you to pay them, let the officers know. It is illegal to take the money from employees/applicants for legal/immigration.
Who is paying for your flight tickets/travel?
Ideally, your employer/sponsor should be taking your travel expense. But be honest and let the officer know who is taking it.
When is your passport expiring?
You should know the dates on which your Indian passport is expiring. Being prudent about it gives the impression that you are serious about it and probably wouldn’t over look it during your stay in the US.
Have you traveled abroad before?
Be honest and let the officers know which countries you’ve been to previously. Your passport would already have this info, so be honest and give all the details. There might be additional questions like “What were you doing in UAE?”, so be prepared to answer them as well.
Are you married? How long have you been married? What does your spouse do?
Be honest and give the right information. Keep the specifics to yourself and give answers only when asked. You might be asked for details and proof of your claims, like marriage photos, certificates etc. Keep them handy.
Do you know the average living cost in the city you’re going to live in?
This question is asked to get an idea about whether or not you are aware of the living costs in your city. As you might be aware that cost of living in US varies by each city, and it is important to know what the costs are. (Source)
What is your companies product?
You are supposed to explain what your company produces.
Ex: ABC makes enterprise software for data backup.
How big is your team and what do you contribute?
You are supposed to know which team you will be working with and how big they are. Give some information about how big it is and how you fit in.
How will you manage your expenses before your first paycheck?
Good companies will take care of your expenses initially. If your company does, let the officer know how much they are contributing or what they are doing. If not, tell them that you are going to manage it yourself and by how much. You might need to provide proof that you have enough funds with you.
What is your role in the company?
You are supposed to explain what you do at your company in terms of work contribution and otherwise. Sometimes, this is followed up by questions like “Will you be managing a team?”. The more authority you posses, the lesser the risk is of granting visa.
Will you be in-charge of hiring?
This question is to check how much authority you posses at your organization and how key a role your’s is. Be honest and answer if you will be incharge of hiring or not.
Are you happy with this offer?
Officer will ask such questions to ensure that your offer isn’t bogus and you are indeed safe taking up the job. You can be honest here and say things like “It is definitely challenging but I’m looking up for it” or similar.
Do you have enough funds with you?
Show proof of your bak statements in India, to prove that you indeed have funds with you.
B1/B2 Interview Questions
The B1/B2 visa is obviously for business /pleasure travel and normally extends from 3 – 11 months. The questions asked at B1/B2 interview are around your tenure of stay and as I understand, the officer tries to figure out whether you will be overstaying or not (as it is a risk).
Some of the questions I got asked were..
How long are you going to stay in the US?
Since you are applying for a visit visa, you need to have a proper idea of when your visa expires/length of stay expires and not over stay. So, answer accordingly.
Who is paying for your trip/travel?
Let the officer know that you have made necessary arrangements (or if the company/sponsor has made the arrangements). It is important to show that you have indeed covered your travel expenses already. (Many people get stuck in US for not having money to travel back.)
What is the purpose of your visit?
Be honest and explain why you are visiting US. It could be anything like visiting Disney world (if in B2 visa) or attending a business conference (if in B1 visa). Make sure you have proof of your claims however. (Ex: Ticket copies or invitation letter for conference.)
Where are your family members in India?
It is important to show that you have ties back to India (if you have them that is). So, if your family/relatives are in India, and you have ties with them, let the officer know.
Do you have your return tickets booked?
It is recommended that you have your return tickets booked. Show copies or booking details if asked.
Which hotel will you be staying in?
It is recommended that you have made arranged accommodation for your stay in US. Show booking details etc if available.
What is your itinerary like?
It is recommended that you have an itinerary planned. If possible, share it with the officer so he knows you have solid plans.
Which places will you be visiting?
Just like the itinerary, if you have thought about which states/monuments/places you’ll be visiting, let the officer know.
What conference are you attending?
If you are on a B2 visa, give details on the meeting/conference you are attending. Show invitations or proof if asked.
What do you do in India?
Let know your occupation in India. Probably the intend behind this is to ensure you have enough funds to sponsor this trip and that you’ll be returning.
Do you own a property in India?
If you own a property in India, then your chances of returning are higher, so it’s a question to figure out the risk quotient. Give details about properties you own if any. If asked, give proof like documents.
So, now over to you. If you have been through the visa interview process, do share your experience and questions asked here in comments. I will be adding interesting ones in the article with due credit. Thanks!