I have always been asked the extent to which a lawyer may assist in a B visa application. I have always answered that the nature of the B visa adjudication does not really need a lawyer’s representations. In short, there is very little a lawyer may do to impact on your chances for a B visa.
At best, a lawyer or other representative may only assist you in booking your visa appointment, complete Form DS-160 on your behalf, and assist you in putting together relevant document and information that may be helpful in your application.
We have therefore attempted to state some guidelines and information that you may find useful in attending a B visa interview. Though the application of this information may not necessarily impact on your eligibility, they may be invaluable in many other respects.
- The officer did not look at my documents.
Many applicants for B visas often complain that the officer refused their applications without looking at their documents. Clearly, this is supposed to be the case because the B visa adjudication is not a documentary process. Whiles the consular officer may request to see your document at the interview, they are not obliged to do so. In the majority of cases they may come to a decision to refuse or grant you a visa without examining your documents. Simply put, you may not rely on your documents to prove your eligibility for a B visa in the manner a UK visa officer may examine your documents to come to a decision on your application for a UK visit visa. The consular need not see your document to determine your eligibility for a B visa; however you must always hold them at the interview.
- What does the consular officer look for?
The consular officer may consider a number of factors, including documents held by you and statements made at the interview. The Form DS-160 completed by you contains detailed information upon which the officer may base his assessment on your eligibility for the visa. The questions you will be asked at the interview may mainly be based on the information you provided in your application. In addition, the consular officers may consider your demeanour, body language, confidence and even your appearance, together with other seemingly inconsequential factors to assess your eligibility for the visa.
- Do not lie
It is always tempting to lie in your application to convince the consular officer of your eligibility for the visa. In Ghana, many applicants put out false information relating to their work, employment, and income. However consular officers are well-trained to be able to see through such lies. Again, whiles others may get away with it, you may not be so lucky. If you are found to have used false information or document in your application, you may not be able to enter the U.S. again.
It is always better to explain why you are unable to provide a document than to obtain a forged one. In some cases, the officer may refuse to disclose to you the false information they have discovered in your application. They may simply refuse you under section 214 (b) and make adverse notes on your case file which will be accessible to other officers who may adjudicate your future applications. Such adverse comment may have the implications of preventing you from entering the U.S. again.
- Carefully complete your Form DS-160
The Form DS-160 contains sufficient details upon which the the consular officer may base their assessment on your eligibility for the visa. The Form DS-160 requires you to provide your personal and family details, employment, education, and travel history. It also includes details on your income, position, duties, and travel plans. As a rule, always ensure that you have completely and accurately completed the Form DS-160 with all relevant and true information.
- Prepare well for your interview
Though a B visa interview typically lasts for no more than two minutes, you must spare some time to prepare for it. You must review all information you provided on the Form DS-160 and other supporting documents. This will enable you provide clear and confident responses to questions at the interview. You may also research on your proposed activity in the U.S. If you wish to visit a friend or relative you may research on the proposed city or town where you will be staying including any known tourist attractions. If you are visiting the U.S. for a conference or business you must be able to have sufficient information relating to the planned activity. Finally, ensure that you have arranged your documents in a simple and orderly manner to enable you easily reach out for them should you be required to submit any.
- Do not turn up late
You may not want to enter the consulate breathing and sweating profusely because you turned up late for your interview. This may be really unnerving and may even affect you at the interview. It is therefore advisable to arrive at the consulate not less than 30 minutes before you appointed time. This may give you adequate opportunity to relax and take in your environment whiles you wait to be admitted into the consulate.
…to be continued
By Emmanuel Opoku Acheampong
Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on U.S. immigration law. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this information.
The writer is an immigration law advisor and a practicing law attorney in Ghana. He advises on U.S., UK, and Schengen immigration law. He works part-time as a consultant for Acheampong & Associates Ltd, an immigration law firm in Accra. He may be contacted on [email protected] .