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26.01.2020 Feature Article

Travel Matters – The Interview Process

Travel Matters – The Interview Process
LISTEN JAN 26, 2020

This article provides basic information to guide prospective visa applicants on how to prepare for an interview at the Embassy. Even though the style of interviewing varies from one embassy to the other, the information contained in this article is general and can help the applicant in his preparation.

The interviewing process is one part of several processes in acquiring a visa. It is the final part of the whole process. America and Germany embassies are some of the embassies that use this method to determine the eligibility of a visa applicant. Apart from one’s documentation, the interviewing process, helps the consular officer to know the applicant better, it helps him to give a good judgment on the applicant’s application.

Many prospective applicants have a misconception about the interview process and this makes most applicants rely on third parties for misinformation. Some of the misconceptions about the interview process include, a consular officer would refuse a client visa because of his religion, tribe, occupation or colour of her skin. There have been instances where applicants appear at an interview counter with all manner of things. There was an instance where a gentleman was at a counter with a bottled water that had a sticker of a popular pastor in Accra, others also have stickers of their popular pastors at the back of their passport covers, strong scented perfume, incantations and silent prayers are a regular feature at the consular sections of most embassies in Ghana.

Proper documentation and one’s ability to answer the interviewer’s questions are very key in acquiring a visa. The traveler is expected to have thorough knowledge about his documents and the purpose of his trip. Most of the questions from the consular bothers on the purpose of your trip, the questions are gleaned from the documents you submit to the consular officer and also your knowledge of the country or host in that country.

A person scheduled for an interview must make sure that he has all his documents ready a night before the scheduled interview time. Embassies have different requirement so it is important to check their website to know the exact document required, make sure you go through your documents from the application form, flight and hotel reservations, the invitation from a friend or family member and any other document requested by the embassy. If your trip is for tourism, know the name of the hotel and a few places of interest that you would like to visit, have an idea about your budget and the number of days you would be spending. If it is a family visit, make sure you ask your host to provide you with his residence address, the work he does, his family and any other personal information that may be of interest.

On the day of the interview, please dress formally or be in a causal wear but make sure you look decent, a consular officer would not be much bothered about your mode of dressing but a shabbily dressed applicant may be a turn-off.

Punctuality is key in such appointments, the applicant is advised to get to the embassy early enough for his interview. Most embassies work with appointment time and the moment you time is passed, that is the end of your story. Get there on time pick your ticket and coupon and wait for your turn. Whiles waiting for your turn make sure you have all your documents arranged according to the checklist provided by the security.

Everybody gets butterflies running in their stomachs when they are called for an interview. This also applies to a visa applicant, for the first time travelers, it is a ‘’ do or die” affair while for frequent travelers, it is a friendly conversation with the consular officer. The moment you are called, check the counter number and walk majestically towards the counter, greet the officer with a smile and wait for his instructions. Make sure that you maintain an eye counter with him, failure to do so might result in him suspecting that you are either hiding something or something is amiss with your application.

The consular officer would profile you by your appearance and may ask you a few questions about yourself, he would then peruse your documents and most of the questions would be from the documents submitted. You might also be asked a few questions about your host, the country you visiting or the purpose of your trip. Please try to keep your answers short and simple, there is no point in over-elaboration, as it may result in you giving him the opportunity to ask you more questions.

Thank him after the interview and just wait for his instructions, whiles the European embassies may ask you to pick your decision in some few days, the American embassy would inform you of its decision on that same day. If your passport is returned to you, then that means you have been denied the visa but if you are asked to pick your passport at a collection certain, then BINGO! You have been granted the visa.

The next part of this article would be on illegal migration, irregular migration, recruitment agencies and human trafficking.

Mustapha Jimah.
[email protected]
The writer is a former consular officer at the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana and currently the CEO of Musjima Ventures. His interest is in travel matters and migration issues. For enquiries call or whatsapp me on 0262677946