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Visa interview
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A personal interview is a crucial step for the US Department of State in determining visa eligibility. After being accepted to BridgeUSA (J-1 Exchange Visitor Program) by FUSIA, participants should apply for a J-1 intern nonimmigrant visa from a US embassy or consulate abroad. To apply, complete Form DS-160, schedule an visa interview appointment , pay the MRV fee and SEVIS fee, and then appear in person for a visa interview.
Key takeaway
Begin your visa application process once you are issued Form DS-2019 and SEVIS ID.

Step 1 Gather the required documents and qualified photo
Step 2 Start planning for your trip
Step 3 Keep track of the appointment wait times
Step 4 Be sent Form DS-2019 (original) and SEVIS ID via UPS
Step 5 Check Form DS-2019 for errors and sign in blue ink
Step 6 Complete and submit Form DS-160
Step 7 Generate a Confirmation Page and save the PDF to your desktop

Schedule your appointment and pay the MRV fee. Wait for about 24-48 business hours to activate your 19-digit Virtual Account Number (VAN).

Step 1 Register and log in to complete the USTRAVELDOCS profile
Step 2 Pay the MRV fee, take down the 19-digit VAN number, and wait for 24-48 hours
Step 3 Log in to enter your VAN as proof of payment then schedule your appointment
Step 4 Download SEVIS confirmation from FUSIA dashboard (if paying via FUSIA) or pay the SEVIS fee and upload a copy of the confirmation for our record

After the payment, schedule your interview appointment.

Step 1 Prepare for the interview and gather documents at least 3 days in advance
Step 2 Book flight tickets before the interview
Step 3 Attend the visa interview in person
Step 4 Consular officer will approve or deny your application
Step 5 If your visa is approved, the officer will retain your passport and Form DS-2019
Step 6 You may be asked to pay the reciprocity fee and retake the photo
Step 7 A few days later you will be returned both - Check out delivery status
Step 8 Upon receipt of your passport, immediately check for errors
Step 9 Find out whether the two-year rule applies to you

Plan ahead and prepare for your documents at least a few days before the interview as some errors take time to fix. Check your corresponding embassy or consulate for individual instructions.

Mandatory documents
  • Form DS-2019 (original) signed in blue ink and in US date format
  • DS-7002 signed by all parties
  • DS-160 receipt bring the right one if you have filled more than one time
  • SEVIS receipt download from FUSIA dashboard if paid via FUSIA
  • Current passport valid through program end
  • Old and other passport(s) (dual citizenship)
  • Photo bring cash in case retaking is required
  • Appointment letter

    Bring documents to support the information you are providing to the consular officer. Original or certified copy civil documents plus certified translations, if applicable.

    Crucial
  • Bank statements (3 latest months) or passbooks to prove financial self-sufficiency
  • Postsecondary transcript (current)
  • English proficiency transcript
  • Permanent Resident Card(s) (required by some embassies and consulates)
  • Local ID, student visa, or equivalent - Foreign students to prove local residency (required by some embassies and consulates)
  • Evidence that compels the participant to return home after the program. Final year students and graduates especially. OEP students use the school letter and OEP acceptance letter. Others use employment offer letter or graduate program acceptance letter (after the program outside the States).

    Bring them just in case
  • Relationship proof, if applicable, that matches “intern application” part J
  • Postsecondary transcript (previous) - If applicable
  • Student ID
  • School letter - OEP students please also bring your OEP acceptance letter (original)
  • Support letter by designated sponsor - Download from FUSIA dashboard
  • Certificate of insurance | support letter or annotated proof

    Important
  • False documents, fraud or misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility
  • If confidentiality is of concern, bring the documents in a sealed envelope

    On the scheduled date and time, go to the US embassy or consulate with a small plastic folder and documents. Bring some cash with you (in case of reciprocity fee and/or photo retaking).

    What to expect?
    Step 1 Temporarily surrender your smart phone at the security checkpoint
    Step 2 Enter the building and be fingerprinted
    Step 3 Submit Form DS-2019 (original) | DS-7002 | DS-160 receipt | SEVIS receipt | passport | photo | appointment letter to the first window
    Step 4 Be seated and read Know Your Rights booklet
    Step 5 Attend the interview (present additional documents upon request)
    Step 6 Be notified the results. If approved, confirm the passport delivery arrangements (please pick it up in person, if possible), If denied, click HERE for more information.
  • Samples/Examples
    Complete the USTRAVELDOCS profile, then pay and schedule the appointment. Log on to your FUSIA dashboard to view sample (populated) answers. For reference only. Please adjust based on your own situation.

    PASSPORT DETAILS
    - Passport Number:
    - Passport Issuance Date: _ [Adjust date format]
    - Passport Issuance Place: _ [Answer accordingly]
    - Passport Expiration Date:
    - First Name:
    - Last Name:
    - Date of Birth: [Adjust date format]
    - Country of Birth:
    - Nationality:
    - Gender:
    - DS 160 Confirmation #: _ [Answer accordingly]

    CONTACT INFORMATION (two phone numbers where you can be contacted)
    - Phone Number :
    - Mobile Phone :
    - Email:

    STUDENT AND EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM DETAILS
    - SEVIS Number:
    - Exchange Number:

    The following “mock interview” questions are for rough reference only. Don’t memorize the questions blindly. Put yourself into the interviewer’s shoes. If you were the interviewer, what questions would you ask to detect fraudulent answers. Log on to your FUSIA dashboard to view sample (populated) answers.

    Introduction
    - What school do you go to? I am attending ...
    - What do you study? I study ...
    - Why are you applying for the visa? To “intern” in the States [don't say “work”]
    - How do you know FUSIA? Through my school...
    - What is your relationship with FUSIA? FUSIA is my program sponsor
    - What visa are you applying for? J-1 Intern visa

    Internship
    - What will you be doing? I will be interning at ... [Study your DS-7002 in advance]
    - How do you know your host? Through my school [sample]
    - What does it do? It is a company...
    - Where is it located? It is located in ...
    - Do you receive a stipend? Yes. per ...

    Host/supervisor
    - Why did you choose this organization? [Explain in 1-2 sentences]
    - How is your internship related to your study and career goals? [Shorten it]
    - What is the name of your supervisor?
    - What is his/her title?
    - What do you do there? I will be... [Abstracts from your Form DS-7002 in 1-2 sentences]

    Other questions
    - Tell me about your previous visits in the the US. _ [Answer accordingly]
    - Where will you live in the US? _ [Answer based on your Form DS-160]
    - What do you plan to do after (or aside from) your internship? _ [Answer accordingly]
    - Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? Yes/no [Answer accordingly]
    - What is the three-digit emergency code in the US? 911
    - What the human right booklet is about? _ [Answer accordingly]
    - Can you summarize the booklet in 1-3 lines? _ [Answer accordingly]
    - Can your host treat you differently because you are not Americans? No

    Financial and supporting documents
    - Who pay for your internship? _ [Answer accordingly]
    - What do your parents do? _ [Answer accordingly]
    - Show me their financial statements. _ [Present]
    - Do you have their tax statements? _ [Present]
    - Can I see your transcripts? _ [Present]
    What to note
    The goal of the visa interview is to elicit information to help determine individual applicants’ eligibility for a visa. To ace the interview, be prepared, ensure no errors, bring all the documents, and do your homework.

    Do your homework. Common questions are regarding the program and internship/living/travel plans, e.g., whether you receive a stipend or not and where are you staying. Study and be prepared to answer questions taken from your Form DS-160, Form DS-7002, and Know Your Rights booklet. You could fail your interview for a simple mistake which can also result in future applications being disqualified.

    Interview 101. First impressions can mean a lot. Dress properly and be on time. Bring only a purse or small plastic folder with the required documents and some cash with you (in case you have to retake the photo). Officers commonly put emotions aside and grant visas to deserving applicants who can answer the questions with confidence. Answer the questions clearly, directly, and confidently. No lengthy or wishy-washy answers. Be natural; stay calm and confident. Do not argue with the officer.

    Be well prepared. There is no algorithmic approach for a consular officer to pass an interview. Some officers ask detailed questions; some ask simple questions. Don't be less prepared because another student tells you that the interview is easy. Practice beforehand but don’t attempt to recite. And keep your answers brief as each interview generally lasts three to five minutes.

    Keep it simple and be organized. Each officer only has a minute or two to greet you, ask you a few questions, flip through your passport, and write down a few words to describe why your visa is issued or refused. That’s a lot to do in a limited time. If a denial decision is made, it will be too late to explain. Hence, bring all the original documents but organize them properly (use color tags, a cover checklist, dividers, etc.) so that you can promptly pull it out when asked.

    Use the right terms. Familiarize yourself with the terminology and language used, e.g., you are an “exchange visitor” or “J-1 intern” for a “work-based learning or internship program.” The J-1 intern visa is a “nonimmigrant” visa. J-1 internships are not for ordinary employment purposes. The company you intern for is your “host.” Avoid words such as “work” or “employment.”
    Common questions
    May I get an earlier appointment date?
    Yes, but the criteria vary by location. In Singapore, if the program will begin within 14 days when no regular visa appointments are available, expedite requests can be made on a case-by-case basis. Book the date first then submit your request using the Request Form or contact the Call Center. If your request is declined, log back in to see if you can find an earlier appointment (in case some cancel their appointment). Click HERE for details.

    Should I apply for the Interview Waiver Program?
    You may be given an option to submit your passport and other documents without an in-person interview. Generally, an in-person interview allows a better control of the time.

    Should I call or email the embassy or consulate for questions?
    If you can wait for 1-2 days, email them via the Request Form on their webpage and obtain a case number. If you want to speak to a live person, contact the Call Center. Expect a long wait time for the call to be answered.

    What is the estimated wait time after paying the MRV fee?
    The estimated wait time to receive an interview appointment at a US embassy or consulate varies by location. Check visa appointment wait times.

    May I use my previous USTRAVELDOCS profile?
    Yes, if you have previously been to the US, please use your existing profile to schedule an appointment. If this is the first time you are applying, create a new USTRAVELDOC profile.

    Do Canadian citizens need to pay the MRV fee?
    No, since Canada nationals do not require a US visa, they can skip the visa interview and MRV fee. They are still required to pay the SEVIS fee.

    Can I use the profile that I have registered previously?
    Yes. If you have previously registered, simply enter your username and password to log in.

    When should I schedule my interview appointment?
    You may complete the steps upon issuance of your SEVIS ID. However, wait until your Form DS-2019 package have arrived before confirming your appointment date and time.

    How early should I get there?
    If you plan to bring any large items such as your laptop to the interview, arrive 30 minutes ahead of schedule as you will be asked to walk over to a nearby premise or area to store your items in a locker for a small fee. Otherwise, arrive early, but not too much, as you may not be allowed entry before your scheduled appointment.

    What if my parents can't provide qualified proof of income?
    If original tax forms are unavailable, bring original or certified copies of paystubs or the equivalent. If qualified proof of income, i.e., paystubs or tax forms, is unavailable, bring documents that serve similar purposes, e.g., an employment letter, investment account statements, proof of asset ownership/rental income, etc. Whether or not substitutes are acceptable is at the discretion of the consular officer who interviews you.

    Are PRC students studying in Macau interviewed in Hong Kong?
    Yes. They apply for their visas at the US consulate in Hong Kong. Be sure you have the proper visas to travel to Hong Kong at least one or two times.

    How much documentation do I need?
    A consular officer may request any information and supporting documentation s/he deems relevant to establish the applicant’s qualification for the visa. There is no definitive number of documents to prepare. As a general rule, the more the better.
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