US Visa Interview Process – Know What to Expect

Preparing for your US visa interview? Here's everything you should know.
HomeUS Visa & ImmigrationUS Visa Interview Process – Know What to Expect

When applying for a US visa, you will be required to attend an in-person interview. This interview will determine whether or not your visa request is approved.

Here’s What to Expect When Attending Your US Visa Interview

First, arrive at the US Embassy or Consulate where your appointment for a visa interview was scheduled at the date and time – make sure to arrive on time. Ensure that you arrive with your complete application, fee payment receipt, and any other documentation required for the visa you are applying for.

If you need special assistance when attending your interview, you may contact the Consulate at least 48 hours prior to your interview to make proper arrangements.

What Happens Inside the Consulate?

This video is a general illustration of what happens inside the US Embassy or Consulate when you arrive for your appointment so you get an idea of the process. Keep in mind that your exact experience may vary, but you may use this as a guide to better understand what to expect.

If you prefer to read, you can follow the step-by-step explanation given below.

Arrive at the Consulate

US Visa Interview Process - Know What to Expect

When you arrive at the Consulate, you may need to stand in a queue outside the Consulate. Only visa applicants may enter the Consulate. Before entering the Consulate, you may need to show your original passport, appointment letter, and US visa fee receipt to the security staff.

In order to be prepared for the visa interview, have everything ready beforehand.


Electronic equipment, cell phones, bags, sprays, perfumes, liquids, backpacks, bottles, food, sealed envelopes, sealed packages, and dangerous items are not allowed inside the consulate. There is no facility at the consulate to store prohibited items. If you bring prohibited items with you, you will have to dispose of them before entry. Water and bathrooms are available inside the consulate.

Security Check

US Visa Interview Process - Know What to Expect

As soon as you enter the consulate, you will go through a security check, which may include a full body metal detector scan.

Read more about Security Regulations at the US Consulate.

Fingerprint Verification

US Visa Interview Process - Know What to Expect

After the security check, you will be given a token for your visa interview. You will then proceed towards fingerprint verification process. An officer will take your fingerprints to verify the fingerprints taken at the OFC center. Fingerprinting requirements can change over time and across consulates. Follow instructions given to you by the staff at the desk.

Waiting Area

US Visa Interview Process - Know What to Expect

Soon after fingerprinting, you will be directed to be seated in the waiting lounge area. You must sit quietly and wait for your turn to be called for the interview. Keep your documents ready. When your name is announced, you will be asked to proceed to a particular window number. Walk towards the window, greet the interviewer with a smile, and follow the instructions given to you by the interviewer.

The Interview

US Visa Interview Process - Know What to Expect

The interviewer will be behind a glass window, and you will be able to speak through a microphone on the glass window. You will be able to hear the interviewer through a speaker, which is also on the glass window. A slot below the window will let you exchange documents with the interviewer.

The interviewer may ask questions and verify your documents. Answer truthfully and confidently. Answer only the questions you are asked. Do not provide more information than you are asked, and do not present any documents that you are not asked to. The primary goal of the interview is to verify all information presented in the application and to make sure that you qualify for the desired visa.

If the interviewer approves your application, you will know immediately. The officer will say something like “your visa is approved”. Your passport will usually be delivered to your India mailing address by courier within 3-4 business days. Under some circumstances, you may be allowed to pick up your passport in person.

If Your Visa is Denied

US Visa Interview Process - Know What to Expect

If your visa is denied or put on hold, you will be informed accordingly. You will be able to pick up your passport soon after the interview.

Unable to Attend US Visitor Visa Interview?

Applicants who fail to appear for their US visitor visa interview appointment are considered “No-Show” applicants.

If you are a No-Show applicant, your visitor visa fee receipt gets deactivated. You are required to wait for two working days, after the scheduled interview date, in order to reactivate your US visa fee receipt, prior to scheduling a new interview appointment.


Your US visa application fee receipt is valid for a period of 1 year (365 days) from the date of payment and entitles you to appear once at the US Embassy/Consulate for a visa interview. The same visa application fee can be used, as long as you reschedule your interview within 365 days.

If something substantial in your situation has changed (e.g. travel plans, employment), a new DS-160 is required. Use the saved version to update your information and submit the new form. This will create a new CEAC barcode. If nothing in your situation has changed, use your original CEAC barcode while taking your appointment. Make your new appointment on USTravelDocs website with a valid US visa application fee receipt, following the same procedure used in making the previous appointment.

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