B1 and B2 visas allow travelers to stay in the US for up to 6 months. B1 visas are for business trips, and B2 visas are for tourist trips. Part of the application for these visas includes an interview, which should only last a few minutes at the embassy or consulate.

In this post, we will review common B1 and B2 visa interview questions to help you prepare for your case.

You’ll want to arrive with plenty of time because if you’re late for your appointment, it may be canceled and your application denied. However, be aware that you will likely not be allowed inside the embassy or consulate until 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. Be sure to bring your appointment confirmation papers with you. 

While these interviews are usually quick, they’re incredibly important. The officer conducting the interview is working to determine if you have good intentions for traveling to the US and, critically, if you intend to return to your home country. 

Officers do this by assessing your motivations for the trip, if they’re genuine, and if you have sufficient ties to return to your home country, like dependents, a job, or you own property.

In general, the questions they ask will ask you to explain the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your trip.

Common B1 and B2 Visa Interview Questions

  • Who are you visiting, and what is your relationship with them?
  • What do you plan to do during your visit to the United States?
  • Where will you be staying, and do you plan to travel away from your main location?
  • When do you plan to visit the United States, and is there a compelling reason you need to travel at that time?
  • Why do you want to visit the United States, and have you ever been denied a visa before?
  • How will you pay for an extended trip the the United States, and how will your affairs be handled while you’re traveling?

Understanding Your B1/B2 Visa Interview: Who Will You Meet in the U.S.?

Many of the questions will center around who you are visiting in the United States and your relationship with them.

If you’re visiting for tourist purposes, be prepared to answer questions about the person you’re visiting and your relationship to them, as well as details about that person that show the depth of your relationship.

  • Who are you visiting?
  • Are they married? If yes, when did they get married? Are you traveling for the wedding? Do you have a copy of the invitation?
  • Do they have children? If yes, how old are the children, and how many children do they have? Do you know if they’re expecting? Are you traveling for the birth and plan to help with the new infant?
  • Do you have any other relatives in the United States? List immediate family only, and only expand if asked.
  • What is the immigration status of the person you’re visiting? Have they (or anyone else) applied for a green card on your behalf?

You’ll also be asked about who your relatives are that live in your home country. The officer will use questions like these to assess how strong your ties are to your home country and thus how likely you are to return.

  • Do your parents or children live in your home country? 
  • Do they depend on you as caregivers or for financial support? 
  • Will your job allow you to return after this extended absence? If so, do you have a letter confirming that?

If you’re visiting for business, you’ll be asked about who you will be visiting within your company, their role, and your role. You may also be asked about who else from your company is traveling with you.

Maximizing Your U.S. Visit: What Activities Can You Do on a B1/B2 Visa?

Officers will also ask you specifics of what you’ll be doing on your trip. This could include places you plan to visit while you’re in the United States and if you’re visiting for something specific. 

For example, if it has been a lifelong dream to visit New York City or explore the Grand Canyon, tell the officer! If you’re traveling for business, let the officer know if you’re going for a specific product launch, a training bootcamp, or an industry conference. They may also ask about your travel history.

  • What is the main reason for your trip?
  • What else might you do while you’re in the US?
  • What other trips have you taken to the US in the past?
  • What other international travel have you done recently?

Answer these and all questions truthfully, but don’t feel the need to overexplain your reasoning. However, if you have any excursions or reservations booked, bringing those documents along with you will help if the officer asks for them.

Navigating Your Stay: Where Are You Going to Reside During Your U.S. Trip?

This is fairly self-explanatory, but they’re looking for details of your trip. 

  • Are you staying with family? 
  • What is their address? 
  • Are you planning to travel away from this main location? If so, where do you plan to stay while away from the main location?
  • If you’re not staying with family, can you provide details of your booking accommodations?
  • Business travelers should also provide booking details of their accommodations and if your organization booked them or if they will reimburse you.  
  • When?
  • In addition to knowing the dates of when you would like to travel, the officer may want to determine if the travel, especially at that time, is necessary. 
  • Are you traveling for a wedding, birth, or other family event? 
  • Are you traveling for a specific holiday, festival, or seasonal activity (like skiing)?

Business travelers will want to explain why their company needs them to travel at that time. It would also help to bring documents or letters from their company to support that, such as registration to industry conferences.

Unveiling the Purpose: Why Choose the U.S. for Your Next Business or Tourist Visit?

Similar to what you’ll be doing in the United States, the officer might want to dig more into your specific reasons for your visit. They’ll ask why now, as well as explore other motivations for your trip.

  • Have you ever been denied a visa? If yes, when? 
  • Have you ever traveled to the United States before? Did you extend your visa during that trip? If so, bring your paperwork explaining why you extended that trip.
  • Are you planning to return to your home country on time? 
  • Are you going to the US for any terrorist activity?

Do not be surprised or offended if the officer asks you questions like the last two. Simply answer with yes, of course ( in answer to returning on time) or no, of course not, (in response to terrorist motivations).

Essentially, the officer is making sure that your reason for visiting on a B1 or B2 visa isn’t a cover for staying in the United States past the terms of the visa, a way to skirt previous denials, or that you have any ill intent towards the people of the United States.

Timing Your Travel: When Is the Best Time to Plan Your U.S. Journey on a B1/B2 Visa?

This question deals with the logistics of your trip. Someone who says they have a long trip planned but no apparent way to pay for it may raise suspicion.

These questions may concern your financial ability:

  • How much do you earn?
  • Do you have a job or own a business? Who will run these in your absence of up to six months?
  • Are you retired?
  • Have you already booked flights and accommodations? If so, bring your documentation.
  • If you don’t have enough funds, do you have a sponsor in the United States?
  • If so, who is that person? How much money do they make? Will they continue working while you are visiting?
  • Do you have a credit card?
  • Have you registered for visitor medical insurance for your trip?

Officers want to make sure that you’re not planning on getting to the United States with no way to survive financially. This might raise red flags and also jeopardize your safety.

Conclusion To The US B1/B2 Visa Interview Questions

At the embassy or consulate, you’ll spend a few minutes chatting with someone about your upcoming trip to the United States. Their job is to determine if you’re visiting the United States in good faith and if you plan to return in a timely manner. Your role in the interview is to tell the truth of your travel plans.

It’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the information that you used when you filled out your application for this visa and ensure your interview answers match. You should bring documentation like booking information, contact details, photographs, or company information with you to the appointment.

Try not to be nervous. Everyone who applies for these visas that is the age of 14 to 79 has to complete this interview. You’re not being singled out or noted as suspicious. It’s simply part of the process, and by preparing ahead of time, your interview should go smoothly.