Traveling from one country to another is absolutely no joke! Especially when you need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document that allows you enter into the country of your choice. Unfortunately, getting a visa is not always easy. You have to get an interview date, make payments and prepare. Getting a visa is serious business.
I have been fortunate to travel to many countries including America and United kingdom since I was 10. I am 25 now and I have never been denied a visa. I know what helped me is God’s favor. I also listened to and applied the advice my parents gave me, so of course I want to share:
1. WHY DO YOU WANT TO TRAVEL?
Whether it’s for school, vacation or business, you have to be able to believe yourself. Do you believe your own story? While it may sound like a very silly thing to even suggest, you have to understand that the interviewers are trained to read body language and facial expressions. When you truly believe and are confident in what you say, it shows in your body language. The first step is to believe your own story.
2. HOW WILL YOUR COMMUNITY BENEFIT FROM YOUR TRAVEL?
Especially if you are traveling to study. The interviewer at some point is going to ask you “How are you planning to use your education to better your community?” What they really want to know is : Are you coming back to your home country? This is a trap. A lot of people are only concerned about the “American dream.” Interviewers deny people who don’t have a plan to use their “American education” to improve their community. Why? well to them it sends a red flag that you don’t plan on coming back to your country. (fyi: they don’t like that)
Advise: think about how your degree can help improve and develop your community.
3. DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED
Earlier I mentioned that these interviewers are trained. They are trained to keep a straight face. They are trained to keep their facial expressions to a minimum. Do not let their unfriendly demeanor scare you or make you feel intimidated. You are there for something, put your game face on and be determined to get it!
4. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, MORE PRACTICE!
You can never get enough practice. Write down possible questions that you may be asked in a visa interview and answer them ( if you need possible questions, email me). Get someone to play the role of interviewer while you answer the questions. Learn how to use your words to show you are genuine. Practice months before your interview date. Watch your facial expressions, tone of voice and body language in the mirror. Make your answers clear and easy to understand. Do not use big or vague words.
5. KNOW YOUR ONIONS
My late grandfather , PA (Dr) Raphel Shonekan, always sang this in my ear. An onion has many layers. know the layers. Translation: make sure you know your stuff well.
I remember going for my interview at 17. The interview was to obtain a student visa. I had my form I-20 that stated that I was going to study biomedical engineering. My intention was to use my biomedical degree to apply for medical school.
One of the questions the interviewer asked me: ” so basically biomedical engineers work for doctors?” my response: ” Not really, they work with doctors but can also own their own practice. Their experience in biology and knowledge of engineering, can help solve problems and improve the medical field.”
6. HAVE ALL YOUR DOCUMENTS
This is extremely important. Label them, make a check list, go through your check list. It is VERY important that you take originals of everything you know you will need. Bank statements, birth certificates, form I-20, letters of acceptance etc. The night before and probably the morning of your interview go over your check list again, make sure everything is in there. Do not forget your passport! I have done that before, smh. ( if you have more than 1 passport, take all of them with you).
Best of luck! feel free to ask any questions 🙂
See you in America soon!