Welcome to the first post on the Visa Clinic series where you will be learning all you need to know about visa applications for …..FREE.
Today, we are addressing why it will not pay you to go for a visa interview and answer like a robot. Fasten your seatbelts.
We, Nigerians are not oblivious to the fact that travelling can be stressful because our passport is very WEAK (there, I said what everybody has been thinking).
The continent of Africa has a long way to go in encouraging and supporting travel within Africa. From strict visa
nonsense requirements to embarrassing confrontations at point of entries and airports, Nigerians usually have the worst travel experiences.
Our green passport definitely triggers most embassies and airport authorities for reasons best known to them. However, we will not be blind to the fact that our people do the most wherever they go. Prostitution, Trafficking, etc is the order of the day in a country that you do not have the right documents to stay in. This usually results in tighter and stricter visa rules for people who have good intentions and just want to go on Holiday.
This post will address why you CAN and SHOULD ask questions during a visa interview because as a Nigerian, you need to do more than just talk at the embassy to get a visa.
We understand you have been travelling since you were in the amniotic sac of your mother’s womb but trust me, you are in for a rude awakening.
A visa interview can be compared to a job interview as you have to be prepared because like they say, if you fail to plan, you have planned to fail.
Let us assume that the Visa Issuing Officer’s mandate is to “FIND ANY AND EVERY REASON NOT TO ISSUE THIS PERSON A VISA”, your job is to convince them otherwise. It’s like a scoreboard and you get points for every right answer. Every answer is weighted according to your circumstances and the right answers may just get you a visa.
The following steps will guide you during your visa interview;
- If you cannot justify your primary reason for wanting to visit a country, you are not ready to apply so do not waste your money or time.
- During an interview, be specific in explaining your plans. i.e I am visiting my Aunt (person specific) in Bay town, Houston (place specific) from 13th Dec – 26th Dec (time specific). I intend to spend the christmas holiday with her family. This shows honesty and thoughtfulness.
- Learn basic things about the town you are visiting; you may be asked why you chose to visit Bay town in particular especially if you have indicated in your form that you have other family and friends in the country.
- Always link your reason for visiting a town with your area of work or previous/current study. I.e A person who works in Food sciences or studied Food sciences or Agriculture would have a valid reason to visit Bay town because of its popular nature center. It is easier to convince the interviewer about something you previously or currently do.
- If you are asked a question you did not hear correctly or you are not sure of what is being asked , ASK THE INTERVIEWER.“I am sorry,could you repeat the question”, “I didn’t quite get that, could you repeat the question?”, “can you speak slower please, I am having some difficulties understanding your accent”.
If you need further explanation , ASK AGAIN ! . ” Do you mean why I am visiting my sister instead of my brother?”, ” does my step dad count as family in this instance?”. Asking questions do not make you feel stupid but shows you are confident.
- If your answer contradicts what you have filled in your form for good reason or an honest mistake, ASK IF YOU CAN EXPLAIN THE SITUATION FURTHER POLITELY.“Can I please explain why I put the wrong name in the form?”
If you are refused a visa, you can ASK WHAT GROUNDS YOU ARE BEING REFUSED. Politely ask ” Please why will I not be receiving a visa today because the refusal letter is too general I would love to know more please”.
Questions can be asked, as long as you do so politely. You wouldn’t want to rub your interviewer the wrong way. Visa interviews are usually more psychological than you think. Body language, confidence and answer to questions are very important in making a decision.
I hope this helps someone out there who has good intentions but nobody to guide him/her.
Our visa clinic holds every Friday on twitter (@globejaunters) but the full gist is always here.
Till next week.