1. Be Nice
The good applicants will appreciate civility and good manners; the
'bad' applicants will be disarmed by them. In any case, never forget
that you are the only American these people might see today.
Impress them with your calm, courtesy and professionalism,
even in a refusal. Especially in a refusal.
2. Ask, Don't Tell
"Where will you stay?" not "So you'll stay in a hotel in New York City?"
"What is the purpose of your trip?" not "So it's a business trip."
Why? To assure that the applicant actually knows what the application says.
3. If it Doesn't Matter, Don't Ask
Don't waste time on questions whose answers are irrelevant.
4. Always Ask the Next Question
If the story seems shaky or overly generalized, ask for pertinent details: "With
whom will you conduct these business meetings?" "What will you see on the
tour?" "What is your schedule of appointments?" "When did your niece meet
her fiance?" People don't lie all that well; they run out of answers and end up
at the end of the twig with nowhere further to go.
EEK! I'm out of answers!5. Don't Ask a Question if You're Not Sure You Want to Hear the Answer.
Most pertinent to ACS cases, often taking the form of "Why on earth...?" or
"Honey, what were you thinking?"
6. Look It Up
The internet is everywhere in the consular section. Applicant is going to a
symposium or conference? A few seconds will assure you whether or not
such a meetup will actually take place. If so, there will usually be a schedule
of events or presentations that you can ask about if necessary.
7. If There's One Fib, It's All Untrue
If the conference is not happening, the hotel doesn't exist, the dead guy didn't
die and so is not having a funeral, the interview is over. You don't need the
preponderance of evidence, just a single pertinent untruth and you're done.
8. If the Story Seems Unlikely But Hangs Together, It's True
Again, people don't lie all that well. You will quickly get to know the specific lies
that your applicants are likely to tell - and yes, they vary from post to post. If
the applicant never runs out of answers to increasingly detailed questions,
he's telling the truth.
9. Don't Agonize
This revolutionary, nearly insidious, idea has long been perpetuated by the most
realistic and professional consular managers: one shouldn't let the perfect be the
enemy of the good. Grab a solution that seems reasonable and get on with life.
sometimes, the source of some teasing. As a friend and colleague puts it, "Most
officers I knew considered ... denying a case with weak visible ties but genuine
intent to be preferable to (issuing an intending immigrant). The rationale was that
the genuine would-be tourist with few visible ties suffered no major harm and
could vacation somewhere else, but the sneak who got in somehow 'damaged'
He probably doesn't, probably won't, and the world will not explode if you decide
Just make up your mind and get on with it.
10. He Paid for the Visa, Not for the Interview
Madam has watched officers drag out interviews with totally qualified
applicants. When asked why, the officer would reply, "I feel like I owe
them my time."
No, you don't. All you owe them is a clear, prompt decision. A perfectly
adequate NIV interview might consist solely of "Good morning. Your visa
will be ready for pickup tomorrow. Have a good day." And a smile.