Whether you're going through the E3 visa interview process for the first time or the tenth time, you probably still get those nerves flaring up as the time approaches. You've gone through your documents a thousand times, you're pacing around waiting for your scheduled time, or you're asking yourself “is 2 hours long enough in advance to get to my appointment?” – well here's a checklist to go over as your time approaches.
We're going to start with the easy stuff, but if you want to read our full guide to the E-3 visa, check that out here:
1. Take a deep breath – The E3 visa interview isn't a test
I know it feels like one right now, and you're thinking “What if they ask XYZ!?” or “Have I got enough proof of my ties to Australia?” – but take a moment and stop.
If you've read over everything below, and you've gone over my step-by-step guide to getting an E3 visa, then you're set and ready to do this!
2. You are legitimately applying for this visa, you don't have to answer “correctly” just honestly
Remind yourself: You are allowed to apply for this visa. You're not scamming anyone.
A lot of the time, I speak to people who are starting to get agitated and worried about the whole process wondering if they won't be able to answer the questions presented to them.
But if you've been made a job offer, and the job is in your wheelhouse, and all your documentation (below) is ready, you just need to answer what you know to be true.
If you don't know the answer to a question, that's fine! Say that! The job of the officer is to simply confirm that everything you've put forward is legitimate, which it is.
3. Make sure you've got all your E3 visa documents
The most important part of a visa interview is just having all the documents ready and on-hand. So make sure you've got at least all of the following:
- Printed and signed copy of Certified LCA (the signed copy is the most important – they will ask for this for sure);
- Printed DS-160 confirmation page;
- Passport (scans and the real thing);
- US passport-sized (2in x 2in) photos (for your visa);
- Job Offer Letter (with your name, and the employer's name on letterhead);
- Copy of your degree (a certified copy is always best for all of these – or the originals);
- Degree equivalency if you've got that;
- Copy of your degree transcripts;
- Your up-to-date resumé (this all goes to building out your experience and why you are an appropriate fit for the job);
- Documentation about your employer, verifying their legitimacy (print-outs of websites are sometimes helpful, if you have any other documentation, marketing, annual reports, etc. this can all help if there is some doubt about the business – which is basically any business other than giant multi-nationals);
- Ideally you have another letter that includes information about you, the job offer, and why you're the best person for the job;
- Bank account print out and driver’s license from Australia (these are normally enough to show ties to Australia, but you can throw anything else that shows your link to Aus);
- Prior US visa paperwork (if you've had any visas before, be sure to pack your old passports and/or printouts of all that documentation);
- You may also need a self-addressed express post bag (this will be included in the list sent to you by the Consulate if you need it);
- Anything else that is in the confirmation email for your appointment;
- Anything and everything else that you think might be relevant if they ask about you, the job, or your appropriateness for the job.
4. Tidy and sort your visa application documents
If you've got the large stack of documents from above, that's great, but it can be overwhelming when you're walking in, knees weak, with your palms all sweaty.
So here's my tip:
- Spread out each stack of documents (each numbered item from above) into separate piles
- Get some small sticky notes and write simple descriptions: “Certified LCA”, “DS-160 Confirmation Page”, “Letter from employer”
- Order them in a way that makes sense to you (my list above is the order that I used)
- Number each sticky note from 1 through however many piles there are
- Leaving one sleeve free at the beginning put each stack into a folder sleeve where you can read the sticky note
- Type up a new table of contents with each item listed
- Print it out and place it in the front of your folder
Now this might seem over the top, but when you're starting to second guess the universe after snaking through to your interview, you'll thank me.
The best thing too is that if you ever want to renew your E3 visa, then you've got this folder ready for next time and the prep will be much quicker.
5. It's not really an “interview”
This is weird to write on an article entitled “interview” but it's true. Here's what I wrote about it recently:
Here’s the one thing you need to know though about the interview: it’s not an “interview” as such it’s more of a confirmation of what you’ve already supplied. They might ask you to tell them about the job, the employer, your degree, your work history, how you got the job. It’s honestly to make sure that it’s all in place and you are who you wrote you are, that’s about it.
It’s also worth saying (because I feel like I went in with a very different expectation): It’s basically checking in at the airport. After working your way through the building following instructions (phone goes here, I need to see your passport, why are you here?), you line up like you’re waiting to speak to an agent.
After snaking around you then get called over to one of the desks (except the desks are surrounded by glass and a bit divided from each other in some places). You walk up with your files and papers and passport and hand them all over. The person compares you and the picture in your passport and does the equivalent of “So where are you headed?” even though you both know full well they could just search your name and find out. “Did you pack your own bags?” becomes “How did you find this job?” and they nod while you provide a 10-second answer when really all they needed was “Recruiter”.
They then go kinda silent flipping back and forth just long enough for you to think, for a split second, that you’ve stuffed something up, but then they nod again and slip you a piece of paper that has the details on it of what happens next. If you’re anything like me you ask “Is that it?” and they say “Yes, read the paper and you’ll receive your passport back in X days”.E3 Visa: A Step-by-Step Guide to getting a U.S. Visa
6. Be kind, be respectful, and be quiet
The people you will interact with are doing their job and they're asking the questions they are legally required to ask. Sometimes you will get officers on a good day, and sometimes you might get them on a bad day, but they're seeking out facts, so even if they're in a bad mood, the outcome will still be the same.
Keep your cool, be kind, and you'll find that a smile gets you a long way through this process much quicker than someone who is frustrated or angry.
… Like the rest of life.
7. Technology isn't allowed
At no point should you pull your phone out while you're in the Embassy or Consulate.
Even if you've been waiting 30 minutes and Instagram might be getting away from you, you still have to just sit there. Don't fall over before you've even started.
Save your success selfies for outside.
8. When you're in there – Answer what you're asked, and don't lie
The only people I've spoken to who have ever had a problem applying for a visa are those who have lied (or have been convicted of crimes that make applications more difficult).
Everyone else, despite additional processing and worry, have all ended up ok in the long run.
You will be asked specific questions, so give answers to exactly the questions they ask, and never ever lie. A lie will get you banned from applying, whereas a rejection will allow you to apply again later.
You got this!