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How should I prepare for my visa interview? • TechCrunch


Here is another version of “Dear Sophie,” an advisory column that answers immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge allowing people around the world to push their boundaries and follow their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, an immigration attorney in Silicon Valley. “Whether you are a company executive, founder or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your question in my next column.”

TechCrunch+ members receive access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to buy a one or two year subscription with 50% off.


Dear Sophie,

Our startup just received a top-of-the-line accelerator in winter!

My co-founder with an H-1B just got fired from a big tech company, but he’s okay because his immigration attorney is filing for a change of status to B-1 during the extension. 60 days. I’m very worried though because I’m outside the US and I don’t have a B-1/B-2 tourist visa yet.

How can I pass the visa interview? What kind of questions will I be asked? How should I prepare?

– Perseverance in Tobago

Dear Tenacious,

Thanks so much for contacting! Before I dive into your question, let me provide some background and general recommendations for preparing for a consular interview.

Get advice from an expert

An interview with any immigration official is a high-risk job. Immigration officials have the sole discretion to decide whether to issue you a nonimmigrant visa or an immigrant visa (green card) to allow you to enter the United States. And whether you perform well or poorly in your interview will have implications for your future visa and green card applications.

According to Mandy Feuerbacher, a former consular officer at the U.S. State Department, officials take notes on whether they think interviewees are responsible, trustworthy, and qualified, and that file will be available to all consular officers even if a person applies for a different type of visa or at another U.S. embassy or consulate.


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Unfortunately, you cannot bring an immigration attorney with you to a consular interview — the State Department stopped allowing that over 25 years ago. Conversely, you are allowed to bring an attorney to your green card interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers within the United States.

Immigration officers are human too!

A composite image of immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn against a background with the TechCrunch logo.

Image credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (Opens in a new window)

This may sound obvious, but reminding yourself of it can help ease your anxiety. Like everyone else, consular officers have families, good and bad days, hopes and dreams, personalities and worldviews shaped by their unique experiences. They simply try to do their job to the best of their ability.

In addition, the H-1B special occupation visa and the L-1 intra-company transferee visa have a dual purpose and allow you to intend to remain in the United States by filing a petition. green card. The O-1 extraordinary ability visa also offers some flexibility.

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