So you’ve completed your US Visa application form for the specific Visa you want to apply for; paid the visa application fee and now, you’ve scheduled a time to attend an in-person interview.
The interview is a critical point in your US Visa application and probably the most stressful too!
And rightfully so, the interview is the point where the consular officer will assess your eligibility and determine whether or not to issue you a US visa and ultimately determine if you can travel to the United States for that vacation you’ve been planning, visit family or friends, or for work.
And important questions you may be asking are, “How should I dress for the US Visa interview? What should I wear?”. That is the exact question this article is intended to answer for you.
Have a read of a very important article I wrote on this about the most common questions asked during a US Visa interview so you can be prepared in the best way possible.
Take the time to consider how to dress for a US Visa Application
From appropriate clothing, footwear, and accessories as well as grooming tips for both males and females, this post will provide you with the most important things to consider for how to dress for a US Visa application interview.
If you follow the tips and general guidelines presented in this article you will not doubt as to what exactly is appropriate to wear for your interview.
And while we cannot guarantee your visa to the USA will be approved just based on being the best dressed. You can be assured that you will be in a better position to make the best first impression on the consular official who will be interviewing you based on how you dress.
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General Guidelines for How to Dress for a US Visa Application Interview
Like any other important day in our lives, we have to dress according to the occasion, we have to take into account that the first impression counts a lot.
And this includes applying and interviewing for vacation or work visas for the US.
If you are applying for a visa to travel for work or Business then check out this article about US Business and Work Visas.
After all, you only have one chance to make a first impression.
A good approach for this would be to take it as a job interview.
You do not need to dress too formally i.e. a suit and tie is not mandatory. But your appearance should be neat, your clothes clean and pressed and importantly you should also feel comfortable with what you are wearing.
How you dress paints a strong picture of the type of character you have. And assessing your character is one of the key points of this in-person interview.
So it’s very important to make an effort to make a great impression.
The first impression is crucial and it is the first thing that the consul evaluates before even asking a single interview question.
But you may also be wondering, “Is there a specific dress code for a US Visa Interview or for visiting the US Embassy or consulate?”.
Is there a dress code for a US Visa Application Interview?
There are no specific requirements or dress codes set forth by the Government of the United States for what to wear for a Visa application interview.
However, choosing semi-formal to formal clothing that is comfortable is a good guideline to follow.
We will get more into the specific items of clothing that you could choose to wear but probably the most important thing is that you feel comfortable which allows you to feel relaxed and confident.
Each person is different in the way in which how they dress makes them feel relaxed and confident but try to find a middle ground between elegance and comfort.
You should look presentable and tidy while also reflecting your personality in the best way.
A good tip would be to picture yourself in the US consul’s shoes and think about how you would judge a person who is poorly dressed or too informal (i.e shorts and a t-shirt)
Being too informal and even sloppy presents an image that your interviewer would most likely see as someone who does not take the US Visa interview process seriously.
This is not the kind of image you want to portray.
Here are some general ‘dress code’ tips when showing up for your US Visa application interview:
- Think of the Visa application interview as a job interview for a job you want to get. How would you dress to make the best impression?
- Don’t try to be too fashionable, wear clothes that are clean and pressed. Tidiness and neatness are far more important than sporting the latest trending clothes.
- Dress for comfort also. Being uncomfortable can make you more anxious and nervous than you really need to be.
- Minimize accessories. Keep jewelry light and avoid large and distracting accessories i.e. large earrings and chains.
More specific tips on what to wear are discussed below but if you follow the general guidelines discussed above then you already have an excellent starting point.
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How to Dress for a US Visa Application Interview for Men
Here are some simple and elegant but not too casual suggestions for men:
Overall stick with neutral colors and tones like white, tan, cream, gray, or navy blue.
A blazer with a button-down shirt combined with dark jeans or khaki pants is a great option for men.
A short or long-sleeved button-down shirt tucked into dark jeans or khaki pants without a blazer is also a good option that is semi-formal but not too casual – a great choice for men.
A Polo shirt preferably of a single color (somewhat smooth without being strident) again with dark jeans or khaki pants is another good option for men.
A business suit without a tie (or with a tie if it makes you feel more comfortable) is always a safe option to give the impression you are very serious about the interview process.
For footwear, brown shoes match well with just about any outfit a man could wear and any of the suggestions from above, with or without a blazer or jacket.
Formal or semi-casual footwear is best, but avoid sneakers.
Be sure the footwear you choose is comfortable as you could be waiting a while for your interview to be called. And you want to be relaxed and confident in comfortable shoes that aren’t too tight or restricting for your feet.
Open-toe footwear is generally not recommended. But if sandals are considered ‘formal’ and appropriate wear in your country then this would be suitable as well. Just be sure they are clean.
In colder climates fine sweaters are suitable attire also, especially when paired with the suggested dark jeans or khaki pants. Avoid discordant dyes or bright colors when choosing a sweater to wear.
How to Dress for a US Visa Application Interview for Females
Overall it is best to dress modestly and avoid clothing that is too revealing or that is too casual.
The suggested colors to wear for men are the same for women, stick with neutral colors and tones like white, tan, cream, gray, or navy blue.
A blazer with a formal blouse or an appropriate top (i.e. not sleeveless, too low cut, or cut off at the midriff), as well as dark jeans or pants, are a good option for women that is not too casual but still comfortable.
A casual but elegant dress is also an acceptable option for women to wear to a US Visa application interview.
Hygiene & Grooming
For both males and females, it is important to show up to the interview well-groomed and this includes ensuring your fingernails are clean and trimmed.
For women, your hair should be neat and clean and preferably tied up and out of your face. And keep your makeup simple and subtle.
For men, a clean-shaven look is the best option. Or if you have a beard and facial hair it should be neatly cropped.
If you smoke, just try to avoid smoking before your interview so you don’t smell like cigarettes to the interviewer.
Also, avoid alcohol at all costs before your interview. You may think it will help calm your nerves but smelling of alcohol presents a negative impression to your interviewer.
On the day of the interview, ensure you have showered and are clean, and arrive a half-hour before the appointment to have time to review documents and be prepared so you are relaxed and confident.
A breath mint before your interview really can’t do any harm either.
When it comes to perfume and cologne, keep it light and not too overpowering as some interviewers may find strong perfume or cologne nauseating.
What not to wear to a US Visa Application Interview
As suggested earlier, dress modestly and avoid clothing that is too revealing.
For women, avoid miniskirts or very tight dresses and keep the length of dresses/skirts below the knee.
It is best to also not wear t-shirts or shirts with distractingly large words printed on them or material that is shiny or too bright.
Avoid too many accessories or a lot of jewelry.
Do not wear dirty or broken shoes with strident colors.
Do not wear swimwear, singlets or vests, flip flops, or beachwear to your interview. This is way too casual and shows the interviewer that you don’t take the process seriously.
The in-person interview for a US Visa application is the final step in your application process and it must be taken seriously. This is the point where the final decision will be made on whether you can go ahead and book flights to the US so it’s important to get it right!
Try to approach this interview much like a job interview and dress appropriately, remembering to be presentable and tidy.
The way you dress is the first impression you give to the Consular official who will be interviewing you – before even the first question is asked.
Overall balancing comfort and elegance without being too formal is a good concept to keep in mind when preparing an outfit.
If you follow the advice given in this article then you will be in the best position possible to appear as someone who takes the interview process seriously and is a person who is of good character.
Your character is a crucial aspect of getting your application approved and how you dress is an immediate reflection of this so take the time to think about how you want to present yourself.
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