Centurion Trucking was invited to the US Embassy in Vancouver yesterday for a tour and a chance to discuss our industry with the officials there. As a part of the discussions, we learned a lot about the US Visa process and in return, the officials at the embassy learned about the processes and procedures we have in place, in the trucking industry.
Some of the key takeaways for those applying for US Visas:
1. Be credible, honest and truthful in your interviews.
Many of your previous dealings with government agencies is tracked along with your biometrics (fingerprinting) which is shared between US Embassies / Consulates, US Border Crossings,and with some of the Canadian Systems. This history goes back over 10 years.
2. Be prepared before you go.
There are many times officials have noticed people don’t know their purpose of going to the US or why they want their US Visa. In order to get your Visa, you must undergo a short interview, in an almost kiosk-type setting, where you will be asked questions.You may be asked to provide proof or evidence to supportany questions you have answered.This happens often when students are going to study in the US and don’t know where they will be staying in the US or which school they will be attending. If you require any help with the interview process, please consult a local immigration consultant or your employer for a better understanding of what to expect at a US Embassy when going in for your US Visa interview.
3. Be able to demonstrate why you will return to your home country.
A major reason for refusals of US Visas is because the applicant hasn’t demonstrated they will return to their home country once their visit has ended. Showing strong ties to your home country is important and it is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate this during the interview. You may want to bring supporting documents that will assist you in showing you will return once your visit to the US has ended.
Following these 3 points are key in obtaining your US Visa. The US Embassy is committed in making this process as quick and as fair as possible.
The typical application consists of an application that is available online and must be submitted online prior to your appointment at the Embassy. The Embassy does not discriminate and provides equal opportunities to all that apply. They assured us that no applicant is denied a US Visa based on their application alone. There is always the opportunity to answer questions during the interview process before any decisions are made. In the case you are not strong with your English, there are many officials within the Embassy that can assist with many languages including Cantonese, Hindi, Spanish and a few others. You may also bring along your own interpreter if you are not confident you will be able to communicate in English.
Some of the major concerns we noticed from the US Embassy were:
- People who come in for repeat interviews back to back in a short amount of time
- Applicants who get US Visas and their understanding of the US laws which prohibit them from illegally working in the US.In particular for truck drivers, cabotage rules. In essence, this means no driver shall pick up and deliver a trailer within the US (thus taking away from US jobs). Drivers are only permitted to pick up in the US and go back into another country or pick up in another country and deliver to the US.
For people who apply repeatedly for a US Visa and have had previous refusals, the message from the Embassy is that you should only apply if there are some major developments that have occurred in your life since the last time you applied. Although, applicants can apply immediately after a refusal for another Visa application, it is not recommended.
The Embassy does try it’s best to give all applicants a fair chance. For example, if someone has come in for an interview with one official before and was denied, the Embassy tries to give the applicant another opportunity to try with another officer.
It should be noted that in more recent applications, social media accounts have been requested as part of the application process.