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A consular Interview, what does that mean?

Depending on the country you want to visit you need a visa, and depending on the Embassy you apply for your visa the application might involve a consular interview.

When your visa application is received by the consulate, they will study all the documents and either approve or dismiss your application. In some cases, further information is needed or questions arise from the documents you have sent. In that case, an interview is scheduled. In other embassies, it might be a mandatory requirement.

In 2019 I applied for a temporary resident visa for Mexico. With the visa application, a consular interview is mandatory. It was my first as far as I could recall. I had to visit the Philippines Embassy a few years before, and there was no mention of an interview. So I got a little nervous about it. Also because the email with the invite could be interpreted either that my visa was approved already and I could come and collect it, or it was approved pending the interview.

I had no clue what to expect. And I felt pretty nervous as I entered the Embassy

Embassies to me always are very official. And to me, they have an impressive atmosphere. I remember the Embassy of the Philippines where lots of documents were piled up everywhere and the silence in the immense old building. But the people were very friendly.
I hoped the same for the Mexican Embassy. And I was right. Much more organized and digitalized than the Philipino embassy a few years ago I was welcomed by a friendly employee in charge of the visa processing. And I did not need to be interviewed, my visa was already granted.

Mexicaanse ambassade, den haag, visum, mexico, lang verblijf, temporary resident, aanvragen, consulair interview

So it was just a matter of photos and fingerprints being taken and waiting for the document to be processed.

What if a consular interview did happen?

  • the consulate will let you know upfront what additional documents to bring, for me it was originals of which I sent them a photocopy and my passport, the letter addressed to the consul about my reason for the application I had sent together with the documents for the application itself.
  • A consular Interview is always by appointment only, and appointments are personal and not transferable.

What questions to expect during an interview?

  • why you want to travel to that specific country
  • why you applied for the type of visa you applied for ( in my case a temporary resident visa)
  • how you will support yourself financially
  • what your travel plans are once inside the country

Bureau of Immigration Philippines, rules

Sometimes, if your passport has a lot of visa stamps and stickers, they might ask why you travel so much and so long.

Actually, there is nothing to worry about when you are invited for a consular interview, mostly it is just a matter of seeing you in person, to make sure they make the right decision.

But there are certain rules on behavior:

  • be on time, never be late, most embassies acquire you to be there 15 minutes prior to the interview.
  • dress properly, a shirt with sleeves and collar is advised, clean pants and for the ladies clean pants, nice shoes or maybe a dress, showing up properly dressed is showing respect
  • be polite
  • be honest
  • do not share stories, just stick to answering the question, they are not interested in your travel stories, they are just checking if they should grant you a visa
  • don’t give an overkill of information, just the required information will do, so do not babble, make your answers to the point, short, but friendly and polite
  • do not forge  documents, it is illegal to show forged documents and once they find out you will be blacklisted and never be able to visit that specific country