Top US Visa Interview Questions for Seafarers – With Answer Tips

by | Last updated Nov 24, 2023 | Important Documents, Travel & Immigration, Visa Applications | 3 comments

A US visa interview is your ticket to the United States. If you’re an old-time seaman who frequents there, the application can be very simple.

However, if it’s your first time to take the C1-D visa, expect a stringent session. Thinking about the interview process alone is stressful. 

Consul officers inside the US Embassy can be very keen on your application too.

The fact that you are here reading this article is proof that you want to be prepared to face them.

Top US Visa Interview Questions

I did research based on my own experience, my friends, and others about their C1-D Visa interviews. To make it much easier, I categorized the questions into seven.

You can find them as Cadets and First Timers, Safety and Work Related, Personal Questions, History, DS-160 Form Related, “Trap” Questions, and Unrelated Questions.

First Timers and School-Related

I understand the anxiety of first-timers and fresh graduates from school as I too was one. As per experience, consuls can be very strict with first graduates, though not all.

They often ask questions related to your studies so be ready to face some of them below.

  1. What is navigation?
  2. What is solid mensuration?
  3. When did you graduate?
  4. What is terrestrial navigation?
  5. How many crew members do you need to run the ship?
  6. What is celestial navigation?
  7. Is this your first time on board a ship?
  8. What is your course of study?
  9. Define a forecastle.
  10. Which part of the ship do you live in?

The key to answering them is fluency even if your English is awkwardly bent. Acting with confidence and proper eye contact also helps a lot.

The US Embassy in Manila.
US Embassy in Manila.

Safety and Work Related

Even if you’re a cadet or first-timer, any of these questions can be thrown at you. You must be ready to give an answer.

The consuls don’t really have specific knowledge about our job other than the information they gathered from so many interviews.

  1. What is your current rank? Or What is your position on the ship?
  2. Can you tell us the type or nature of your work?
  3. What is the duration of your contract?
  4. What is your job on board? What are the tasks?
  5. Describe your duties and responsibilities.
  6. What are your duties?
  7. What kind of ship will you embark on?
  8. Explain the bunkering procedure.
  9. What is the name of your vessel?
  10. What type of ship will you be working on?
  11. Green color represents which side of the ship?
  12. What will you do in case you detect a fire on board?
  13. MOB and general alarm.
  14. First aid procedures.
  15. What is a sounding tape?
  16. Gross tonnage.
  17. IMO number.
  18. Job description.
  19. Safety aspects.
  20. MARPOL questions.
  21. Tell me the type of fire fighting equipment on board.

Personal Questions

Personal questions are well, personal. You really don’t have to study much on this part. 

The only way to get through this without any difficulty is to tell the truth.

  1. How are you?
  2. Where do you live?
  3. How old are you?
  4. Tell me about yourself.
  5. Why do you want to be a seaman?
  6. Are you married?
  7. How many children do you have?
  8. When is your birthday?
  9. Where were you born?
  10. Where are you studying?

You will notice that the consul is reading something on his computer while doing the interview. 

He’s verifying your answers- age, birthday, marital status, etc. Whether it matches the documents you submitted.

Thus, it’s very important to be honest.

A consul handing over the applicant's passport for his US visa application.
Image: Freepik.com

History

Some questions here are similar only that they are reworded. For example: being rejected for a US visa is the same as being refused or denied. 

Tell the truth and you won’t have any regrets here.

  1. Have you ever been rejected US Visa?
  2. When was that?
  3. When was the last time you applied for a US Visa?
  4. Is this the first time or have you already been to other countries? If yes, tell us the names of those countries.
  5. What ports and countries have you visited in the past?
  6. What’s your job here in the Philippines?
  7. Have you traveled outside the Philippines?
  8. When was your last sign-off?
  9. How many years are you in this profession?
  10. How long have you been a seafarer?
  11. What is your land-based experience?
  12. Do you have prior visa refusal?
  13. Have you visited other countries in the past?
  14. When did your visa expire?
  15. Your US Visa expired 5 years ago, why didn’t you take a new one after that?
  16. How many years have you been sailing?

I experienced being asked whether I had a US Visa refusal. Thinking fast with a limited time, I told them a bold YES. At first, I thought I might fail that interview.

She went along asking for further details including the dates and I just continued being honest. It was clear to me that she has records of everything connected to my US visa application.

DS-160 Form Related

DS-160 is an Online Non-Immigrant Visa Application. I personally recommend memorizing every information in it including your Letter of Guarantee.

  1. What’s the name of your agent and his contact address?
  2. Who will be the person in the US to be contacted in case of an emergency?
  3. What’s the name of your ship?
  4. What type of vessel is that?
  5. When are you planning to join the ship?
  6. How will you be spending your time in the US?
  7. Who will cover the cost of your travel?
  8. What is the name of your joining port?
  9. Who will take care of you in the US during emergencies?
  10. Why do you want a US Visa if you are joining from a non-US port?

This is important. The details presented here pertain to your transit in the US. Being familiar with them gives the impression that you are legit and serious about your passage.

Form DS-160.
Form DS-160

Trap” Questions

Trap questions are most of the time combined with Form DS-160 questions. 

If you are not thoroughly familiar with the latter while answering YES to the former, the interviewer may think you have the intention to jump ship.

  1. Do you know anybody in the USA?
  2. Do you have any relatives living in the United States?
  3. How many minutes would it take if you threw a candy wrapper into the water if you were on the main deck of a ship?
  4. Do you plan on settling in the US?
  5. Do you have plans of going back to the Philippines?

He or she may suspect that if something unexpected happens while you are on their soil, you may be inclined to contact your families or relatives there rather than your ship agents.

I already told you about being honest but here, it’s safer NOT TO KNOW anybody in the US when the consul asks.

Unrelated

Sometimes, the consul asks questions that are out of the blue. They have their own reasons so better expect something like this to happen.

Some of which are the following.

  1. What did you have last night for dinner?
  2. Who is the first president of the US?
  3. What was the color of the shirt you wore yesterday?

These are just the common interview questions for your C1-D Visa interview. Sometimes, it only takes less than three minutes and you’ll be leaving with a happy face.

However, it could also last an agonizing ten minutes and the result could be terrible. There is also a possibility of failing your US visa application even if you answer them perfectly. 

But familiarizing yourself with these questions gives you more confidence and better chances.

What are your best and worst memories during the US Visa interview? Did you experience questions not listed in this post?  Let me know in the comment section.

May the winds be in your favor.

Gibi

3 Comments

  1. Sudhir Das

    Do we have to tell the US consulate that our Visa got rejected twice bcoz we bluffed …do we have to tell them the truth if we applied in the future

    Reply
    • Gibi

      Hello sir. I guess bluffing didn’t work out well on your last two US visa interviews. Suggest you try to tell them the truth and that you learned your lessons especially the ones written on the documents you submitted to them because they will always verify those information.

      Reply
  2. Jailyn

    What if OKTB/sign on letter in joining dubai port?

    Reply

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