What to Expect at Your Immigrant Visa Interview

For married couples who are separated by distance, applying for the immigrant visa may seem like a never-ending process. Between USCIS processing times for the I-130 Petition and working with the National Visa Center to finalize the immigrant visa application, it often feels like there may never be a light at the end of the tunnel. But then one day, an email arrives from the National Visa Center with the immigrant visa interview appointment notice.

Finally! An interview date! Some couples feel relief to have a date on the calendar to count down to. Other couples feel excited to be so close to the end of the long-distance stage of their relationship. However, most couples also feel anxious about the interview, and for good reason. The interview is the last step in the long and often overwhelming process of applying for an immigrant visa, and the last thing any couple wants is to go into the interview unprepared.

The National Visa Center provides a guide to what items the visa applicant should bring to the interview.  However, little guidance is provided about what to expect on the day of the interview.

One of the most important things to know about the interview is that only the immigrant attends. It is extremely rare for the U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident petitioner to be required to appear for the interview. If you are the petitioner and you arrive at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with your spouse on the day of the interview, it is highly unlikely you will be admitted into the Immigrant Visa Unit. Attorneys are also generally not permitted to accompany the immigrant to the interview.

Make sure the documents you are required to bring to your interview are organized and easily accessible. Review your documents several times prior to your interview so you know exactly what you have with you and so you can quickly provide the Consular Officer with whatever document he or she requests.

Bring evidence of your relationship to the immigrant visa interview and be ready to answer questions about your spouse. Immigrant visa applications based on marriage must be able to show that the marriage is bona-fide and was not entered into solely for immigration purposes. Some examples of relationship evidence include: photos of the married couple together, transcripts of texting/online messaging, letters or cards exchanged between the couple for birthdays or holidays, or phone or Skype records showing regular communication between the couple.

The questions asked during the immigrant visa interview about the relationship can vary. Some applicants are asked a litany of questions; some are only asked a question or two. It is important to give clear and concise responses to the Consular Officer’s questions. And it is imperative to answer every question truthfully. Some relationship questions an applicant may be asked during the interview include:

  • Where did you meet?
  • Who attended your wedding?
  • Did you go on a honeymoon? Where did you go and what did you do?
  • What does your spouse do for a living in the United States?
  • Does your spouse live in a house or an apartment?
  • Does your spouse have any pets? If yes, what kind of pets and what are their names?

Most applicants for immigrant visas are told at the conclusion of the interview if their visa has been approved. Once the immigrant has his or her passport back from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate containing the immigrant visa, it is time to relocate to the United States and finally be joined together as a married couple.

The immigrant visa process can be time-consuming, intimidating, and frustrating. Caruso Law Group staff members have helped hundreds of immigrants obtain immigrant visas. If you are looking for someone to help you and your spouse through the process, contact Caruso Law Group for a free consultation.

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