How Does the Spouse of a US Citizen Prepare for the Immigrant Visa Interview?


[The following is the full transcript of the blog video: How Does the Spouse of a US Citizen Prepare for Immigrant Visa Interview]

If you’re the spouse of a US citizen, how do you prepare for your upcoming Immigrant Visa Interview?

I’m Eric Widman, I’m an Immigration Lawyer.

The first thing to keep in mind is that everybody is nervous in this situation, it probably taken a year or more just to get the interview, set up lots of documents that you’ve sent over to the government. And then you get an email or letter notifying you that the big day is finally here, and that you’re supposed to show up at a specific time at the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country. So of course, you don’t want to mess it up.

To get here, the I 130 petition was approved, then you got through the National Visa Center, and your application has been documentary documentary qualified, it’s a tough one to say. Then the embassy set up an interview. So you’re now able to proceed. And you want to make sure you’re well prepared. So what do you need to do? The first place to start is going to the website of NBC, and also to the specific embassy, where your interviews going to be at the procedures that are required for you at the consular post are different depending on the embassy. Sure, there’s many common steps at the various embassies. But there are key differences that you’ll have to keep in mind.

One post will require you to carry in your medical exam, the other submits it electronically. So you’ll follow the timeline laid out for you in the interview instructions, you’ll print out a checklist. And you’ll make sure you methodically go through that, you’ll register for your interview, you’ll get the medical appointments set up, you’ll go get passport photos done. And then we recommend that your US citizen spouse, send over in the mail, a packet of those documents, or PDF that you could print out if that’s easier. So that ds ds 260 confirmation page, the prior receipt notices all the things that you’ll want to bring in that they’re there and ready. And you’ll have to bring in originals as well as copies in some circumstances. Again, you got to check the checklist at the interview itself. Make sure you give yourself the gift of showing up ahead of time without having to get stressed out about traffic. So it’s actually a very strategic question. Were you going to say that evening prior to the interview, and you have reliable transportation.
Don’t be late to your interview, of course. And once you’re there, the focus of the officer who is going to interview you is straightforward. And these interviews surprisingly, take less time than you might expect initially, sometimes or a few minutes – 5 to 10 minutes often are common. The officer is going to be confirming that you are admissible into the US that you can receive this immigrant visa, and that you have a genuine marriage with your spouse. So they’ll go through standard documents with you in the beginning identification, passport, birth certificate, then they’ll be asked you questions about how did you meet your spouse? How much time how long have you known each other? How much time have you spent? Have you spent that time together? Also, what are your plans for the future?

The fundamental concern of a consular officer is looking out for immigration fraud. They want to discern they want to approve any fake marriages. And you don’t have a fake marriage. So you have to have evidence they’re showing them why your your marriage is bonafide, the burden is on you to come up with documents that you’re going to bring into the interview as well. You’ll be supplementing what you’ve already provided as part of the I 130 petition initially. So you’ll want to have updated pictures, updated documents, updated information, showing your life together as much as possible, even though you’ve been separated, and quite a few couples are separated. And of course, your spouse can’t be there with the interview with you, which is always a bummer. But we love having successful clients go to interviews, get the result that they want and you typically won’t find out, by the way, for a few days.

So it’s very common to have the consular officer say I’ll review the documents and then you’ll find out later whether you were approved or not. So don’t think it’s just you if you don’t get an immediate approval right there at the interview. Your passport will be returned to you if you do receive the visa within a week or so, with the visa stamp in it.

That of course is the goal.

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