A visa interview at the U.S. consulate in an intending fiancé’s home country is the crucial step in an intimidating process. Many couples attempt to navigate the process on their own, however after a few years of experience I have come to realize that the fiancé petition and consular processing is one of the more complex immigration processes and is best handled by a seasoned immigration attorney (lest you turn completely grey before your fiancé can even get to the States - not very attractive for wedding photos).
Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for the interview process.
- Make sure you are completely familiar with your I-129F visa petition. It’s been a few months since you’ve filed it. Review it and even bring it with you to your interview.
- Double check that all the requirements are met by the consulate and you bring everything you will need with you to the interview. Some consulates have their own unique requirements, so be sure to verify that you have checked all the boxes. Make sure to bring the original medical test (very important), copy of security clearance, copy of the interview notice, copy of birth certificate (originals should have been filed). It would help to bring the entire visa application along with original documents has been filed in advance of your interview with the consulate. Also remember to bring your valid passport, keeping in mind it should be valid for at least 6 months beyond intended date of entry into the U.S.;
- Take extra documents that evidence your relationship with your fiancé that you may have. Recently taken photos, skype records, social media posts, any wedding planning evidence, etc. You should have already submitted these in advance, but take anything that you have not submitted or that is more recent. Also be sure to take a copy of the visa application package that you have submitted just in case;
- Try to arrive to the consulate early and make sure you are completely prepared. Do not make any arrangements to travel, dispose of property, or resign from employment until your visa is approved;
- Practice some interview questions beforehand with your fiancé. This is your chance to REALLY get to know him or her, some questions can be detailed. Here are some sample question:
- When did you meet your fiancé?
- How did you meet your fiancé?
- How long have you known each other?
- Who proposed to whom?
- What made you decide to get married?
- Have you ever been to the United States?
- Have you met your fiancé’s parents?
- How do your parents feel about your fiancé?
- Where and when was your fiancé born?
- Does your fiancé have siblings? Where do they live?
- Where does your fiancé work?
- Where does your fiancé live?
- What is your fiancé’s phone number?
- When did your fiancé divorce?
- Describe your wedding plans.
- Did you bring proof of any wedding planning?
- Describe your life plans subsequent to your wedding.
- How have you maintained your long distance relationship?
Once prepared, you can relax and go with the flow. If the interview goes well, the immigrant will typically receive his or her visa within a few days. However it can take a few weeks if there are added security checks (the uncertainty is not fun if you’re wedding planning but welcome to the world of U.S. immigration law). If approved your immigrant visa is valid for up to six months from date of issuance unless your medical examination validity expires sooner. Plan to arrive to the U.S. before your visa expires.
At the end of the day, keep in mind that while the fiancé visa process can be stressful and daunting, it is good training for a happy marriage – if you can get through this together without strangling someone, you can get through pretty much anything!