let’s talk about “Will my fiance or spouse be required to speak English at the consular interview?.
Must your fiance speak English? The simple answer is “it depends”.
At the consular interview the American consular officer, of course, can and is ready to speak in English, sometimes he also knows the major language in the host country where he has been posted.
And if his local language skills are not up to snuff, he will probably have his own translator supplied by the consulate there to help him.
So the interview CAN be conducted in English or the local language. The officer usually doesn’t care which.
HOWEVER, while there is no requirement to speak English, the essential and critical requirement for a successful interview, is that the officer is convinced that the two of you, you and your partner have a Bona Fide, genuine, and sincere relationship. The officer will be testing and probing to determine that.
This NOW, is where the question of what languages your partner can speak becomes important.
The officer needs to be convinced yours is a Bona fide relationship. The common expectation at the consulate is that a Bona Fide couple is able to easily and directly communicate with each other. This means the couple shares a language in common, which you use when you are together.
If you have to rely on Google translator, electronic devices, or human interpreters to speak with your partner, then that is a HUGE red flag that will cause the officers suspicions to be on high alert.
For example, if your fiancee only speaks Greek, and you also speak Greek, and all your communications with her or him are in Greek, then the consulate will have no qualms at all in accepting that the two of you can directly communicate and whether or not your fiancee can speak English is irrelevant. Not a word of English needs to come up during the interview.
HOWEVER, if she or he only speaks Greek and you do not, and instead you rely upon Google translator or one of those calculator type translators, or in the worst possible case, rely on a human being, a professional translator, to accompany you and your fiance together to provide the translations, then you are raising a big red flag to the consular officer.
My advice in such circumstances, is to do your best to wean yourself of translators, and translation devices, and to strongly encourage your fiance to take English classes and even hire a tutor to improve English fluency.
The process to apply for a fiancee visa currently takes 8 to 10 months, so that is plenty of time to work hard to improve fluency so that on the day of the interview your fiancee should be able to demonstrate some English.
And some English and proof that she or he is working to improve direct communications with you goes a Long way towards convincing the officer your relationship is bona fide.
By Fred Wahl