Getting Fiancee or spousal visas for Vietnam is much harder than from most other countries.
The consular officers in Ho Chi Minh City apply a higher standard before they accept that a relationship is genuine.
Like the consulate in China, see Guangzhou Problems they expect a petitioner to have made multiple trips, to have had a long engagement, and to be able to communicate well with his fiancee (English no problem).
In addition they expect each petitioner to have celebrated a large, formal engagement party and banquet called “Dinh Hon” (but not on the first trip).
Some of their “official” reasons for denial are:
Photographs submitted as evidence of the relationship indicate that Petitioner and Fiancee have spent only four or five days together.
(This is their “code” what it really means is “only one trip = no visa”. If only one trip, it doesn’t matter how many photos you give)
It does not appear that the claimed relationship is continuous and on going. For example, Petitioner has not returned to visit Fiancee for one year.
Fiancee and-or Petitioner submitted evidence of only a small, inconsequential engagement ceremony without any US guest. This contradicts local social and cultural norms in which many family members and friends, including those in the US, are invited to engagement celebrations numbering in the hundreds of guests for families of even modest means.
In contrast to Vietnamese social and cultural norms which mandate a lengthy and careful period of pre-nuptial arrangements, Petitioner and Fiancee became engaged before meeting in person.
The decision to approve or deny is generally made by the consular officer before he meets with the Fiancee, before the interview. This is why taking the extra effort to make a complete and convincing petition at the start is essential to your success. If the officer has decided to deny, he will ask her detailed questions about the “proposal, the petitioners home town or the future wedding plans”. Any answer the Fiancee gives will not be “credible”.
Beneficiary’s chronology of the claimed relationship is not credible. For example, Fiancee can not recalled when Petitioner proposed to her.
Fiancee is unaware of basic facts regarding Petitioners location and or hometown (features, characteristics, etc). For example Fiancee was unaware of where Petitioner has lived for the past two years.
Fiancee is unaware of the exact wedding plans, what church, or venue, when the marriage would take place.
If these issues apply to you, to be successful you MUST remedy them prior to submitting your Petition. And you MUST provide the supporting documents to irrefutably prove the remedies have occurred. Many petitioners have their multiple trips and engagement party after the fiancee visa petition has been submitted, then bring proof of the trips, etc to the Fiancee’s consulate interview. They leave dumbfounded when finding that their Fiancee who attended the interview alone, but with all the documents, was not allowed to show the proof, instead was asked a few questions and left, denied due to the weak initial petition documentation.
Submit a stronger petition with more “proof of a genuine relationship”, UP FRONT. Contrary to official statements, decisions to accept or deny a petition are often made early, prior to the interview, while the consular officer is reviewing your petition. The officer then asks pointed questions during the interview in order to justify the decision he has ALREADY made. Be sure to provide all proof of your genuine relationship “up front” in the petition.
Strategy to successfully petition: Immediately take extra care to ensure that your “paper trail” is solid, and put at least two trips to meet her into your plans, sign her up for English lessons if her conversational English is not good, and celebrate your “Dinh Hon” during one of your trips.
By Fred Wahl
Your Personal Immigration Guide