After a lengthy and complicated process your fiance has finally been given the opportunity to interview at the US consulate. The interview has gone well, all smiles at the end. And about two weeks later the package arrives via courier to your partner’s home with her or his passport inside and the visa allowing travel to the USA printed on one of the pages.
The visa is stamped into your Fiancee’s passport. Look for the Expiration Date.
The Expiration date is the very last day that your partner can board an and start travel to the USA. This means your partner could wait until 11:59 on that date, to pass through immigration at her or his country to board the aircraft. As long as the travel began before midnight, even if arrival in USA is a day or so after the expiration, it still counts. She or he will be allowed to enter the USA. Of course I would never recommend waiting till that last minute. Too many things might go wrong, like the aircraft being delayed.
When making your travel plans, it’s important to look at and be sure you know the EXACT expiration date.
You should check because you might be surprised that the time available is not the 6 months that is expected. The visa should be valid for 6 months. However when the 6 months starts is not the day of the interview and visa approval, instead the clock started ticking before the interview.
Before the interview your fiancee went to a medical clinic that was appointed by the consulate and underwent a full medical, health check up, and had all vaccinations verified.
US immigration wants to make sure that your partner is relatively healthy on the day of arrival. And the CDC considers a medical exam to be accurate for only 6 months. So instead of the visa being valid for six months from the interview, instead it is for six months from the medical examination.
Usually this does not make any material difference when the medical was taken a few days or weeks preceding the consular interview. But some fiancee’s are so eager that they organize their medical examinations months early. And if this is what you’ve done, Double check the expiration date because instead of a leisurely approximate six months after the interview you may only have two or three or four months remaining before the visa expires.
Here are my tips for today.
#1. Schedule the medical close to the time of the consular interview.
Between one and three weeks prior to the interview is the sweet spot, that gives ample time to get the medical accomplished despite, possible weather problem, such as rain and floods, and power outages, but still allows plenty of time for the validity period for the visa.
#2. Check for typos.
The first thing to do once the visa arrives is to closely examine it for any typos. If your fiancee’s name has been spelled wrong, you will need to return the visa to the consulate for reprinting. This does happen, and if you don’t catch it, your fiance will be turned away at the airport when attempting to board.
#3. Don’t book flights, chapels, honeymoons until AFTER Visa arrives and has been checked.
Regardless of how many visas arrive on time within 2 business weeks of the interview without any typos, there all always the exceptions. Sometimes a delay at the consulate, or courier, or anything. As excited as you are to bring your fiance home, as attractive as the bargain, limited time offer plane tickets are, you will be best served to wait until the visa is safely in the hands of your fiancee before making non-refundable commitments.
By Fred Wahl