For the Fiance Visa Interview, each applicant must schedule an appointment at the consulate, and convince the consular officer that theirs is a “bona fide” genuine relationship, and that the purpose of the Fiancee Visa application is solely for sincere marriage.
This information is for couples who are applying for a fiance visa for immigration to the United States and who wish to prepare for the interview at the US Consulate in the fiance’s country.
This information is general, not specific to any particular embassy but we’ll provide an accurate idea of what to expect. Should you be interviewing in Manila, I have recorded another FAQ video that describes the Manila interview process in exact detail.
First, let’s talk about the chain of events so far. About four to six months ago, you submitted your I129F petition to USCIS online security. Eventually, USCIS approved your petition and sent you a noticed telling you the good news. Also, at the same time, they passed your petition on to the US Department of State to their offices in Vermont called the “NVC” or “National Visa Center.” NVC, about a week or two later, sent you a letter and telling you that they have received your file and are forwarding it to the US Embassy, that is situated closest to your fiance. The letter tells you that you should stand by and wait for the embassy to contact her directly with further instructions.
The consulate will attempt to contact your fiance directly and provide her with instructions and government forms. They usually send this via postal mail. Though sometimes now, embassies are using email and then refer the fiance to go to the embassies website to download the documents and even book the interview. Sometimes, they try to reach her by telephone. In some countries, the postal mail is terrible. Items regularly get lost or stolen. In some of these countries, the only dependable solution is for your fiance to physically go to the embassy and pick up the package of instructions in person. If your fiance has not received any communication from the consulate after a few weeks, you should contact the consulate directly to chase the status.
The packet or packets, there may be more than one, that she receives, picks up or downloads should contain general instructions and checklists from the embassy, blank government forms, details on where and how she should pay the visa application fee, details on where to get the medical at the clinic that has been selected and approved by the consulate, and finally, details on how to contact the embassy to schedule her interview. The required forms that she should fill in and then bring with her to the appointment at the embassy or sometimes mail to the embassy, if that is what they request, are the DS-157, 156, and what to do and will have copies of the blank forms within it.
Each embassy requires that your fiance bring with her, her passport and birth certificate. Also, she must contact her local police authority and obtain a police clearance certificate. This basically should show that she has no criminal record. And if after she was sixteen year old, she ever lived in any other countries, she will also have to obtain a police certificate from each country that she resided in. To be eligible for a fiance visa, both the fiance and the American fiancé must both be free to marry. If the fiance has been previously married, she must bring with her an original or certified copy of evidence to prove that her previous marriage was terminated, such as a divorce or annulment decree or death certificate.
In some countries, it is the practice of the local government to issue a certificate of no marriage. This document shows that the fiance has always been single. If her country issues such a document, the consulate will want to see it. And finally, in some cases, the American fiancé is also asked to provide original proof that he is free to marry. The American sponsor must prove that his annual income meets the minimum income requirements to be eligible for a fiance visa. To do so, he must give his fiance a signed affidavit attesting to his income along with different proofs of the income, such as his recent tax returns, a letter from his employer confirming what his job is and what the salary is, and three to six recent pay stubs. She will bring all these along with her to the consulate.
There is still more items for her to bring to the interview. She receives an appointment letter and that confirms the date and time of her interview. She needs this to get into the embassy on her interview day, plus a few visa photos and the receipt showing that she paid the visa fee. It is also a good idea to prepare a letter, signed by the fiance as well as one signed by the American sponsor, confirming the couple is still engaged and still plan to marry once she arrives into the USA. Finally, she should bring with her the various proofs she has gathered that show that the couple is a bona fide, genuine couple.
There are various proofs of a bona fide relationship. The fiance should bring in whatever she has, such as photographs, samples of correspondences, travel itineraries showing that her American sponsor came to visit her or the two of them travel together, telephone bills, histories of email or chat sessions, if there was an engagement, proof of the engagement such as the receipt from buying an engagement ring, photos of the party or invitations that may have been sent to relatives or friends.
If the proof is a bit thin, then perhaps affidavit from the people that the couple know. Ideally, those in the position of trust, such as ministers, politicians, employers that know both of the couple and can attest that they are sincere couples, but really don’t have any reason for misrepresentation. And finally, if the American sponsor has been sending monies to his fiance on a regular basis, proof of those transfers is a good item to bring to the interview.
Once the fiance has everything ready or can reasonably estimate when the final document will arrive, she should contact the embassy in the way the embassy requested and that could be by mail, fax or telephone or in person to tell them she is ready to have her interview. And then they will schedule an interview and send her a document, a letter confirming exactly when and where. For some embassies, they have a system where the American sponsor can pay eighteen dollars using his credit card and that gives him the privilege of telephoning the embassy directly on their somewhat, American fiancé hotline and he can talk to the embassy three times if he wants to answer and ask all his questions. But most importantly, he can sit down and talk with the scheduling clerk to put his fiance on to the embassy’s appointment calendar. This maybe the best eighteen dollars any American fiancé has spent.
Once her interview is scheduled, she should attend a medical at the clinic designated by the consulate. This should be accomplished at least a week prior to the interview. When she goes to the clinic, she should bring with her a proof that she is a fiance visa candidate, that’s usually the letter that the embassy sent her, her passport, any vaccination records she may have, some visa photos and she’ll probably need cash to pay the clinic’s fees.
When the big day arrives, she should arrive the embassy early, bringing with her all the documents and evidences that she needs. There will be security checkpoints, long lines and she should mentally prepare herself to stay calm and poised even during a potentially long and frustrating day. Some consulates recommend that the American sponsor attend the interview. If that is the case, you should do so.
But today, many consulates, most even, perhaps due to security concerns, will not even allow the American in the door. He will have to wait outside the embassy for his fiance to return with the final result. Eventually, your fiance’s number will be called and she will be asked to speak directly with the consular officer. Perhaps, they will be together in a cubby, or perhaps, facing each other through thick glass panels.
The consular officer will ask about the timeline of your relationship and ask detailed questions about the courtship, proposal and about each other. It is very important that you and your fiance discuss and practice the questions and answers in advance so that your fiance will be relaxed and knowledgeable. And in case, you are both separately ask the same questions, your answers will be identical. I have put together about one hundred and twenty typical questions. And if you want to get a free copy, please visit www.VisaCoach.com and subscribe to the free fiance Visa Secrets Newsletter. The questions will be automatically sent to you.
Assuming the interview went well your fiance will be given a pink slip and advice that her visa will be ready a few days later. Sometimes, she is instructed to return to the consulate, a few business days later, to pick up her passport or passport will be sent to her via a delivery service. So she needs to fill out the delivery service forms before she leaves the embassy. Once she receives her passport and visa, she can start the trip to the USA anytime within the next six months.
By Fred Wahl