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What Happens On The Day of Your Consular Interview For A US Immigrant Visa

On the day of your consular interview for a US Visa, a consular officer will interview you to determine whether you are eligible to receive an immigrant visa.

Your consular interview will be at your home country's US Embassy or Consulate, unless you are notified otherwise. Although your interview is highly important, it's important not to panic; consider it as a conversation. 

The primary goal of your consular interview is to confirm that all the information you provided in your application is correct and to ensure that you qualify for your desired visa. 

A consular officer will interview you (and accompanying family member beneficiaries) to make this determination. 

Below, we have included everything you need to know about your consular interview; the documents you'll need to bring with you, the type of questions you will be asked, the interview process, and how you learn if your application is approved. 

Because your US visa application is new and not a renewal, you will be required to have an interview at your nearest US Embassy or Consulate, or any one which you will be assigned to.

What to prepare when traveling for your interview?

If you are traveling to a distant city to attend your visa interview, then we recommend you arrive there a day early to give yourself time to prepare and settle in. Often, your immigration medical examination is scheduled a day or two before, so you have to arrive earlier anyway. Plan ahead for hotel and transportation.

It's essential to make sure you remember to bring all the required documentation for your application. You will receive instructions - read them carefully. The documents you'll need for your visa application interview are the following: 

  • Your appointment letter
  • Medical examination results (unless the doctor sends them directly to the US Embassy or Consulate)
  • Your birth certificate
  • Police clearance certificate(s)
  • Passport
  • DS-260 confirmation page
  • Proof of Relationship with spouse and children: (marriage certificate, birth certificates)
  • Photographs

We recommend that you arrive 15 minutes ahead of your appointment slot in case of any delays. You may have to wait beyond your scheduled appointment time.

Remember, you are not permitted to enter the US Embassy or Consulate with any of the following items: 

  • Phones
  • Electronics
  • Food
  • Liquids
  • Weapons
  • Sharp objects
  • Luggage
  • Bags/Purses

Who should attend the interview with you?

Only spouses and children aged 14 and older must attend the visa interview. 

A minor child under 14 does not need to be present during the interview if they are part of their parent's application.

If your children are under 14, you must take their passports and application materials to your consular interview. 

The only case in which a minor must be present during an interview is if they are the only applicant of their petition. 

However, check the application procedures at the Embassy or Consulate where you apply. Some consulates require children to appear in person for all types of interviews, regardless of age. Specific detailed instructions will be emailed to you so that you may prepare properly.

What to do when you enter the US Embassy or Consulate

When you arrive at the US Embassy or Consulate for your interview, there will be a specific set of instructions for you to follow: 

Security Screening

To enter an Embassy or Consulate, you must undergo an airport-type security screening.

Keep in mind that neither consulates nor embassies provide storage facilities for personal items. For this reason, it's essential to ensure you are not carrying prohibited items such as your phone and other electronics. 

Any person who does not comply with security procedures will be denied entry to the Consulate. 

Check-in

After entering the Embassy, a clerk will greet you and check over your document packet to make sure all required documentation is present. 

If you are missing any of the required documentation, you will not be able to proceed with your interview and will have to reschedule your appointment. 

Meet with your consular officer 

The interview with your consular officer is a short meeting that typically lasts three to five minutes.

Your consular officer will place you under oath before proceeding to check your documentation. They will then ask you questions that may be similar or identical to the ones on your application form.

As part of the interview, ink-free, digital fingerprints will also be taken.

What questions will the consular officer ask?

Immigrant visa interview questions cover both your personal and professional life.

It’s a good idea to review the answers you provided on your immigrant visa application which you submitted previously (DS-260) and practice answering questions beforehand to increase your confidence. New, updated information can be updated verbally.

This will help you quickly answer questions from your consular officer without any hesitation, leading to a quicker application approval. 

Here are some frequently asked visa application questions: 

  • Have you ever been to the US? If yes, what visa did you apply for then?
  • Are you traveling with someone else?
  • Tell us about the company for which you work. Where else have you worked before?
  • How, where, and when did you meet your spouse?
  • Did you ever work in the US without employment authorization?
  • Where do you currently live?
  • What is your current job?
  • Where else have you worked in the past five years?
  • How long have you been residing at your current address?
  • Do you owe any tax to your state government?
  • Do you ever plan on returning to your home country?

During your interview, it is vital that you answer each question honestly and provide as much information as you can. 

If you fail to answer questions truthfully your visa may be denied. Give accurate information and do not attempt to conceal any information from your consular officer. 

How to know if your visa application has been approved or denied?

If your visa application is approved, you will be informed after your interview. Your passport containing your new visa will generally be returned to you via courier, but sometimes you may need to return to your Embassy or Consulate to collect it.

Your US visa will consist of a stamp in your passport which will indicate on which immigrant visa category you will enter the US. Be sure to check the expiration date of your visa. Although you do not have to travel to the US immediately after your interview, typically immigrant visas expire from one to five months after issuance.  

Not all applicants are informed after the interview whether their visa application has been approved.

You may be asked to provide additional information or evidence before an approval or denial on your application can be made. 

It’s very unlikely your consular officer will tell you on the spot if your visa has been denied. If you are deemed ineligible for a visa, you may reapply in the future.

If your visa has been approved, you will receive a packet of information, known as a Visa Packet from your consular officer. You are not permitted to open this packet. 

Upon your arrival to the US, you will hand your Visa Packet to the Customs and Border Protection officer at your point of entry. The CBP officer will examine its contents to make sure everything is in order. Later, about three months after your arrival in the US, your green card will be mailed to you.

We hope this blog has helped you understand what you can expect on the day of your consular interview. 

If you are looking for expert help with your US Visa application and consular interview, then Meimaris Law would love to help.

With over 25 years experience with immigration law, we’ll guide you through the visa application process from beginning to end.

Get in touch today for a free consultation with our team and talk about how we can help you.

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