With both the Spouse Visa and the Fiancé Visa Processes, the Immigrant Beneficiary is required to attend an interview at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad. The purpose of this interview is for the consular officer to ask questions about the beneficiary’s immigration history and background because their job is to do a final check to make sure that they have a real relationship and to make sure that they’re eligible to receive that visa. This is a crucial step that happens at the end of the process for a Spouse Visa and during the middle of the process for a Fiancé Visa.
As this interview is approaching, a lot of couples get online and search “What is an immigration interview” or “What can I expect?” Often what comes up during this search is in relation to the Adjustment of Status interview, which is a type of immigration interview in the US that both partners attend. The couple will answer questions during this interview together and this is usually when they are asked things like, “What is your favorite color?” and “What is your favorite food?”
These internet searches can be misleading because the Adjustment of Status interview is very different from the Consular Interview. Since the Immigrant Beneficiary is attending the Consular Interview without their partner, the questions are obviously going to be a little different.
The questions for the Consular Interview are going to come primarily from the DS-260 Application or the DS-160 Application, which are applications that are filed online as part of the process. The immigration officer also has your immigration file from USCIS so if you have filed your I-130 petition for a Spouse Visa or if you filed I-129F petition for your Fiancé Visa, they’ll have copies of that and all your evidence. They’ll have your entire immigration history in front of them. This is where they’ll draw their questions from.
Some of the main questions that they’ll start with will just be some background or biographic information. The questions aren’t meant necessarily to trick you, it’s more information that they would expect that you would know, like:
- Your spouse or fiance’s full name
- Your spouse or fiance’s date of birth
- If it’s a spouse visa, when was your date of marriage and where?
- If it’s a fiancé visa, when was your first meeting and when was your most recent meeting in person?
Then they would move on to questions about your relationship and those questions would come from evidence that’s already been submitted in your application. They might see photos or they might have information from your I-130 or your I-129F about a joint bank account or something of that nature. They might ask you, “Do you have any accounts together?” because they see that you submitted that statement.
They will also ask you background questions. At this point they’ll move into questions about prior visa applications if you had a prior tourist visa or student visa.
The final set of questions usually involves screening questions. These are eligibility questions that they ask of everyone, so don’t be alarmed. They will be very serious questions like:
- Have you ever harmed someone?
- Have you ever murdered someone?
- Have you ever been involved in a terrorist organization?
- Have you ever been involved in drug trafficking?
These come from a list of screening questions that they are required to ask of everyone and it is not necessarily because they suspect you have done any of these things.
Even with these different categories and types of questions, it’s important to understand that the Consular Interview actually happens pretty quickly. The actual interview itself is not very long. We tell our clients to be prepared from anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes and a lot of them will come back and say that it felt like only a couple minutes total. That’s obviously not everyone’s experience with the process because it really depends on your case and your immigration history, but don’t be alarmed if it’s short.
We know it’s unnerving to be in the hot seat, to be sitting across from an immigration officer and to answer questions about your relationship. We want you to know that if you’re worried about this, you aren’t the only one. The most important thing before you attend this interview is to review your application and have dates committed to memory because if there are contradictions in your application and your responses, that can cause issues.
We hope that this helps and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.