Keys to a Successful Consular Visa Application & Interview
Author: Alexander D. Sanchez, Esq.
Date: September 24, 2016
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PLAN AHEAD AND BE READY FOR ROAD BUMPS
Always plan your travel well ahead of time. Consular processing is a typical bureaucracy, fraught with delays. Applying early will save you from having to reschedule or cancel your travel plans. There are many variables that affect whether the consulates decide your application requires additional review (i.e. you have a highly technical background or your name matches a person-of-interest on a terrorist watchlist, etc.). If your case is selected for additional review, expect to have to submit additional documents promptly and plan for a delay lasting one week to several months.
SCHEDULE AND COMPLETE A MEDICAL EXAMINATION
You (together with each derivative family member applying for a visa with you) are required to complete a medical examination in the country where you will be interviewed. The medical exam must be completed by an embassy-approved doctor. After the exam the doctor will either send the exam results directly to the embassy or give you a sealed envelope. DO NOT OPEN the sealed envelope as it will void the results. Bring the envelope with you to the visa interview.
REGISTER FOR COURIER SERVICE & OTHER PRE-INTERVIEW INSTRUCTIONS
Many embassies and consulates require visa applicants to pre-register for courier services. This service is used for returning applicant passports/visas after the interview. Each consular section also has unique entry and security requirements, including whether applicants can bring cell phones into the embassy/consulate. Before your interview, read the specific requirements for where you will be interviewed. Click here to locate the embassy/consulate along with the specific requirements and instructions.
GATHER DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR THE INTERVIEW
In addition to the special requirements from the specific embassy/consulate office where you will be interviewing (see key 03 above), each case will also be required to bring the following documents to their interview:
• Interview appointment letter from the National Visa Center (NVC).
• Unexpired passport valid for six months beyond your intended date of entry into the United States and a photocopy of the biographic page (where your name and photo are located).
• Two color passport photographs measuring 2 inches by 2 inches (5 cm by 5 cm) with a white background.
• Required civil documents on the list below (the original version and a photocopy), even if you submitted a photocopy to NVC. You may need to get an updated police certificate.
• Translations of any document not written in either English or the official language of the country in which the interview will take place. Translations must be certified by a competent translator.
• Medical exam results if the physician gives you these results. In that case, bring them to your interview in the envelope sealed by the medical office. Do not open this envelope.
• Confirmation page from Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, that you submitted on ceac.state.gov.
Family-based visa applications:
▪ An originally signed (in ink) Affidavit of Support from your petitioner and any additional financial sponsors who submitted a Form I-864 on behalf of your visa application. This is required even if you sent an originally signed form to NVC.
▪ Financial evidence showing your petitioner’s income, such as federal tax returns or forms W-2. If you have any additional financial sponsors, you must bring the same type of financial evidence for them, along with proof of their legal status in the United States.
▪ Proof of the U.S. petitioner’s status and domicile in the United States (photocopy of a U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, or legal permanent resident card).
Employment-based visa applications: A letter from your U.S. employer dated less than one month ago confirming the essential elements of the job offer.