US Immigrant Visa Interview Documents Preparation and Checklist - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

US Immigrant Visa Interview Documents Preparation and Checklist

Anyone who has been through the immigration process for any country will know the process can be arduous and can demand a great deal of preparation and planning time.  The risk is always that by not providing the correct information and/or documents in an immigration application, officials may issue an outright refusal, or they may request further information.  And every time an immigration officer has to write to ask for information or additional documentation, the process gets longer.  The key to making any immigration application is to take your time and read the detailed rules and requirements.  An extra hour of checking an application prior to submission can save several weeks of ‘toing and froing’.  All too often, as immigration lawyers, we see the impact on migrants who have rushed the process and paid the price.  In this article, we will explain how an immigrant to the US can ensure they have all of the necessary documents they need for their visa application interview.

The US Immigrant Visa Process

One positive aspect of being asked to attend an interview for your US visa is that you are coming to the end of the application process. It is only after your interview that you will receive a decision on your application.  The steps prior to having an interview are as follows:

  1. Submit a petition – this is reviewed by the USCIS and if approved it is passed to the next stage
  2. Processing by the Department of State’s National Visa Centre (NVC)
  3. Payment of application fees
  4. Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) is submitted by the applicant’s sponsor, and confirms they will take financial responsibility for them
  5. Financial documents – this requires the financial sponsor to gather and submit evidence of their finances (e.g. tax records)
  6. Application by the immigrant and their family members (this requires the completion of Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration – Form DS-260)
  7. Collecting civil documents required to support the application – these include documentation of adoption, birth certificates, court and prison records, marriage certificates, marriage termination documents, military records, petitioner documents, passport biometric photo pages, and police certificates. Depending on your home country and the number of documents needed, this stage can take a considerable amount of time.
  8. Scanning of documents – once you have gathered all of the documents needed, you will need to scan and upload each one to the CEAC application system
  9. Submission of documents – once you have scanned and uploaded all documents, you can then submit these for consideration. If any corrections are required, you will be advised by the NVC.
  10. Prepare for your interview – you will receive an appointment date and time for your visa interview at this stage – it is imperative that you now prepare for your interview in good time. This includes arranging a medical examination, completing a pre-interview checklist, reading the interview guidelines, and gather all of the documents you will need to bring with you.
  11. Your visa interview

Who is Required to Attend the Visa Interview?

The interview should be attended by those people you have included in your application; including you, your spouse, and any dependant unmarried children.  Your interview appointment letter will clarify who needs to be at the interview appointment.  In circumstances whereby your spouse and/or dependent children plan to migrate to the US after you (i.e. they will travel to the US separately and on a later date), then they will not be required to attend the visa interview.

What Documents Should I Bring to my Visa Interview?

It pays to be extremely prepared for your interview, including bringing all of your documents in a binder or other type of organizer which will make accessing and identifying each item as easy as possible.  You will need to bring with you the following items:

1. Appointment Letter – The interview appointment letter you received from NVC.

2. All of the original or certified copy civil documents you have already uploaded to CEAC, including:

  • Birth certificates
  • Adoption certificates (if applicable)
  • Marriage certificates (if applicable)
  • Police certificates
  • Statutory declaration or change of name deed poll (if applicable)
  • Court and prison records
  • Military records
  • Evidence of support
  • Passport – For each applicant, an unexpired passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of entry into the United States
  • Photographs – two identical color photograph(s) for each applicant, which must meet the general Photograph Requirements.
  • DS-260 Confirmation Page
  • Visa Fees – If your visa application fees were collected by NVC, you do not need to pay again. However, if you or any family member did not pay all the necessary fees, you will be asked to pay any unpaid fees at the US Embassy or Consulate.
  • Any document not written in English must be accompanied by an official, certified translation in English. In addition, the translator must provide a signed statement confirming that the translation is accurate.

All original documents will be returned to you after the interview

It is imperative that all documents required are brought to the interview, including those for your family members.  Unfortunately, if documents are missing or are not in the correct format or translated properly, there is a risk that your application may be refused.

Final Words

The more organized and prepared you can be throughout the application process, the better your chances of receiving a positive decision.  If you know that you simply do not have the time or resources needed to prepare for your application and interview, it is recommended that you seek the help of an immigration lawyer who can handle much of the process on your behalf, and remove the burden from your shoulders.

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