USA Immigrant Visa Interview

On the day of the USA immigrant visa interview, the applicant must bring the appropriate documents and appear at the consulate at the time specified.

Even though you have an approved petition, you still require a personal interview. The face-to-face interview by a Consular officer is a critical element in the U.S.’ effort to balance the goals of welcoming legal immigrants while identifying persons who may not be eligible to enter the U.S. It is a key element in the effort to preserve a free and open society, prevent immigration fraud, and ensure the safety and security of all who reside in the U.S.


You must bring the following documents to the interview:

  • Appointment Letter – The original appointment letter for the interview that you received from NVC.
  • Passport – An unexpired passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended date of entry into the U.S.
  • Two identical Photographs
  • DS-260 Confirmation Page
  • Civil Documents – Original or certified copies of all civil documents you uploaded into CEAC. In case you didn’t submit an English translation of any documents to NVC, you must submit them at this time.

As you would have already paid the visa fees to NVC, you don’t need to pay them again. However, for whatever reason, if you didn’t pay them yet, you will have to pay them at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

You may be asked to present a completed DS-5540, Public Charge Questionnaire, and supporting evidence at the time of your interview, if you are applying for your visa from outside the United States. You may want to prepare that documentation in advance.

Before Interview

Review all your paperwork before the interview. Review the questions and answers on all the forms and documents that you and your sponsor have submitted so far. Review the dates of your visits to different places, the financial figures, and your immigration history. If there have been any changes or if you have noticed any errors since filing out the forms previously, be prepared to explain the changes and provide documents confirming the new information, as appropriate.

Take a fine point pen with you as the normal ballpoint pen doesn’t work properly while signing on the photograph.

Dress neatly, professionally, and even conservatively. Don’t wear T-shirts or jewelry with slogans or symbols that might make the officer wonder about your lifestyle or morals. However, don’t overdo like wearing a tie covered with American flags or keep making comments about how great the USA is, how you would be a member of a great society.


Due to security concerns and space limitations, interested parties such as friends, relatives, attorneys, or business contacts are not permitted to attend the immigrant visa interview of an applicant or intervene on their behalf during the interview.


Do not arrive more than 15 minutes before the interview appointment time. Sometimes you have to stand in the same line as non-immigrant visa applicants in spite of showing the appointment letter.

Once you enter the consulate, you give them your appointment letter. Then you sit in front of windows designed for an immigrant visa until your name is called for an interview. Please keep the documents ready.

Once you are in, there is no appointment time. You are called randomly. You are called by your official name, not a token number. Most interviews take place before lunch.

You may have to wait beyond your scheduled appointment time as many applicants are scheduled at the same time. However, due to the volume of applicants, you may as well as spend a good part of the day at the Consulate. You are suggested to bring books, crossword puzzles, and other diversions.

If there is only one case number for the primary applicant and for the spouse, all will be called together. For everything like standing in the queue / prescreening/final interview, you and your family are together. The primary applicant’s file will be prepared first, then they move on to the spouse’s file and then children (if any). If any of your children are born in the USA, you must carry their U.S. passports with you.

The interview at the consulate is usually a simple process. Answer truthfully and consistently throughout and you will maximize your chances of success. If you don’t know the answer, say so, but don’t make it up. If you are not sure of the answer, truthfully say so. Do not try to engage in unnecessary conversation with the officer as that might cause more questions and possibly some problems. Any false statement or concealment of a material fact may result in your permanent exclusion from the U.S. There is no fingerprinting at the consulate for the immigrant visa purpose. You will be fingerprinted at the port of entry.

At the beginning of the interview with the American officer, if you have any non-immigrant visas in the passport, they are all “cancelled without prejudice”. At this stage, you have no legal status for U.S. immigration purposes, until you enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa.

The consulate staff is very courteous. They do not find unnecessary issues. However, try to take all possible documents to avoid any surprises. The American consular officer interviews for a few minutes. As always, you should be polite, courteous to them. And you should not argue unnecessarily with them. Otherwise, they may make you feel like you are in hell and you may have to go through some more trouble. After that, raise your hands and take an oath saying everything is correct and there is no fraud, etc.

Once you clear the interview, you will be informed that your immigrant visa has been approved.

Applications are rarely denied on the spot. If there are problems that can be corrected or if you are inadmissible but are eligible to apply for a waiver, you will be asked to provide additional materials. Politely ask the officer to put any requests for more materials in writing, stating exactly what is needed and why. The Consular office may give you a 221(g) letter that may list the documents required. In such cases, an immigrant visa will not be approved on the same day and you may be asked to return to the U.S. embassy/consulate at a later date.

No Prior Assurances

No assurance can be given in advance that a visa will be issued. A consular officer can make a decision only after your visa application and all documents are reviewed, and you have been personally interviewed. You are advised not to make any travel arrangements, and not to dispose of your property or give up your job until the visa has been issued. If your visa application is refused, you will be given a refusal sheet that will indicate the basis for your refusal. If applicable, it will tell you what actions you could take to overcome the refusal.

Employment-Based Immigration, Applicants Coming From the U.S.

You may be asked questions like your father’s name, your job title, job description, about your previous entries whether they were H1 or F1, etc, time duration, etc. for the entries. If he/she asks for I-485 approval (for those of you who have filed it before going to Consular Processing), say that you don’t need to be here if you have I-485 approval. If have some complications like a company name change, merger, or anything out of the ordinary, make sure you raise all points of doubts yourself, as he/she may not be aware of all your case details.

The American officer may ask questions like name of company, job title, job duties, date of first arrival in the U.S., your different legal statuses in the U.S, time difference between I-485 and consular processing etc. Also you have to sign a letter saying you will work for the same employer after you get back.

Marriage-Based Immigration

You may be asked questions such as how you and your spouse met when you decided to get married, and other facts regarding your visits or correspondence. You also may be asked how many people attended the ceremony and how you have visited or corresponded with each other in recent years. If you don’t know the answer or don’t remember something, say so rather than guess the answer.

Don’t talk unnecessarily or make any jokes such as “mail order bribe” or paying money for a bride or anything like that.

If there are any questions about the validity of your marriage, the consular officer may send the file back to the U.S. for investigation.

Passport, Immigrant Visa and Documents Delivery

All the documents related to the immigrant visa and the petition are put in a sealed (U.S. Consulate seal) regular envelope with the left corner cut. So you can see a 1-inch right angle triangle of each document from this window. It is called a “Visa Packet”. You get back your original documents such as birth certificate, marriage certificates etc.

The actual method for getting your documents back may vary based on the U.S. Embassy/Consulate where you are interviewed.

Immigrant Visa and Validity

The immigrant visa looks just like any other non-immigrant visa but it explicitly states that it is an immigrant visa. In other words, an immigrant visa is affixed in your passport. Check your visa carefully. Check date of birth, parent’s name, case number and marital status carefully. If you find any error in the immigrant visa, you must return to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate that issued your visa and submit your passport and the visa packet along with a covering letter that mentions the kind of error on the visa. Be prepared to show the proof of why some information is wrong.

The envelopes are sealed and stamped, you are advised NOT to open them at any cost. You must hand-carry the sealed envelope (called visa packet), UNOPENED, to the U.S. and submit it to an immigration officer at the U.S. port of entry. If the sealed envelope (visa packet) is opened prior to arrival in the U.S., you will have to pay the fee again and a new sealed envelope will be provided to the applicant.

Immigrant visas are valid for 6 months from date of issuance. Applicants may immigrate to the U.S. or as soon as it is convenient for them, maximum within 6 months. A visa may not be transferred from one person to another, or used by any person other than the one to whom issued.

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