The USCIS has approved your K-1/CR-1 petition(s) and that’s always good news! Your approved petition has been forwarded to the National Visa Center for further processing. The NVC has collected the additional fees along with your fiance’s or spouse’s visa application and finally your petition has been forwarded to the U.S. consulate or embassy for the visa interview.
Oh, the “dreaded” interview! As a fiancé spouse visa lawyer AND a past U.S. citizen K-1 petitioner, I believe that the word “dreaded” is appropriate. Why?
With the other aspects of the K-1/CR-1 process you are dealing with the law, solely. The law is objective. In theory, there should be no room for opinions or biases when it comes to the initial steps in the K-1/CR-1 process and the adjudicating of your petition.
If you and your fiancé or spouse believe that you [legally] qualify for the K-1/CR-1 visa(s), you should then consult with a knowledgeable fiancé spouse visa immigration lawyer. Your fiancé spouse visa lawyer will identify and neutralize red-flag issues, legal strategies will be discussed; a well crafted petition that speaks to your story will be submitted to the government with the necessary supporting documents and fees.
The USCIS and NVC officers must follow the letter of the law and process and approve your petition. If for some reason (and the reasons can be many), USCIS or the NVC fail to correctly apply immigration law to your petition—well that’s why fiancé spouse visa immigration lawyers exist!
Contrast the above to the interview part of the petition. Though the 15 to 30 minute interview, too, is guided by immigration law and specifically the Foreign Affairs Manual, the consular officer’s role is not that of an adjudicator. (The USCIS and NVC have already adjudicated your petition.)
Bear in mind that the consular officer’s role is that of a “diplomatic cop.” As a diplomatic cop, the officer’s duty is to the United States—and that duty is to protect the Homeland by barring entry to foreigners that may pose a threat to the United States. The officer’s second duty is to detect and prevent foreigners from attempted immigration fraud. Two very important and necessary duties. To that end, consular officers are [legally] allowed subjective liberty when it comes to interviewing your fiancé or spouse. An officer’s “hunch” is encouraged and officers are allowed “to go” where the interview takes them.
In an effort to normalize the interview process, your fiancé or spouse should prepare for the interview in terms of dress and demeanor. This does not mean that your fiancé or spouse must conform to an American business dress model. It’s acceptable to wear the business dress of your fiance’s or spouse’s native country. Of course a professional attitude should also be on full display. Common courtesy, an exchange of pleasantries and honesty when answering questions are a must. Being honest is key— it’s the law AND the well-trained officer can detect when someone is not being honest— leading to a line of questions to expose the lie(s).
In this final step, the officer is making a determination as to your fiancé or spouse’s personal eligibility for a visa to the U.S. (a review of his or her medical, immigration and criminal histories).
If personal eligibility is met, the officer’s focus now becomes determining the sincerity of your relationship with your fiancé or spouse. The officer will seek to determine if your fiancé or spouse is aware of your family, educational and employment backgrounds. You can only imagine the myriad of questions that an officer can ask to get a sense of the sincerity of your relationship.
But keep in mind, your fiancé or spouse is not expected to know the correct answer to every question. The officer is aware of the weight of the interview and that lives are hanging in the balance. The officer will allow for anxiety and forgetfulness on the part of your fiancé or spouse. However, if your fiancé or spouse offers up a completely different answer to the “so where did you two lovebirds meet?” You might have a problem!
Important note: Under the Trump administration, these 15 to 30 minute visa interviews might turn into hour long interviews where ideological questions may also be asked of your fiancé or spouse. Questions like: “Do you believe in honor killings.” “How do you view the treatment of women in society,” “Do you value the sanctity of human life?” and “Who is the legitimate target in a military operation.”
Though this line of questioning has not been implemented at the time of the writing of this article, this “extreme vetting” may appear soon at U.S. consulates and embassies.
If you have questions about any aspects of the K-1 or CR-1 visa process or you wish to discuss your particular story, please send me an email. Go to www.fiancespousevisalawyer.com for all contact information.