Immigrant Visa Interview and Afterwards

Immigrant Visa Interview and Post-Interview Processing

Your immigrant visa interview is the last step in the visa application process. Generally, the term “interview” is a bit of a misnomer; your appointment at the embassy is more like a visit to the Post Office or Argos with teller windows. Upon arrival, you are issued a number. The waiting room has several screens which post which numbers are being served and at which window. You will be called up twice.

At the first window (typically staffed by a local hire), you will hand over your documents and have your finger prints taken. For locally filed applications, the officer will issue an invoice and instruct you to pay by card at the cashier (this does not apply to cases processed through the NVC). Wait.

When the screen instructs your number to proceed to the next window, this is when you will speak with the Consular Officer. He or she will have (hopefully) familiarized (him/herself) with your DS-260 application and reviewed the documents. The purpose of the “interview” is confirm identity, eligibility for the visa category sought, and check for any applicable inadmissibilities (e.g. criminal convictions, history of US immigration violations, public health issues). For applications based on marriage to a US citizen, questions are typically along the lines of: “How did you meet?” And “What do you plan to do in the United States?” For applications based on employment, questions are typically along the lines of “What do you do?” And “What do you plan to do in the United States?”

At the conclusion of the interview, assuming all went well, you should be advised that the visa application has been approved and to expect receipt of the visa within a fortnight. The consular officer will retain your passport for visa issuance, but should return all original documents to you.

You passport will be delivered to you in accordance with embassy policy (e.g. in London, via DX courier either to the DX hub of your choice or, upon payment of an additional fee, to the address of your choice. The visa is pasted into the passport.

In addition to the passport with the visa, your packet should also contain a sealed envelope with the instructions “DO NOT OPEN.” Don’t open it. This is your medical information and must be presented to the CBP inspector when you enter the US on your immigrant visa.

Your packet should also contain instructions on paying the Immigrant Fee, which is used to produce the actual green card. This requires registering on the USCIS My Account page and paying the appropriate fee. You can find additional information about the immigrant fee here:

Your immigrant visa indicates that, upon endorsement, it is valid for one year as proof of lawful permanent resident status. This means that you can travel and return to the US on your immigrant visa for a year. It also means you can use your endorsed immigrant visa as proof of your lawful status in the US for purposes of employment, banking, etc.

You should receive your green card within 90 days of entering the US (or within 90 days of paying the immigrant fee, if you did not pay before you entered).