One of the most nerve-wracking aspects of the fiancé visa application process is the interview at the U.S. consulate in your home country. This interview is usually the last hurdle to receiving a K-1 visa to enter the United States for the purpose of marrying your intended U.S. citizen spouse. You'll most likely be appearing alone, without your U.S. spouse-to-be. However, the questions should be easy to answer if you know your fiancé well and are prepared ahead of your interview date.
(If you are a U.S. citizen looking to bring your foreign fiancé to the U.S., please see Nolo's K-1 Fiance Visa page for information about the application process.)
As we'll discuss below, the most important ways to prepare in advance for your visit to the U.S. consulate include:
We'll discuss both of those here.
First, a bit of background. At your interview, the consular office's job is to learn more about your background and moral character, ascertain whether you know relevant details about your U.S. citizen fiancé(e), and determine whether or not your relationship with your future spouse is bona fide (genuine) and that you are marrying in good faith, not as a fraud to get you a green card.
It might take place in a separate room (space permitting) or at a window in a larger room in the consulate where you will speak with the consular officer (through a translator, if necessary). On average, the entire K-1 visa interview takes about 15 to 30 minutes.
Along with any documents that the U.S. consulate (or National Visa Center) has requested, you should assemble a copy of your entire K-1 application package—that is, all the paperwork that your U.S. citizen spouse submitted on your behalf—including a copy of the USCIS Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) that the U.S. spouse prepared, and all supporting documentation.
Expect the U.S. consular officer to ask a few basic questions about you and your fiancé(e)'s background and five to ten additional questions about your fiancé(e) and your relationship. For starters, the consular officer might ask you:
Answer all of these truthfully. However, if you know ahead of time that any might present a problem for you, definitely consult an attorney before proceeding with the application. And this is just the beginning of the possible questions, as we'll discuss next.
The U.S. consular officer also wants to know that you are truly interested in your intended spouse as a husband or wife and that you are aware of the relevant details of their life. Some examples are:
You will likely be asked about your wedding plans and how you met, fell in love, and why you decided to get married. Be prepared for the following types of questions:
The questions consular officers ask about couples' relationships vary from case to case. If your case has anything unusual about it, or contains "red flags" that might lead the U.S. consular officer to question your motives for marrying or basic eligibility for a U.S. visa (including whether you are inadmissible), be prepared to discuss those.
For instance, if there is a large age difference between you and your U.S. fiancé(e) or if your primary languages are different, you will likely be questioned on those details of your relationship. If your fiancé(e) sponsored another person for a green card or a K-1 visa in the past or if you have previously applied for a green card or K-1 visa based on a marriage or engagement to a U.S. citizen, expect to discuss those previous relationships. (And U.S. immigration authorities might do some independent investigating.)
If you or your U.S. fiancé(e) have children from previous relationships, expect to be asked about where they will live and how they will blend into your new family.
Most of all, try to relax and just be yourself. You are very close to your brand new life in the United States with your husband- or wife-to-be!
For more information on the fiancé visa application process, as well as how to apply for a green card after you reach the U.S. and get married, see the book Fiancé & Marriage Visas: A Couple's Guide to U.S. Immigration, by Ilona Bray (Nolo). And consult an experienced immigration attorney if you have questions about your K-1 visa case or would like assistance with the paperwork and other preparation.
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