The Internet is full of horror stories designed to frighten people already navigating a challenging time in their lives. Applying for a family-based visa can be a daunting experience because the United States is essentially asking you to prove that your relationship is real.
Whether you are seeking a fiancé visa or marriage visa, the process is full of difficult steps including an extensive application, submission of documents and a biometric interview. Most of the stress, however, comes from the impending interview where the government attempts to assess the authenticity of your relationship. There are a few things to keep in mind as you go through this process.
You’ve no doubt heard stories about the interview. You must answer every question exactly the same as your partner. You will be grilled, interrogation-style, in a room separate from your partner. If your answers don’t match up exactly, you will face criminal charges.
While fraud is a serious matter that will be aggressively pursued by the government, the interviewer is not actively trying to trick you. If you have truly spent time with your partner, the interview itself shouldn’t be too daunting.
Depending on your location and the resources that are available, the interview will typically follow one of two formats: either you and your spouse will be interviewed separately and your responses will be compared later, or you will be interviewed together at the same time. No matter what format your particular interview takes, it is important to remember three things:
- Remain calm. The questions might seem repetitive and even slightly invasive, but it is important that you remain calm. Don’t get angry or frustrated. Answer the questions honestly, remain polite and get through the interview.
- Answer honestly. As mentioned above, answer your questions honestly and accurately. Don’t try to imagine what your partner is going to say, just answer to the best of your knowledge. Also, if you don’t know the answer, it’s simply better to admit that you don’t know this fact about your partner – don’t guess.
- Bring supporting documents. It’s not a bad idea to put together a file with pictures of you and your spouse visiting landmarks or over different holidays. Additionally, holding on to receipts such as movies, dinners and vacations might be helpful.
The interviewer is not your enemy, but it is a good idea to be mentally prepared for a challenging time. Even if you and your spouse are interviewed in the same room in a polite, conversational setting, the interviewer’s goal is to assess your relationship. By asking about how you met, where your first date was, interesting tidbits about social media or asking the husband what the wife’s email address is the interviewer will gain an understanding of the depth of the relationship.
Prepare. Remain calm. Answer truthfully.