Why the Interview at the Consulate or Embassy Should Make You Weary

If you’re a US citizen with a spouse or a fiancé who will have their visa interview at a US consulate or embassy, it’s important that neither you nor your spouse/fiancé take the interview lightly.

Treating the interview with less respect than it deserves leads to denials of K-1 visa and permanent resident visa applications. Treating the interview as if it will be a breezy affair leads to bewildered and angry couples, couples who wonder why the government is forcing them to live apart for months or years longer.

J.M.W. Turner’s Shipwreck (1805)

Here, in this blog post, we’ll look at the underlying relationships that leads to the application denials–and we’ll even list a few things that can help your loved one avoid an application denial.

First, let’s make one thing clear about consular officers: consular officers are not your friends. The immigration system is adversarial. Consular officers are like police officers, the ones who knock at your door after they’ve received a call about suspicious activity “in the area.”

Some consular officers will hold prejudice, some will be uninformed, some will be unfair, some will be mean. Of course, some consular officers will be kind, well-informed, and more than fair. But, the fact  remains, the consular officer’s job is not to help you.  

So, you should–with all aspects of consular processing–hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

But, wait a damn minute, you sound so negative, you may be thinking.

Negative or not, the hope-for-the-best-but-prepare-for-the-worst mindset is … effective. Effective, if your goal is to avoid the hope-squelching denials that consular officers dole out more than visa applicants think they do.

When you hope for the best but plan for the worst, your loved one prepares their application in a way that if a consular officer denies the application for unfounded reasons, the officer cannot point to any aspect of the application or anything your loved one said in the interview as an legitimate, alternative justification for the denial.

What does approaching the consular processing journey from a defensive process look like? Well, let’s look at the interview. It means your loved one prepares for the most difficult questions they might receive (and your loved one has a lawyer tell him or her what she thinks those questions will be). It means your loved one making sure they are early for the interview. It means your loved one does not fail to show interest in the interview–thet do not appear nonchalant. It means over-preparing, so your loved one can limit how nervous they will be. It means your loved one making and keeping eye contact with the consular officer. It means your loved one not giving general or evasive answers. It means … it means many, many more things.

Of course, you can take the interview lightly, and maybe you’ll skate through it. But, allow us paraphrase the comedian Chris Rock: yeah, you can do consular processing without preparing for the worst, but it don’t mean it’s to be done. You can drive a car with your feet if you want to, it don’t mean it’s a good (expletive) idea!

And it’s not a good idea. A visa denial is a serious matter that will be part of your spouse’s or fiancé’s immigration history forever.