Family Visa Interview in Florida: What to Expect

successful meeting ready to sign contractThe family immigration visa program permits U.S. citizens or U.S. lawful permanent residents to sponsor non-citizen family members for a visa that will allow them to enter the United States. If successfully completed, the application will allow the non-citizen family members the opportunity to file for and receive permanent resident alien status, otherwise known as a green card.

During the application process, there are two stages at which a non-citizen applicant may expect to undergo an interview. The first stage is a family visa interview held at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The second interview is a green card interview held by the Citizenship and Immigrant Services Bureau.

While these interviews may seem intimidating, they are designed to ensure that the applicant has a family relationship with the U.S. citizen. In preparing for a visa interview, the applicant may wish to consult with experienced immigration attorneys in Tampa, FL, to understand what questions are likely to be asked and the requirements for the visa.

What To Expect During the Interview

The family visa interview takes place in the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the applicant wishes to apply for a family visa to enter the U.S. Usually, this is the embassy or consulate in the applicant’s own country, but this is not always the case.

To obtain a family immigrant visa, the applicant must complete the necessary forms and pay the required fee. The U.S. Embassy website for each different country contains the requirements for that particular nation regarding fee payment. The website also contains the details for setting up an interview appointment.

Applicants must appear personally for the interview at the embassy or consulate. They must have the completed form and interview appointment letter.

Anyone applying on the same form, such as minor children or spouses, must attend the interview in person as well. Each person listed on the application must bring two identical color passport photographs, a DS-260 Confirmation Page form, and any other supporting information or documents that were requested in the interview appointment letter or on the website.

Each applicant must also bring a passport valid for six months beyond the date the applicant expects to enter the United States. Each applicant can expect to be fingerprinted with an inkless digital fingerprinting process.

At the interview, the consular officer will ask a series of questions to determine the eligibility of the applicant to enter the United States on a family immigration visa.

Aside from asking family-based visa interview questions about the relationship to the resident or citizen already in the United States, a consular officer might ask questions like:

  • Why are you traveling to the United States?
  • How are you paying for the trip?
  • Have you been to the United States before?
  • Where will you stay?
  • How will you support yourself during the trip?

Be sure to answer all questions accurately and honestly. Being dishonest with the consular officer at the interview is grounds for denial of the visa.

Consular officers are very busy during visa appointment interview days and have other duties as well. It is very important to arrive early for the interview and to allow time for security screening.

If you are late, the consular officer will simply move on to other business, and you will lose your spot in line. Arriving 45 minutes to an hour early to check in is a reasonable time allowance. The interview is a formal process, so dress formally, as for any other business appointment.

The Espinoza Law Offices are a firm of immigration attorneys in Tampa, FL. If you require the assistance of an immigration lawyer near Tampa Bay for any aspect of immigration law, consider contacting the Espinoza Law Offices today for an appointment. We handle all aspects of immigration law and can help guide you or your family members through the application process.