Monday, 19 September 2011

Just say "yes"

So, according to my countdown, it's three weeks until I (may/hopefully/should) leave to be with my man again, and therefore three DAYS until my visa interview at the US Embassy in London. I am starting to get nervous. I'm not nervous because the interview itself sounds scary; on the contrary, the interview is not too tough from what I hear from other ex-pats who've gone through the K-1 process. I'm not nervous because we've got anything to worry about: we're in a genuine relationship, we have all our wedding plans already in place, and I am sure that our sincerity will be obvious from meeting me and from the evidence I bring (and have already sent, twice). I'm also not worried by the documents we've had to assemble for me to take along. They've been done for months and checked, re-checked, and then checked another 20 or so times. And I also know that the success rate of K-1 applications is extremely high: 95% go through first time, and half of those that don't are successfully appealed. I know that it is very unlikely that we will get turned down.

But we might. 

It's ridiculous, isn't it? That's what's scaring me. But seeing as that is the case, at least I've been scared into checking the documents yet again (I've already done that twice today alone), and that's what made me decide to write a quick photo blog about that bit of the interview preparation. So, here we go. We start with the folders:


In the blue folder are the documents required by the US Embassy on the day of the interview. These will be highlighted by red text and in bold below, to make a sort of colour-coded list (yay!).

The purple folder is full of (a small amount of the) documents pertaining to proving our relationship . There are letters, cards, emails, phone records, Skype chats, a wedding invite, booking forms for the wedding, text message logs, proof of meeting (boarding passes, hotel reservations, plane tickets etc.), photographs and screen shots (from FB and blogs) in there. The letter doesn't actually say that any of this is necessary but in the spirit of "what if...?" and "just in case" and "I will have ALL THE DOCUMENTS you might ever require", I'm taking 'em.


This (above) is the letter that gives you your appointment time and directs you to the forms website. When you receive your appointment letter, you are told to visit this website, and then to click the relevant link(s) for your visa application type to find out what documents you need to bring. My visa application is a K-1, so that takes me to this page. The documents needed are listed there, and are in the blue folder in pretty much the same order as on the website. I've also included the appointment letter (which just seems sensible) and the MRV receipt for my interview fee payment, without which you will be refused entry to the US Embassy.


The MRV receipt proves you have already paid for your interview, which now has to be done in advance, and so must be taken with you to the interview. It is sent as a .pdf file via email after you have made a payment of $350 over the telephone. The payment is made after the US citizen has received the I-797 (NOA2) and the beneficiary - non-US fiancé(e) - gets a letter to say they will be contacted again after the medical and next set of documents have been sent to the relevant US Embassy in their home country. It has to be made then, as the application won't proceed any further without it and you won't get an appointment. It is, of course, non-refundable, even in the event of rejection of your visa application.


You need three passport photographs that meet US Department of State specifications. In order to make sure I didn't get this wrong, I got mine done at my local Snappy Snaps. They're a bit pricier than your average passport photos, but I did get an extra set and a digital copy, too, which was mainly what pushed the total cost up.


You need your original, full birth certificate and one photocopy of your original, full birth certificate.


You need your passport and one photocopy of the photo page of your passport.


You need your original police certificate and one photocopy of your police certificate.


You need an original, signed I-134 form, completed by your US fiancé(e). This will be accompanied by supporting documentation, which must all be submitted in duplicate. The form and instructions can be found here. The supporting documentation can be things like:

bank statements (showing regular payments from employment etc.). 

tax returns (last three years);

details of fiancé(e)'s current/past employment;



 And that is it! So, a summary of the required documents for me would be:
  1. Appointment letter
  2. MRV receipt
  3. 3 x passport photographs fitting DoS specifications
  4. Birth certificate + one photocopy
  5. Passport + one photocopy
  6. Police certificate + one photocopy
  7. I-134 form and supporting evidence in duplicate

I've also included:
  1. Proof of relationship
  2. My own bank statements
  3. Affidavits of support from family
  4. Copies of my medical examination results and vaccination record (although they will have these)

You will also NEED:
  1. A method of payment (card) to pay for the courier service to return your passport and visa, if you get approved.

You MUST NOT bring:
  1. Anything electronic: all cameras, phones, iPods etc. have to be left at home. 



Done. As that makes it about the 25th time I've checked over the paperwork, I am hoping it's all exactly as it should be, and that Friday goes smoothly. Then we can move on to Stage 14. Eek!





Note about other application requirements
Obviously, every K-1 application is different. Depending on your specific case, you might also be required to bring:
  1. All the same identity documents for any children accompanying you to the US
  2. Adoption certificate
  3. Proof of why you use a name different to that on your birth certificate
  4. Marriage certificates
  5. Evidence of termination of prior marriages
  6. Military records
  7. Court and prison records
You may also need to have documents translated to English and/or apply to the US Embassy for a translator to accompany you for the interview. If you want your fiancé(e) to accompany you, you would also have to apply to the US Embassy so that they can grant permission for them to enter the building.

9 comments:

  1. Do you need to provide copies of your affidavit and supporting docs? Ours is the I-864 but different processes equals different requirements. Also, I pay the fee on the day. I'm feeling nervous and excited. Simply because, even though you can't think of a reason why they would say no, there is always the slight chance. That little 1% that stops you from celebrating too soon. Good luck, you certainly seem prepared so I'm sure you'll do fine xx

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  2. It says to bring that, yes, but as you're going for a spouse visa, you might have different requirements. I would call and check! It definitely says for the K-1 to bring copies of the I-134 and supporting documents and, if it's relevant (if I had a job arranged or a second sponsor other than Ben), the I-864 too.

    How come you pay the fee on the day? I didn't realise that was different for spouse visas. That's kinda nice, I guess, though I do hope they don't charge me AGAIN when I'm there!

    I'm the same: nervous, excited, want it over with. I want to know we can go ahead with everything. That slight chance of a "no" makes me so jumpy!

    Thanks for the luck - you too! Not long for you now. :) xx

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  3. It's funny because people doing the CR-1 or IR-1 and filed in the US actually pay before the interview. It's just those of use who filed in London that pay on the day. I'm gonna pay cash for the interview but as you know, the courier has to be card. Just not sure whether to pay the £36 to have it delivered between 6 and 8am.

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  4. Ah, I see! I didn't realise you could file direct from the UK, but I guess as you knew Adam was leaving, you could do it together before he left?

    £36, eh?! Blimey. I don't know what options there are to courier it back to me, but the sooner the better! xx

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  5. I am cautious by nature, but it is a good idea to take some copies of stuff to your interview. At my interview, they thought we hadn't sent a document. I knew we had and showed him a copy. He found the original document in the enormous pile which was my file eventually, but even so...

    Best of luck with your interview. Remember you can't take any electronic items and you have to leave any mobile phones, ipods etc. at the chemists around the corner or just not bring them. At least that was how it was for me! (Lots of people in the queue were caught out by that!)

    In my experience, the interview isn't hard, but they make you wait around forever and ever... :-)

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  6. Yes, exactly: I have a second folder filled with doubles of everything I need for the interview, plus every form and document we've ever sent throughout this whole process. Fingers crossed! Better to be over-prepared.

    Yeah, hence the "You MUST NOT bring:
    Anything electronic: all cameras, phones, iPods etc. have to be left at home." More a reminder to myself! But I am leaving my stuff with my lovely Dad, who is walking me to the Embassy in the morning, so no worries there. I have read your blog and several others detailing how easy it is to be caught out by that!

    Thanks for the reassurance. I am getting very nervous! But I think it's the event itself looming (and the consequences of a "yes", of course!), rather than what will happen during the actual day. When it's here, I think I'll calm down.

    Thanks again - so appreciate the comment! :)

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  7. Aha! Just found the link:

    http://www.thedx.co.uk/customerservice/dxgroupusembassy/visa-deliveries/

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  8. Goodness, after reading this again and recalling your preparedness and attention to detail, it's no wonder you were stressed out about receiving your 10 year green card. Especially when you consider the fact that it's a much more complicated process that you have much less control over! xx

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    Replies
    1. Exactly. It's a very long, drawn-out process (and quite rightly - I don't begrudge it at all), and with the element of human decision making, the weight of emotional distress, and my natural propensity to try to prepare for all possible outcomes to attempt to have some sort of control, this past year has been incredibly difficult. xx

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