How to Do Well at a U.S. Visa Interview: Advice from a Former Consular Officer . Part Two

Thứ Tư, 12 Tháng Hai 201400:00(Xem: 7447)
How to Do Well at a U.S. Visa Interview: Advice from a Former Consular Officer . Part Two

Consular Officers: Consular officers receive only basic training in immigration law, usually just a 31-day course at the beginning of their careers as Foreign Service Officers. They also receive training in how to interpret the applicants’ "micro-expressions," and how to follow their instincts in deciding a case. Consular officers are like the rest of us - they sometimes make mistakes. The problem for visa applicants is that these mistakes by Consuls are not easy to correct and may take a lot of time to correct.

To avoid making mistakes in questionable cases, consuls often prefer to deny. That way is safer for their career advancement.

Consular officers do not choose the post where they will serve. They may have arrived only recently in country and have had little time or training to learn about local culture, customs and practices. As a result, they often rely too much on the local Vietnamese employees who have been working at the Consulate for some years. Visa applicants must be very nice to these local staff because they can help or hurt you as they like.

Routine consular work, especially visa interviews, is the least desirable and least prestigious of all Foreign Service work. New consular officers look forward to becoming supervisors or managers. No officer wants to spend his career doing interviews and visa processing. To advance their careers, they must receive favorable performance evaluations. Often, when supervisors evaluate consular officers, the focus is not on the quality of the consul’s decisions. Instead, the supervisors pay attention to how fast the officers conduct interviews. Interviews are expected to end in the morning or at the latest in the early afternoon. Officers who can conduct a high number of quick interviews are "rewarded" by being assigned to other duties instead of visa interviews.

The Visa Decision: The consular officer will tell you at the end of the interview if your visa will be issued or refused. It may be a temporary refusal if more documents are needed, or the case may need "administrative processing" for background security screenings.

If the officer says that his decision to refuse your visa is final, do not cry, raise your voice, show anger or express negative emotions. Instead, politely ask the officer to explain in detail the reasons for the decision and ask if there is any other document, information or evidence that might cause the officer to reconsider. It is not helpful to try and persuade the officer to reverse the decision and issue the visa.

Whether or not the officer suggests other evidence, you should express thanks and leave the building promptly. Immediately, then, sit down and write down

in great detail every question asked, every answer given, all body language observed and any other information that may be helpful to understanding why your visa was refused. This information will be helpful in appealing the case with the Consulate or in dealing with CIS at a later date.

Under U.S. law, only a consular officer can issue a visa. No immigration lawyer or agency can insure that your visa will be issued. Hopefully, by following these suggestions, preparing well, and presenting a convincing and deserving case, your chance of receiving that visa will be improved.

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Q.1. If a denied case has been pending for more than 3 months, can the sponsor come to Vietnam to speak with an officer at the Consulate?
A.1. The sponsor must make a request for an appointment by going to the Consulate website. If the case is just waiting in line for final review and there is nothing special about the case, then the Consulate will probably not give an appointment to the sponsor.

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Q.2. How long does it usually take for a denied case to be reconsidered?
A.2. A denied tourist or business visa cannot be appealed. A new application and a new interview are needed in those cases. For immigrant cases, it depends on the workload at the Consulate. Six months is a normal waiting time until a denied case is reviewed.

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Q.3. Can an immigrant visa denial by the Consulate be appealed?
A.3. The applicant has one year after the interview to submit documents to overcome a denial. If the case is still denied, an appeal can be submitted to the Visa Office in Washington, but it may take more than a year to receive their decision. It would be better to file a new visa petition instead of waiting because the Visa Office rarely decides in favor of the applicant.
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ROBERT MULLINS INTERNATIONAL www.rmiodp.com
Immigration Support Services-Tham Van Di Tru

9070 Bolsa Avenue, Westminster CA 92683 (714) 890-9933 
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