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Ask the Consul

Does the petitioner have to be present at the Immigrant Visa Interview?

January 31, 2011

Although it is not required, the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy highly recommends that the petitioner appear with the beneficiary for the immigrant visa interview. In order for a consular officer to approve an immigrant visa, he or she must be able to verify the legitimacy of the relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary. The quickest and most effective way for the consular officer to do that is to have both parties at the interview to answer questions. Petitioner presence helps provide additional information and clarity regarding the relationship. Petitioner presence is helpful in all cases, but it is especially important in marriage and fiancé cases.  It is also helpful for the biological parent and stepparent petitioner to appear together for stepchildren cases (where the biological parent did not receive a spousal visa at the Embassy).

We understand that it can be costly and time consuming for the petitioner to attend the immigrant visa interview, but it can be very beneficial for your case. It is usually sufficient for the petitioner to appear only at the initial interview. If there are any subsequent interviews,  we normally only require the principal beneficiary to be present. If the petitioner cannot attend the interview in a marriage or fiancé case, the consular officer will attempt to make an eligibility determination based on the information and relationship evidence provided by the beneficiary. If the consular officer is unable to determine the validity of the relationship, the case may be delayed significantly and in some cases returned to the Department of Homeland Security. The presence of the petitioner at the interview is simply the fastest and most effective way to resolve any questions in the case.