Mabuhay and hafa adai. When a person applies for an immigrant visa to the United States, they must be interviewed by a consular officer at the United States Embassy. Most interviewees are both excited and nervous.
Nevertheless, it is important that the individual not only remains calm, but also remembers the representations made by the individual during the interview. It is also important that the person remembers what the consular officer advises him.
What is said during the interview is documented and can be brought up in future interviews for future immigration benefits.
During the interview, the individual is often asked about their marital status, whether they are single or divorced. The lack of candor on his marital status not only constitutes fraud and misrepresentation, but will also have an impact on the ability of this person to file a petition on behalf of this spouse.
Additionally, discovery of the fraud and misrepresentation will compromise the individual’s immigration status. Certain categories of visas are reserved for unmarried persons.
Linked to his marital status, the individual will also be asked about the number of children he has. Surprisingly, some people actually omit the number of children they have.
Again, this constitutes fraud and misrepresentation. If one does not reveal the truth about his children, it would be difficult for that person to file a petition on behalf of the child who was not previously mentioned.
Prior to the interview, the person must undergo a medical examination with a designated physician. Sometimes the person is asked about their past and present drug use. Because the individual must tell the truth, past drug use is often revealed.
Drug use can disqualify a person, especially if the person is determined to have an addiction. However, if the doctor determines that the drug use was in the past and the person is not addicted, a visa can still be issued.
Even if the individual is not deemed inadmissible for prior use, it is important to note that the admission of drug use will remain on the individual’s immigration file. This admission of drug use may lead to further consideration of that person when applying for other immigration benefits, such as naturalization.
During the interview, one is often asked about one’s professional background. An individual’s work and educational history is important as it will help the consular officer determine the individual’s ability to be financially self-sufficient.
A finding that an individual will likely be a public charge may deem the individual inadmissible.
If the interviewee is a male between the ages of 18 and 26, the immigration officer can discuss the need for the individual to apply for Selective Service. If the individual does not apply for Selective Service, it would be difficult for that individual to deny that he was unaware of the Selective Service requirement.
This question usually arises during the individual’s naturalization interview.
As noted above, representations made by and to a person during an immigrant visa interview are noted in the immigration file. It is important not only to be truthful, but to remember the representations made. Their representations may affect future applications for immigration benefits.
If you have any concerns about your past interviews and their impact on your future immigration benefits, consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can help.
Catherine Bejerana Camacho is a Filipino-American lawyer raised in Guam and licensed to practice in Guam and California. She specializes in labor and family immigration law, corporate law and family law.