An American with a Vietnamese spouse who wishes to immigrate to the United States will need to prepare before going to the consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. While the basic interview proceedings are similar to those in other embassies and consulates around the world, there are some issues that may be encountered there that are more unique and variable than in other locations.
Preparation is the key to success in securing a visa for your spouse. Here are a few tips that may help to avoid difficulties and return trips to the consulate.
Since your spouse must attend the interview alone, are you required to travel to the consulate?
While the American spouse is not legally required to go to the consulate with their spouse, their absence will likely result in a blue slip being given to the Vietnamese spouse. The blue slip denotes that further inquiry is necessary before an immigrant visa can be granted.
Unfortunately, because Vietnam has many desperately poor people and others who are looking for a way out of the country for various reasons, marriage fraud for immigration purposes is rampant there.
If the American spouse fails to appear with their spouse at this most important time in their lives, it gives the appearance of an arranged or forced marriage, and of immigration fraud.
The American spouse must make any sacrifice necessary to attend the consulate on the day of the interview. Failure to attend may not only result in a blue slip and delay until the spouse finally goes to the consulate in person. It could also result in an outright denial, especially if the couple doesn't have a long history together and scant evidence of the validity of their relationship.
Evidence of the relationship
In a consulate that has had an inordinate amount of marriage fraud, You can't have too much evidence of the validity of your marriage. Although you submitted evidence when you first submitted the initial I-130 application, you should bring additional evidence to the consulate for the interview, including:
Wedding party pictures
The wedding party is a very important event in Vietnam. Failure to have a wedding party because of time and logistics may appear as a sign of a fake marriage. You can have a simple wedding party at a local restaurant. Bring pictures of the wedding party to the interview.
Recent pictures together
The immigration process for a marriage visa may take well over a year, so you should bring some more recent pictures of you and your spouse together. This will help to prove the validity of the marriage.
What else should you bring to the consulate?
Important documents can be lost in transit through visa processing. It's a good idea to bring certified copies of the following documents.
Original I-130 petition for visa
I-864 Affidavit of Support (with current financial evidence such as pay stubs or most recent tax form).
The Vietnamese spouse will be asked personal questions about the American spouse and their family, such as the American spouse's parents names and where they reside. They may also be asked such questions as where and when they met, their spouse's favorite foods, and other questions designed to prove (or disprove) the validity of the marriage.
The couple should prepare in advance for such personal information to be requested. Again, nothing will prove the validity of the marriage as much as the presence of the American spouse at the consulate. If they fail to attend then, they will be forced to attend at a later date, with a very disappointed spouse.
For more information, contact an immigration attorney, like one from Tesoroni & Leroy.