Matt had his interview today.
Actually, we had a mini-crisis on Friday, as I saw his passport had just UNDER 6 months left. I begged the passport office to give an emergency appointment, which they did yesterday at 8am.
The interview was uneventful. We had an 8am appt, so to get to central London by 7.30, we stayed with friends in South London as we couldn't get an early enough train from our home in Hastings. After going through the airport security- and by the way, they were fine with taking mobile phones, which we left in the car.
Once inside, we were staring at the giant cinema screen with numbers dinging up as everyone else described. A momentary panic set in when the advisory screen said to bring your DS260 confirmation. As it turned out, this wasn't needed. Matt was seen in about 20 minutes. There were no issues with the documents, which was a relief.
Matt sat down again while they passed his info to the interviewer. Another 15 minutes and he was called up. Contrary to my anxieties, they were just fine with us having our house listed for sale and owning another property in the USA. They didn't care that I didn't have a job yet. However, as a point of note, I put down (correctly) zero on my income and on each year's tax return as my UK earnings don't count for US tax or the form.
The only surprise was that they said that my dad's income of nearly $100K a year was not suitable as a joint sponsor alone. Then they saw the house valuation and equity we have in the UK property we are selling and were happy with this, noting that it is well in excess. They were much happier with the asset based application than the joint sponsor. (I thought it would be the other way around.)
No funny questions about Matt's history, just how we met, and a question of 'what the heck were you doing between when you met and got a civil partnership in 2007?' I think this was meant as a joke, but Matt was too stressed to respond wittily.
It was only about 15 minutes, most of which was just going through the forms. She ended the interview by keeping Matt's passport and saying that she is going to 'recommend the visa.' We then walked around the building to the DX counter and paid $14, and should have it back in 5-10 days.
Matt said what was really helpful was having the cover letters explaining the finances and residency- especially the calculation of assets, which he was able to explain clearly to the interviewer. This was the text that was successful:
I-864 Income and Assets:
As I will be leaving my employment upon returning to the USA, my i-864 is solely based on assets.
The primary asset is the house in the UK that is jointly owned with the applicant, which is listed with an estate agent pending approval of Matthew’s visa.
(house listing and Realtor agreement)
We have had our UK house valued at £210,000. ($343,116)
The latest mortgage statement indicates, including early repayment fees, the total owed on our mortgage is £113,064. ($184,734 @$1.63 exchange). The amount owed will decrease slightly each month.
Based on the above sums, our assets are $158,382, which is well in excess of the 3x 125% of the poverty line for a family of two necessary to establish support. Even in the event that the house does not sell for the full assessed value, our assets will remain significantly in excess of the minimum requirement.
Thanks everyone for your advice- hopefully this will be helpful to you all as well- Best of luck everybody!