|Consulate Review: France
Review Topic: IR-1/CR-1 Visa
|Review Date :
||March 28, 2012
|Embassy Review :
||My CR1 visa interview was on March 27 at 1PM (Paris embassy schedules immigrant visa interviews Tuesday through Thursday, always at 1), and my USC husband came back from the US to be with me.
Summary: overall, it was fast and easy. People were quite nice, especially the security guards. I didn't use any of the extra evidence of bona fide that I brought. The questions asked during the actual interview were not difficult, but some where definitely meant to make me trip. By 2PM, we were out and approved!
We arrived in front of 4, avenue Gabriel around 12:20, and the guard told us to come back 15-20 min later. Luckily, there's a park across the street where we could sit on a bench to wait.
We came back at 12:35, the first guards checked my interview letter and both our passports, then we went through the security check where they looked at the appointment letter and passports again, and screened our bag in the xray machine.
After that, we entered the building, and took a ticket. We were the very first ones, so our number was A100! The place is a large hall with computers, vending machines (food, beverage, Chronopost enveloppes that are too small for immigrant visa cases, photocopy machine, photo booths and a machine giving change from banknotes) on the lower floor, and the waiting room with windows all around it on the upper floor. The place was completely empty. There's no clock in there and we didn't have a watch, so I can't say how long we waited between each step. Later more people came in, and I could see from the numbers being called that there were 4 immigrant/fiancé visa cases dealt with that afternoon.
First our number was called at window 5, where a French-speaking woman asked for my passport, ticket and appointment letter. She checked her computer and said that the fees were already paid, so I could take a seat again and wait for the next step. Then, she called the other 3 IV cases for the same things.
Maybe 20 min later, we were called again by the same person at 5, and this time she had my file in front of her.
First of all, she gave me a whole bunch of papers back saying she didn't need them. It was all the evidence of bona fide marriage we had originally sent with the I130 petition, EXCEPT that she kept the photos of us.
She asked for all my documents one by one: passport again, new Copies Intégrales d'Acte de Naissance et Mariage et Extrait de Casier Judiciaire (all these docs must be LESS THAN 3 MONTHS OLD), Chronopost enveloppe 2 kg (you have to remove the padding inside or it won't go through the narrow opening at the bottom of the window), US passport sized pictures (which she didn't take after realizing they were identical to the ones I sent to NVC, and she even gave me back one from the NVC).
Then she asked for my husband's financial evidence. I was a little surprised, because it was all sent to the NVC, but I had brought everything with me. She took the 2011 tax return, new employment letter, and latest pay stub. She asked for a copy of the biographic page of my husband's passport. I'm happy he was there and could just give her his passport, cause we didn't have a photocopy!
Then I gave her my police record from Turkey, and that's how I realized she hadn't read my file, because she didn't know I had lived there several years. She took it, read it quickly and highlighted my name and the sentence saying I don't have a criminal record there.
I also wanted to give her a new DS230 and I-864 with my husband's new address on them. There was some confusion, she didn't understand, and then she was mixing up the old forms and the new forms and I had to check that she was taking the correct, newest address. I think I'll still ask for confirmation at POE to be sure!
Then came fingerprint time, which didn't work well, and she started making strange jokes. She was saying my fingerprints were "dark" and it was probably because anxiety made me sweat, hahaha. Very funny. I had to wash my hands, clean the machine screen, but it was still not working fine, some of my fingers were not recognized. Eventually she gave up, saying it was ok.
She looked at my DS230 part II, asked me if I had never been arrested, even for a DUI when I was young? I felt like saying I was still young but just answered no. She made some comments about people being refused visas for old DUIs and "joked" about denying my visa if my name came up on a criminal database.
Finally, she asked me what name I wanted my green card in: maiden or married name? Then told us to sit back down and we would be called shortly by the CO at window 11.
This step was the longest, maybe 15 min.
Eventually, we were called for the actual interview. The consular officer was a really young American woman. She had my file in front of her. She told my husband he could stay at the window with me but should not answer any question directed to me. That's the only time she talked to him. She made me raise my hand and take the oath.
I was well prepared but it was still an awkward moment: she was throwing questions pretty fast, not letting me finish my answer to the previous one, and sometimes I really didn't know what her point was. It felt like she had just reviewed the Book of Questions and was throwing a few around. The other cause of discomfort was to be standing in front of the window, yelling so she would hear me through the thick glass, so everyone else in the waiting room could hear every single thing I said. (now everybody knows Alice... see below).
First she asked me what job my husband does. I answered he's a scientist and he does research in immunolgy. She said "what's irunology??". I corrected her and explained it's the study of the immune system. Then she threw me off by asking how much my husband makes... I didn't know that precisely!
I tried to remember what he had told me, and there was a really awkward moment when I gave her an answer: in France we always discuss salary as monthly net wage, and I think it wasn't what she expected! My husband told me later I was off by $200.
Then she asked, how we met, where, how long we had been married, then said "tell me about your wedding"... Humm, what part? I said we got married at the cityhall in my hometown and we invited our close family... she interrupted asking if my husband's family came. I said yes, his mother, his brother, and his brother's girlfriend came... interrupted me again asking the girlfriend name: Alice. She then asked how Alice was. Huh?? She added "what do you think of her?". I said she's nice I guess but I didn't know her that well, although I met her first in the US when we visited last... interruption again, "what's the longest time you stayed in the US?"
She started going through my file, drinking from her cup of coffee... until she found our pictures (sent with the I130 months ago). She picked one and said "is that your wedding?" yes, "who's that man with the photo camera?" it's my dad.
She typed on her keyboard for a moment (I tried to "read her fingers" but she was too fast ) and then asked again "did your husband's family come to the wedding?" I answered that his dad was deceased but his mother, brother, and, well, Alice came. I'm pretty sure she had just read in our file that Colin's dad passed away (you mention that in the G325A I think) and that's why she asked the same question again. I felt sorry for my husband that she used it as a tricky question...
I think that's all. She told us that I would receive my visa in 7 to 10 days. I asked "Does that mean we're approved?" and she said "yes", smiling.
We left the building, still excited, and it was only 2PM!
The next day after 6PM the Chronopost tracking tool told me the enveloppe was shipped, and I received the package (passport with visa + brown enveloppe) the next morning, less than 48 hours after the interview.
(updated on March 30, 2012)
(updated on March 30, 2012)