|Consulate Review: Cambodia
Review Topic: K1 Visa
|Review Date :
||October 9, 2014
|Embassy Review :
||We got to the Embassy extremely early, around 6am, as I (the petitioner) was determined that we were first in line. We lined up on the left side of the main doors, next to the Information window. People began lining up around 7am and we were allowed into the Embassy at 7:20.
After going through security, where they let me keep my purse, but took my backpack, we entered the main building where we sat in front of clear, glass windows marked 1-10.
At 7:30, we rushed Window #1 to get a number to queue for our processing and interviews. I thought for sure it would really matter which number we got, but they appeared to have us grouped by which type of visa we were applying for, so it didn't end up mattering too much. There appeared to be three other fiance visa couples interviewing that day besides us.
First, they called Tee up to inspect his documents. I was so nervous, because our paperwork and supporting evidence ended up being at least three or four inches thick, and we'd taken off all the paperclips, because we read the Embassy officials don't like them, so Tee had to flip through everything as quickly as possible to find where each section ended and a new section began. My advice to applicants: Leave the paperclips/binder clips on, and as you pass the Embassy Officials your paperwork, pull the clips off. The Embassy officials really don't seem to like paperclips, so don't use too many, but don't use too few that you are stressed out trying to find things as they are asking you questions.
First they asked Tee for his fee payment (One girl was sent home because she forgot to pay her fee. Remember to do this!) Then they examined his passport photos. It was lucky we had his old pictures in reserve, because they declared his new ones were too wide. Make sure these are the correct length and width.
Finally, they asked him for the evidence of our relationship. We had to pass everything in through a slot in the glass window behind which the Embassy official was sitting. Tee says that for other people they asked for other documents, like tax forms and financial records, in addition to these other things. Our Advice: Bring everything to the interview Even things you already submitted with the initial K-1 I129F application. Lots of people brought in numerous photo albums, but the interviewers didn't spend too much time with these. We mainly observed them looking through our other related documents, like our passport pages, plane ticket stubs, engagement pictures, and other evidence of my trips to Cambodia. Tee also handed them my American passport, so they would know I was there with him for the interview.
After they sorted through all our things, they had Tee sit down until he was called back to Window #10 to be fingerprinted.
After that, the looong wait began. Two other applicants were called up before us. The first was a young woman in her twenties. She looked so professional and seemed to have a lot of supporting documents. She stood at the window and talked with the Embassy official for easily 45 minutes. Tee couldn't hear what they were saying, (they spoke Khmer) but it seemed they were arguing. Tee says the interviewer wasn't clear about the evidence of their relationship. He says they weren't sure about her fiance's divorce statement. Even after standing there for 45 minutes, she eventually was denied.
The second applicant they called up was a young woman in her early twenties. She seemed super nervous. She was also interviewed in Khmer. Her interviewer was a white guy who spoke really good Khmer, but told her his final decision in English, with the help of a translator. This young woman also was denied because the interviewer said he didn't feel confident about the nature of her relationship with her fiance. He said he wasn't confident she would enter the U.S., marry her fiance, and spend her life with him (at least, I think that is what I heard). He seemed really polite and kind to her, but his decision was firm.
After she left, Tee and I were clasping each other's hands, and praying when we saw our number come up on the board. We'd been waiting for around three hours at this point, and were both pretty exhausted from all the adrenaline. Turns out we had the same interviewer as the last young woman to get denied. He was flipping through our paperwork before our number was called, and we got to watching him smile as he looked through our dorky engagement photos. Then, our number was called and we approached the window. I immediately asked the interviewer if I could stand there with Tee while he answered questions. The interviewer nodded, and I remained quiet as his questions began.
The interviewer spoke to Tee in English and asked pretty simple questions. I'll write down the ones we remember:
How did you meet your fiancee?
What did you study at the Seminary where you met?
What did she study?
What was she studying in the States?
Has your fiancee already graduated from her program in the States?
Where do your fiancee's parents live?
Where do your parents live?
What part of Cambodia are you from?
Where are you currently working?
Where does your fiancee live in the States?
Is she currently going to school in the States?
Does she live alone?
When do you intend to get married?
Why did you pick that wedding date?
Do you know how cold it gets in Chicago? ( )
Do you speak Khmer?
What are you studying in the States?
He was really kind, and asked all his questions very casually, as he appeared to be looking something up on the computer. He even told us he'd visited my fiance's home province and joked about how Tee was moving to one of the colder places in the U.S. to live with me. Eventually, he handed me back my passport and all our supporting documents. Then he filled out a little blue slip. Passing us the slip he said we could pick up our visa next Friday!!!
The Embassy officials were all very kind to us, and I have absolutely nothing negative to report about them. They were very professional, timely, and seem to really care about their jobs.
Our advice to future applicants: if your USC fiance(e) can, attend the interview with your beneficiary. It seemed to add weight to our interview to have us both together as a couple before the interviewer. Both of the young ladies before us who got denied were alone, and I know Tee and I were both grateful to be there and to be able to support one another in this nerve-wracking experience.
Second piece of advice: Definitely dress up. Lots of applicants were wearing jeans or flip flops. Try to dress like you're going to a job interview, in Western best. Tee wore a suit jacket and a tie, I wore a sundress. It's one of the most important interviews of your life, so try to dress to succeed.
The Embassy was also really wonderful about answering all our emailed questions in the time prior to this, and is even letting us collect our visa early so we can avoid the expiry of our medical exam. Warmest blessings and best wishes to you all!!