|Consulate Review: Frankfurt, Germany
Review Topic: IR-1/CR-1 Visa
|Review Date :
||May 27, 2020
|Embassy Review :
||After my initial interview appointment (scheduled for early April) had been cancelled, my husband and I requested an emergency interview earlier this month. The consular section got back to us in a very timely manner, granting us an appointment for today. Due to it being an interview during a time in which routine visa services have been suspended, I will be going into a bit more detail on aspects I may have otherwise left out. I have interviewed at this consulate twice before - both times for J1 visas (once as a high school exchange student in 2007, once for an internship that was part of my university studies in 2017) - so I can make comparisons to "as usual" here and there.
My interview was scheduled for 9:15am; since they generally ask you to not arrive too early, I approached the consulate at around 8:55 (I'd parked my car (lots of street parking was available) shortly after eight, but decided to wait until 8:50 before I got out to not queue too early (yes, there were other people waiting to be let in despite limited services)).
Usually, you line up at one of two windows at the left of the entrance to security to get a number - these windows were closed. Instead, a lady at a window to the right of the security entrance checked passports and checked me off a list, then had me wait until the people currently in security had cleared the area, before buzzing me in. Both security guards were wearing masks, as was everyone working in the main building, just like everyone there to interview had to wear a mouth and nose covering. Security took no time at all, as I only had a folder with documents with me.
Upon entry in the main building, there usually is someone giving you instructions on what window to go to, at which they then take your documents, etc.
The last two times I was there, the officer doing this stood in the main hall - today, he was behind a window in the entrance area, telling me to "go to any active window", and that I'd be receiving further intstructions there. There were only three active windows, plus the cashier window; I approached the only one that wasn't busy, was told to go to a specific other one - which, however, was busy, and there were a number of people seated in the waiting area. As we had not been given numbers, I didn't want to cut the line and asked someone if we had to do a sort of pre-registration at that window upon arrival, without waiting to be called, but the lady I asked told me we'd be called up to the window and that they were all waiting for just that. Turns out they were calling people up by names instead of numbers - which works just as well, as long as everyone knows that's what's happening - other people who were arriving after me had the same issue of not knowing how things were being handled, but everyone also waiting was really nice when it came to answering that question.
At about 10:15/10:20 I was called to the first window. I was asked to hand over my passport, as well as one photo (not two, as stated online), followed by the originals of the documents we had previously submitted to NVC - only personal documents (my birth certificate, our marriage certificate, my police certificate), though, not the affidavit of support or my husbands tax papers, plus the delivery address registration. I was asked for those documents in the order they were listed on the document checklist that can be found online, so having them sorted in that order helped to save time. In addition, I was asked for the DS-5540 (Public Charge Qustionnare), which had not been requested at the NVC stage; luckily, I had already prepared it (it is now listed on the aforementioned document checklist) - others had to yet fill it in in the waiting area. They then requested my (German) phone number, and confirmed my and my husband's personal data (name, DOB, place of birth, address).
I was given a pamphlet on domestic abuse, and told to take a seat again until called up to another window for my interview.
About an hour later I was called up to a second window. I was given back my original documents, was asked to make an oath on only having provided and providing truthful information, and had my (digital) fingerprints taken. The interview then basically consisted only of three questions:
- When and how did you meet your husband?
- When did you get married?
- Where is he (the hubbs) now?
I was then told that I'd be receiving my visa in about a week, was told where the immigration officer at the POE could find my visa information (because the visa package would be digital), in case there were any questions, and that my visa would have a note on it making it clear I was exempt from the presidential proclamation. And that was basically it
Everyone at the consulate - from security to the officers - was extremely friendly and helpful, and I felt very comfortable during the whole interview process.