|Consulate Review: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Review Topic: IR-1/CR-1 Visa
|Review Date :
||August 15, 2008
|Embassy Review :
||We had the interview at the Rio de Janeiro Consulate yesterday; it was quick and painless and I will give you all the details here!
We got to the Consulate just before 7 AM. We were the second ones on line; about 20 people showed up after us. Around 7:30, a woman came by and checked off our names on a list and marked down where we were in line (i.e. put a 2 next to our name).
At 7:40 we went in, went through security check (you are allowed to take your cell phone as long as it is turned off). We went up to the second floor and sat down. A very nice young woman sat at a desk in the same room (all of the windows are in an enclosed cubicle) and was available to answer questions, etc. She came by and gave us a list of documents to put together. I told her that we had already sent most of the documents to the NVC. She said, no problem, just put the passport, one 5x5cm photo and the medical exam envelope together to hand in. After about ten minutes, she called us up (in the order that we were in line) to go to one of the windows. My husband handed in the above mentioned documents and the woman at the window took them. I also gave them my joint sponsor's tax return, since she had filed a tax extension and the NVC didn't receive the actual return. (I don't know if they were actually going to ask me for it or not, but the interview letter gave general instructions to bring the 2007 tax return if a sponsor had filed an extension.) The only other thing that the woman asked for was my husband's military card. We didn't send it in to the NVC because he had not actually served in the military. However, he has a card stating that when he registered for the military, he was excused from initial military service because they had too many people enlisting. So he went and made a copy of his card and handed it in with the original.
We sat and waited for about 45 minutes before they started calling interviews. The first people to be called in were behind us in line but I believe they were called in because they were missing something important in their application. I didn't hear the whole conversation but it sounded like the Consulate did not have a record of them paying the $400 fee (to NVC I assume, unless he had done DCF); the husband (American) had a receipt stating that he had paid it, but I don't think they were going to accept it. The next person that went in was the first on line; a young guy - he was in for about 10 minutes and came out with an approved visa.
While we were waiting, the young woman who first greeted us talked to us about what happens after the interview - namely, you will either receive the visa right away or your case will be determined as "pending" - if there are missing documents or evidence, etc. When you receive the visa, it will come with a sealed envelope (as we all know) and that the envelope must be completely intact when we go through the port of entry. She said that every week someone comes into the Consulate crying because their envelope had been ripped and POE would not accept it and deported them. She stressed that it is extremely important that the envelope is perfect when we get to the US.
We were called in next (about 9:30 AM). I had a bunch of documents and photo albums and evidence, but the woman didn't ask to see any of it. Actually, she moved through the questions pretty quickly, so I didn't even have time to offer them to her to see. She started out saying hello my husband in Portuguese. I entered a minute after him and said, in Portuguese, that I was his wife and asked if I could stay for the interview. She said yes, then said, wait, who are you? I said, his wife, and she said, ok, no problem. She continued the rest of the interview completely in Portuguese and didn't ask if either one of us wanted to speak English (nor did she speak English to me). She was American but her Portuguese was quite clear and good (my husband said so too). While she asked questions, she was flipping through our documents and stamping "Approved" on them, so I thought that was a good sign.
Before the questions, she had my husband take digital fingerprints and sign part 2 of the DS-230. (I figured that was already a good sign.) She gave me back the original documents that I had sent to the NVC. Then we raised our right hands and she swore us in.
1. (to my husband) Have you been to the US before? (no)
2. Have you ever applied for a visa to the US? (no)
3. When did you get married?
4. Is the first marriage for both of you?
5. When did you meet?
6. (to me) Are you here on vacation now? (No, I have lived in Brasil with my husband since Feb 2007)
7. (to me) Did you visit him between the time that you met and when you moved here? (Yes, twice)
8. Have you met each other's families?
9. Do you have any children? (Yes, my husband has one from a previous relationship)
10. Will your son stay with his mother or go with you? (For now, he will stay here and then we will apply for a visa to bring him to the US)
11. Does his mother mind him going to the US? (no)
12. (to me) You have a joint sponsor, (gave her name)? (yes, that's right)
13. Is she your mother? (no, my aunt)
14. Is she married?
I think those are all the questions though there may be one or two that I am forgetting.
Then she said, "well, Rodrigo, we have a visa for you. Go ahead out to the woman at the desk and she will give you instructions on receiving your visa." Wee hoo! The interview went fast - 10 minutes at the most - and felt pretty easy. I was almost disappointed (but not really of course), since I had brought so much stuff to show her. It felt like our visa was pretty much approved before we went in and she was just checking all of our information for validity, etc. I thought she would have asked me more about what I was doing in Brazil, what our plans were to go to the States, etc but she didn't ask.
We went out to the desk and the woman wrote my husband's name and case number on a green piece of paper. She then sent us downstairs to the TNT (express mail) desk, where we filled out a postal address card (for my mother in law's house, since we are visiting them in SP), and paid R$24. They said the passport and the immigration envelope (to be handed in at the port of entry) will arrive in 3 business days. We were out of the door at 10 AM. I almost feel silly for having stressed out so much, but there was no way to know that the interview day would be as easy as it actually was.