|Consulate Review: Dominican Republic
Review Topic: K1 Visa
|Review Date :
||March 10, 2011
|Embassy Review :
||Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
March 9, 2011
K1 visa interview
Today, Wednesday March 9, 2011, we had our interview at the Santo Domingo Embassy and my fiance's visa was approved!
We arrived to the Embassy around 5:40 am and there were many people waiting in line already. The buscones were kept at the other side of the street and only people who had their interviews were allowed to be on the embassy side of the street. We begun to talk to a few "neighbors" in line and overall people were nice.
Around 6:15 am people were allowed into the building. Most people dressed casually, but some dressed too casually for my taste. Some women did look like they were going to the club (tight jeans and blouses, tops that showed skin and cleavage, club-like high heel shoes, etc.) Some men looked like tigres with their NY baseball caps and printed shirts. I am not saying people ought to wear super formal stuff, but if you are a guy do take the baseball cap and your accesories off (earrings and necklaces), and if you are a girl, do look nice but do not look like a cuero, either.
I have to say that I was very surprised to see so many people with VERY few papers. Most people only had a very basic manila envelope to hold their papers and were holding their passports on their hand. I (US petitioner), on the other hand, organized beautifully about 15 pounds worth of evidence; cell phone bills, Skype records, chats, screen shots of video calls, letters, itineraries, hundreds of pictures, etc. As far as official paperwork, I completed both affidavits of support and had tax transcripts for 2007, 2008, and 2009 and a copy of my 1040 for 2010 tax year. I also had my employers' letters, contracts, bank letter, etc. I also had certified copies of my marriage and divorce certificates/decrees, official and copy of my naturalization certificate, old Mexican passports, etc. At the end, they did not ask for any proof, at all! Not even the affidavit of support.
I do recommend, however, to overprepare (as I did) just in case you need additional evidence during your interview. I would also recommend for people to invest in an actual document binder, backpack, or some other organizational method other than the basic manila envelope. There was a lady who seemed to be petitioning for her children who trusted one of her children with a little bag with all their passports in it. My fiance and I were sitting at a bench near the cafeteria as we ate our breakfast and the lady's child had forgotten this bag on the bench. She was also trusting her children with other random pieces of paper. She was so mad at the child for "losing" the bag, but I would say that the problem would have been avoided with a back pack!
Once inside the bulding, people began to sit on the metal benches. I have to say that I was surprised by the look of the place. The immigrant visa unit and waiting room is long and relatively narrow. All benches (except a few by the cafeteria) face forward and you can look at windows 18-23. To go to the ventanillas (windows) you have to take a few steps up, so basically the benches face the people who are being interviewed who are slightlty above (elevated) from the crowd. There were TVs (around 6) and they were all in the Disney channel. I supposed this was a good channel since there were several children, but the place was simply too noisy to watch TV. The fans were blowing at full speed and the PA system is horribly annoying and loud.
About an hour after settling in, we were called to window 22. At this window a nice Dominican lady asked my fiance for the following documents: cedula de identidad, passport, certificado de buena conducta, birth certificate (inextensa format), Banco Popular's receipts, sealed manila envelope with medical results, visa forms, and passport photos. She also verified the information in the documents and asked my fiance to sign the forms. She asked his marital status and if he had ever been to Puerto Rico or the USA and gave us a paper with which we went to the caja (cashier) to pay the $210 fee. We returned to her window to give her the receipt. After handing her back the receipt she gave us our number: 239. We were to now pay attention to the electronic board and PA system for our number to be called.
We sat down again and continued to talk and I kept asking my fiance to kiss me, again, and again (I had just arrived to the country in the late afternoon of the day before after a couple of months since my last visit). I think we were the only couple kissing, chatting, and laughing. We were having a good time and, quite strangely, I did not feel nervous even though I had been a mental case these last few weeks with all the stress and anxiety. We waited for about an hour and my fiance was called to window 13 where his fingerprints were taken and we sat back down.
A bit later we decided to get something to eat from the cafeteria. We bought a couple of ham and cheeses croissants, a coffee (for me), and an orange soda for my fiance. It had not been very long since we had finished our breakfast before our number was called to window #17. Even though I hoped to be called early in the day I was not expecting it; I guess I had prepared myself to expect the worst (timing and scenario) and was pleasantly surprised. We got up and walked to window #17, which is the first window around the corner of the building. We arrived to window and the glare was terrible! This side of the building has about a waist high wall only and the morning's sun created a glare on the window which made it really difficult for me to see the consul. Also, the voice system is not the best and in the meantime the annoying PA system kept loudly announcing numbers. There was too much noise and glare for me to be able to concentrate entirely. I kept switching positions and shifting my head to try to get a better view of the consul.
Once at the window the consul began to speak to us in Spanish (African American male, between middle thirties to early forties and with a slight accent). We raised our right hand and we swore to tell the truth. He asked my fiance his name and I was so annoyed with him because he only gave his first name and first last name! I had to keep myself from correcting him and from stating his full legal name. The consul also had him sign one of the forms. The first question he asked us was how we had met. I explained how it happened and I could see my fiance with my peripheral vision moving, making hand gestures, as I spoke. I wanted to tell him to stop it because I was talking and not him! But, once again, I had to bite my tongue and continue with the answer. The consul asked if I was Mexican and asked me how and when was it that I migrated to the USA. He asked us each if we had ever had any trouble with the police and if we had children in common. He asked me what I did for a living and how many times I had been to the Dominican Republic. He also asked me if I had any family in the DR. At this point he began to move the papers in the file as he asked my fiance if he wanted his son as a "follow to join" to which he answered affirmatively. Then he said the magic words, "su visa ha sido aprobada" and I smiled and said "gracias." He gave us the receipt for DOMEX and we walked a few steps away from the window before fully smiling, hugging, and kissing happily in front of the whole crowd. I could immediately see the people smiling happily at us (I guess we put up a bit of a show, unknowingly). I standed in line to pay the DOMEX fee and my fiance went to talk to one of the couples we had befriended (their K1 visa was also approved, I came to find out later). We hope to pick-up the visa from the Santo Domingo office on Monday or Tuesday and I hope to bring my fiance back to the USA later next week. We are obviously quite excited. I have to say I was surprised at how easy and quick the interview turned out to be. Maybe it is because I had read so many interview reviews over these past few months and was terrified by the interview horror stories, particularly the ones at "window 11" (investigations). However, we were very fortunate and were out of the embassy by 9:30 am.
Best wishes to all in their journey! Love shall prevail! (F)
P.S. The bathroom was tiny, dirty, and without soap. I guess the bathroom was the most disappointing part of the experience, that and the horribly loud and unclear PA system!
(updated on March 9, 2011)