|Consulate Review: Dominican Republic
Review Topic: IR-1/CR-1 Visa
|Review Date :
||May 7, 2011
|Embassy Review :
||We had our CR-1 visa interview on Wednesday, May 4, 2011. We had been told to get there early because of the long line. My husband drove and parked in a parking lot about a half a block away from the embassy. It cost us $150 pesos to park there for the day. We walked across the street and turned the corner and got into line. There were 3-4 people walking around with yellow shirts on with 'INFO' written on the back. We asked where we needed to make a line and the guy told us it was the long one. I saw 3 different lines. There were 2 under a white awning next to the main entrance: the long was was for immigrant visas and the other was a shorter line and it was for non-immigrant visas. The third line wrapped back towards us from the other side of the embassy and I later found out that that line was for follow-up interview stuff...I will explain more later.
We got in line about 6:00 am and there may have been 90-100 people already there before us. As soon as the line started to move, I saw that as we approached the main door, they separated the men from the women in order to go through a security check-point. A guy at the front of the line, before entering the embassy, requested a copy of our appointment letter that we received from the NVC. We gave it to him. My husband got put in the men's line and was through security before I even got into the embassy. Most people were casually dressed. I brought an umbrella (because it had been raining off and on the prior day) without realizing there was an awning.
Once we passed through security, we went through another door that opened into a huge room. It was long with lots of metal benches. We went in and took a seat, waiting for our name to be called. As I surveyed the room, I noticed that to the front, there was a huge reception-like desk that had around 5 agents sitting behind it with computers. This is the DOMEX station where you go to pay the fee to have your visa sent to you AFTER the interview. I noticed to the right, at the far end of the room, there was a little cafeteria place to get food and water. I was so dang nervous that I couldn't eat anything, so we didn't buy anything at all. There were fans all over the place. There is no AC, but the fans keep the air moving so it was comfortable, at least for me. I don't even want to think about how hot that place could get in July, August, or September, so anyone going there doing those hot months, be prepared with a hand held fan or extra water to drink. There are bathrooms there, located at the far end of the room, near the cafeteria. I didn't use them, so I can't comment on what they were like.
The speakers were really loud. At the beginning, it's easy to follow because they initially start calling people's names, but as you proceed through the morning, various people use the speakers, so you really need to pay attention to when your name or number is called.
Once my husband's name was called, we went to the indicated window.(As a side-note, there are no rooms...you go to windows, kind of like a small ticket booth window, to do different transactions. The booths have a thick glass barrier between you and the agent and all verbal communication is doen through a microphone.) At this first window, the guy there asked for my husband's passport, his cedula, his medical records, and the second police certificate. The guy took the forms and as I watched him review our file, all the translations that I had solicited and paid for...for birth certificate, police reports, marriage certificate...the guy removed them from the case file and threw them in the trash! I was PISSED!!!! I was like...dude, the money I spent on those things could have paid for gas and groceries for at least a week! Once he reviewed the file and collected the additional documents, he assigned our case a number and gave us a little paper 'ticket' and asked us to go back and sit down. We waited at least another half hour or 45 minutes and they called our number and we went to a different window where the lady asked for our number and then took my husband's fingerprints, both hands. After that, we went back and sat down. Then we waited for awhile longer. I watched these enclosed windows in front of us...there were 5-6 windows enclosed in a thick glass wall and you had to go through a side door to get in there. I realized as I watched people come in and out that these windows were where the interviews were being conducted.
Eventually, they called our number for the interview. We got up and went to the indicated window. It was some american guy with a full head of dark brown hair. He asked me if I spoke Spanish and I told him I did and then asked me if I spoke English too. (Yes.) It was agreed to do the interview in Spanish. He then put us under oath. He started asking us how we met, asked my husband if he had ever been to the US (no), if he had ever traveled outside of the country and why, asked him if he had ever been arrested, and then he started reviewing the I-130 application form (where it has both of our data side by side) and noticed that we married not long after we met. He DID NOT like that. He started asking ALL kinds of questions: asked me what he did for a living, asked my husband the same thing about me, asked about our family, my daughter, why my parents weren't at the wedding (no passport), our religion (we are both members of the same church) and how I learned spanish...he asked to see pictures from the first time we met and I pulled them out and showed him. He even asked my husband about my ex-husband: what his name was and where he lived and when I got divorced. I kind of freaked out because I don't talk about my ex with him hardly at all.
We answered all of the questions and the guy was hesitant, because he did not like that we married so quickly, but he approved out visa (thank the Lord!) However, we had submitted original extracts of the birth certificate and our marriage certificate and they wanted the long forms (inextenso - make sure you have this form, NOT the extract!) and so we got a green slip indicating that the visa was approved, to pay the DOMEX fee and to bring the two missing documents in order to complete the case.
I was exhausted...totally tee'd off at the guy for his behavior, yet I do understand that he has to do that. We left the interview area, went down the stairs and to the DOMEX counter, paid the messenger service fee. They gave us a receipt to keep for our records and one that was stapled to our green slip for when we drop off the missing documentation. I think we were out of there before 9:00am.
We left the embassy and went over to the civil document office not to far away and went inside. Luckily, I had brought copies of all the packets I had sent off the USCIS and the NVC, so I pulled out the copies of the birth certificate and marriage certificate so that the people in the office could easily find the requested documents. We got to the second floor of this building and the room was packed. We waited an hour just to be able to wait IN line. I was so done with this entire process. Hubby called a friend to stand in line for us and to complete the process of getting the needed certificates and having them legalized. (If any of you have to do this...make sure you have them legalized downstairs and you do not need to get them translated.) While the guy was taking care of this, hubby took me out to eat to celebrate our victory of getting the visa and also to eat something and get away from the noise, heat, and crowds. As soon as we had finished, the guy called us that he had all the documentation completed. We went to pick him up and went back to the embassy.
If any of you have to go back due to lack of a document please take note: you cannot go back on the same day to deposit the missing documents. You have to wait until the next day. They told us we couldn't do it and we'd have to come back. So, that third line I mentioned at the beginning, that wrapped around from the other side of the embassy? That line is the line for the follow-up. I had my flight going home the next day, so my husband had to go back to the embassy and stand in that line. He told me he waited in that line for 2 HOURS. There are two ticket-booth like windows outside where he gave the person the missing document with the green slip and the DOMEX receipt and they confirmed that the case was complete and that he should receive his visa packet in a few days.
Overall, the embassy workers were polite and professional. If the interviewer sees a possible red flag, get ready for a question show-down. Just be honest and truthful. Do not lie. There is a place on this website where there is a list of questions that are very commonly asked: take the time to sit down and review them with your spouse/fiance(e). The interviewer did not ask for any phone records, financial records, no cards, nothing. He didn't want to see our wedding photos since I had already submitted several with the I-130 application. He did want to see some from our first visit. He didn't even ask about all the times I had gone back to spend time with my hubby...didn't even ask to see the stamps in my passport! So you just never know. Just be prepared.
Good luck to everyone! God bless you!