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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawShould I Go to the CR-1 or IR-1 Visa Interview with My Spouse

Should I Go to the CR-1 or IR-1 Visa Interview with My Spouse

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the CR-1 and IR-1 Spouse Visas and the interview for both of those Visas, presumably at the US Embassy here in Thailand

We are based in Thailand so I am going to make this more Thailand specific but we do deal with cases out of Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Vientiane, Laos before the travel ban was placed on  Myanmar, we dealt with a lot of cases in Myanmar as well as Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam; so generally speaking, Southeast Asia generally.  In this video I am going to draw upon a lot of my experience with Thailand because I have dealt with the US Embassy here the most although I have been to the US Embassy in both Phnom Penh and Laos and dealt with them on a personal level rather frequently; some of the other posts in the region not so frequently mostly due to proximity, at least physically going there. I have been to the Embassies in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand quite a lot compared to for example Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore.  

That being said I have dealt with all these posts by correspondence rather frequently and a lot of questions I get with regard to spouses of foreign nationals in this region that are looking to get their visa interview done and over with is: "Should I go to the interview too?" Well generally speaking, the answer to that is "No, your presence is not required", and I will get into it in a minute. There are certain reasons why it is not a terribly great idea just from an efficiency standpoint to go to the interview, but also there are security protocols. One of the big ones for example here at the US Embassy, no one but the applicant themselves for the Visa can be present at the interview. Now that being stated, there are exigent circumstances, there are extenuating circumstances, that may arise wherein someone else's presence may be required be it American citizen, we have actually had the Embassy call the American petitioner in the past; I have seen them do that. I have also dealt with them myself rather frequently over the years.

One thing that I have seen a lot of fake lawyers out there say is "Oh nobody can go to the interview."  or "Nobody can go to the Embassy. Only she can go to the Embassy or he can go to the Embassy", that being the foreign applicant, this isn't true. I have dealt with the US Embassy here frequently. Depending on the circumstances I may have to go down there. Now it is fairly rare and it usually involves an issue of pretty intense complexity for me to actually have to physically go down there and deal with something, but it can happen. Now it doesn't happen overly frequently but it can happen. So this notion that everyone is barred from going down there, that is not necessarily true although presence of anyone else down there is not a particularly routine thing; it just doesn't happen very often. In the last few weeks I was down there on a matter pending before them and it was just kind of a weird set of circumstances where it really was only me that could go down and deal with it. In those circumstances specific arrangements need to be made for example an appointment for the attorney record to show up to explain something in the application, usually involving grounds of inadmissibility or something. But long story short, it is rare but it can happen. A third party, for example the Attorney, can be dealing with something at the Consular level at the Embassy. It doesn't happen all that often but it can happen. 

That being said, the security protocols again preclude just anybody being down there. The applicant themselves is the only one that is going to be generally allowed to come in; again due to security.  So should the American petitioner worry about having to show up at the interview? No I don't think it is a good idea for them to think that they need to be at the interview. In fact and I stated I would get to this in a minute earlier in the video, it can also lead to what's called a Stokes' interview. I have actually seen Americans being inadvertently being roped into a Stokes' interview. This was years in the past where for example there was a gentleman that was petitioning for his wife and he was going down to get his passport renewed and they just were sort of lumping it all together and it was all being done at the same time. It was when the Embassy was set up in a much different way than it is currently set up, going on around 8 or 9 years ago, he was in the back dealing with American Citizen Services, some question came up during the interview and he sort of got roped into the interview because his wife didn't exactly know the answer and then they ended up getting roped into what it is called a Stokes' interview which is basically like a prolonged interview where they get into the ins-and-outs of the relationship and all the details associated with the relationship. Like I said, not real conducive to just an efficient processing in and out of a visa application; but it can happen.

So in theory, in the past I have seen the American citizen be there but as a practical matter No. It is not going to be a frequent undertaking that an American is going to be present and in fact security protocols dictate quite the opposite. The American citizen should not be present at the interview for their immigrant spouse for their spouse who is seeking an Immigrant Visa to the United States.