When foreigners apply for a visa to stay in, live in or travel to the U.S., they are usually required to have an interview with an immigration officer at their local embassy or consulate. At the interview, visa applicants (1) get fingerprinted, (2) present required documentation, and (3) answer questions about their travel plans. Usually the officer decides whether to grant the visa right after the interview.
Below our Las Vegas visa interview attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about the the US visa interview process in Nevada. Click on a topic to go directly that section.
- 1. Where do visa interviews occur?
- 2. What documents do I need for a visa interview?
- 3. What happens at a visa interview?
Note that illegal aliens may be able to get a "provisional unlawful presence waiver" to allow them to sit for a visa interview in their home country. See our article on provisional unlawful presence waivers.
The US visa interview process depends where the visa applicant lives, and what visa the applicant is petitioning for. In general, visa applicants have their interviews in their home country at their local U.S. embassy or consulate. Prior to the interview, applicants will receive a notice by mail with location information of where to go. See the official list of U.S. embassies around the world.
Visa applicants should note that it is vital they arrive on time, especially since there may be a wait to enter the consulate or embassy. Failing to show for a scheduled interview on time may negatively impact the applicant's visa eligibility.
In order to gain access to the U.S. consulate or embassy building, visa applicants will likely need to show the following:
- original passport, and
- appointment letter, and
- U.S. visa fee receipt
Depending on the visa being sought, applicants may need to bring other supporting documentation such as marriage certificates, divorce certificates, death certificates, and college degrees. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will inform the visa applicant about what to bring.
There are certain prohibited items that cannot be brought into U.S. consulates. These items include weapons, cellular phones and other electronics, purses and bags, liquids, food, and sealed envelopes/packages. There is no place to store verboten items at U.S. consulates, so applicants should not bring superfluous things with them on the day of the interview. Drinking fountains and restrooms are available inside the consulate.
Note that whether a visa applicant may bring his/her attorney to the interview depends on the embassy's rules. Many of them do not permit attorneys to be present.
No one besides actual visa applicants may enter the consulate. Upon arriving at the consulate, applicants pass through a security checkpoint. This security measure may involve a full body metal detector scan. Once that is complete, applicants will have their fingerprints taken (biometrics). These prints will be compared to the biometrics the applicants had taken and submitted previously to confirm their identity.
Following the fingerprints, the visa applicants will be escorted to a waiting area. Applicants are advised to sit quietly and wait patiently until their name has been called. Applicants should also have their documents organized and ready. At the announcement of an applicant's name, he/she will be told to walk to a designated window. The officer is usually located behind a glass partition, and the applicant will communicate with him/her through a microphone. There is a slot located at the bottom of the partition that will allow the interviewee to share any documents with the interviewer.
During the interview, the interviewer will ask the visa interviewee questions and have him/her verify documents. The interviewee should answer the questions honestly and only address the questions asked. There is no need to provide the officer with information that is not requested. The main goal of the US Visa interview process is to verify information and documentation in order to ensure the interviewee qualifies for the appropriate visa.
Once the interviewer has gotten all the information he/she needs, a determination is made almost immediately. Learn more about the visa interview process and preparing for the visa interview. Depending on the type of visa a foreigner receives, he/she may eventually be able to adjust status to legal permanent residence and ultimately apply for U.S. naturalization (citizenship).
Need a visa to live in Nevada? Contact us...
If you are looking to hire legal representation to help you with the the US Visa interview process in Las Vegas, Nevada, or other immigration matters, contact our Las Vegas immigration law attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a consultation. Immigration laws are detailed and nuanced. They can also be quite confusing. You do not have to go through the process alone. Our firm assists in applying for IR1 and CR1 spousal visas, K1 fiancé visas and F1 academic student visas, among others.
For more information about the different types of visas available, go to our article on Nevada visa laws. For information on how to come to Nevada without having to get a visa, see our article on the Visa Waiver Program in Nevada.