How to Prepare for Your Green Card Consulate Interview

Note that U.S. Embassy/Consulate interview preparation can often be a case specific process. Below is general guidance based on information published by US Departmnet of State and the National Visa Center. Please consult with your immigration attorney prior to attending a green card interview.

USCIS approval and CEAC case approval

After the petitioner’s petition is approved by USCIS, the case will be transferred by them to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) for pre-processing.

NVC pre-procesing is completed through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). The system is used to upload documents, receive messages, and check application status.

Upon submitting the fees, forms, and supporting documents to NVC, the applicant’s case will undergo a thorough review to ascertain that all the required documentation has been submitted to schedule the immigrant visa interview.

Interview scheduling

After a successful review, the NVC will label the case as documentarily qualified and proceed to schedule an interview date at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate. The scheduling of interviews is contingent on the availability of appointment slots at the respective Embassy/Consulate.

Preparation for your green card interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate

Upon scheduling the visa interview appointment, the National Visa Center (NVC) will send an email to the applicant, petitioner, and agent/attorney (if applicable) with details of the appointment date and time. Once the interview Appointment Letter is received from NVC, the applicant must complete the following steps before the scheduled interview date.

After the National Visa Center (NVC) schedules your visa interview appointment, they will send you, your petitioner, and your agent/attorney (if applicable) an email noting the appointment date and time.  After you receive an interview Appointment Letter from NVC, you must take the following steps BEFORE the interview date.

1. Schedule and Complete a Medical Examination

You (and each family member or “derivative applicant” applying for a visa with you) are required to schedule a medical appointment with an authorized physician in the country where you will be interviewed. This exam must be with an embassy-approved doctor, also referred to as the Panel Physician. Exams conducted by other physicians will not be accepted. You must complete your medical examination, along with any required vaccinations, before your scheduled visa interview date. Please visit our List of U.S. Embassies and Consulates for country-specific medical examination instructions.

After your exam, the Panel Physician will either send the exam results directly to the embassy or give you a sealed envelope. If the doctor gives you an envelope, do not open it. Instead, bring it to your visa interview and give it to the consular officer.

2. Interview instructions specific to your interview location

Select the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply for a visa to learn what additional requirements there are, if any.

What to bring to the Interview

Every visa applicant, no matter their age, must bring certain documents to the interview, including photographs, and the original or certified copy version of all civil documents submitted to NVC.

The applicant is responsible to bring all required original or certified copy civil documents to the visa interview. Failure to bring all required documents to the interview may cause delay or denial of the visa.  You must bring the following documents to the interview:

  • Appointment Letter – The interview appointment letter you received from NVC.
  • Passport – For each applicant, an unexpired passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of entry into the United States
  • Photographs – two identical color photograph(s) for each applicant, which must meet the general Photograph Requirements.
  • DS-260 Confirmation Page – received after submitting Form DS-260 online
  • Supporting Documents – original or certified copies of all civil documents you uploaded into the CEAC system when processing with NVC.
  • Medical Exam – Panel Physician will either send the exam results directly to the embassy or give you a sealed envelope, if they give you a sealed envelope. Do not open it, and bring it directly to your visa interview.
  • Affidavit of Support or financial evidence – Although US Department of State publishes information that you do not need to bring your Affidavit of Support or financial evidence you submitted to NVC, we find that this information is sometimes requested at the interview. Therefore, bring Affidvait of Support or financial evidence from your sponsor in a separate folder and be prepared to present this evidence.

Your original documents will be returned to you when the interview has been completed. Any photocopies provided may be kept.

  • English Translations – If documents requiring English translation were not sent to NVC, you must obtain them and present them on the day of your interview. For more information please review the U.S. Embassy or Consulate interview preparation instructions. 
  • Visa Fees – If your visa application fees were collected by NVC, you do not need to pay again. However, if you or any family member did not pay all the necessary fees, you will be asked to pay any unpaid fees at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  

What happens if you forget to bring something on this list? The consular officer will not be able to complete the processing of your visa. You will have to gather the missing items and provide them to the embassy or consulate, and may have to come for additional interviews. Failure to bring all items on the above list will delay visa issuance.

Additional evidence. In certain instances, consular officers may ascertain that additional evidence is required before they can make a decision on your application. In such cases, the consular officer will provide you with instructions on how to send this additional evidence to them after the interview is complete.

At the green card interview

Prior to the interview, ensure you have followed the U.S. Embassy or Consulate interview preparation instructions.

On the scheduled date and time of your interview appointment, go to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with your printed visa application (DS-260) confirmation page. A consular officer will interview you (and accompanying family member beneficiaries) and determine whether or not you are eligible to receive an immigrant visa. As part of the interview process, ink-free, digital fingerprint scans may be taken.

Important Reminder Regarding Financial Commitments

You should not make permanent financial commitments, such as selling your house, car or property, resigning from your job, or making other travel arrangements, purchasing travel tickets, until your application is approved at interview and you have received your immigrant visa.

Who Must Attend the Interview

Your U.S. citizen or U.S. green card holding sponsor/petitioner does not attend the visa interview.

You, your spouse (if immigrating with you), and any qualified unmarried children immigrating with you, must participate in the interview.  All traveling applicants required to participate will be named on the interview Appointment Letter you receive from the National Visa Center (NVC).

If your spouse and/or qualified unmarried children will immigrate at a later date and travel separately from you, they are not required to participate in your interview. They will be scheduled for a separate interview appointment.

You may be required to contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate directly to arrange separate interviews, if needed.

Failure to Appear for Interview 

If you cannot appear at your scheduled interview, contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate as soon as possible.  If you do not contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate within one year of receiving your interview appointment letter, your case may be terminated and your immigrant visa petition cancelled, and any fees paid will not be refunded.

Need to change the interview date and time - Instructions to reschedule your appointment are available at U.S. Embassy or Consulate interview preparation instructions.


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