TIP: In order to be a sponsor, you earn more that %125 of the poverty line (about $20k/year). You most likely cannot meet this requirement if you have been working abroad for several years, since you will prove your income using U.S. tax returns. The reason for this requirement is that spouses cannot go on welfare while they are being sponsored because they are not supposed to burden the American economy. If you do not meet that requirement, you can get around it by having a joint sponsor who does have that income. A joint sponsor has legal obligations to support you if you should need it, so if that’s your plan make sure you have discussed the options with whoever is helping you.
-Police records need to also be sent with the sponsorship forms, so make sure you have records from all the countries where the applicant has lived. Once all of the needed documents have been received, you will be able to move on to the interview.
TIP: We had a terrible experience with this step, because the NVC asked us for a document that applies only to Moroccan citizens (which my husband is not). We called, emailed, and sent letters, most of which were completely ignored. We lost more than three months in the process. It seems that applications are read by a machine, not a person, so if the NVC does make a mistake, keep sending in complaint letters and emails as often as you can!
-Once your documents are all received, you will be given an interview date at your local embassy. You do not get to make any choices about your date, so you just have to be ready for anything. Once the interview is scheduled, you might have more documents to gather, and you will have to do a medical exam at an approved physician.
I had heard a lot about how the interviewer asks a lot of questions to determine if your marriage is real, but this was not the case at my husband’s interview. They did not ask for photos, proof that we live together, or receipts from vacations taken together. Perhaps if you are actually married, it is obvious enough. They do, however, require every original document, and not having one will postpone getting the visa. If you do have all of the documents, you will find out on the spot whether you have the visa.
Finally, the visa can be picked up. In Morocco, it is picked up at an agency called Aramex and is supposed to take two weeks from when all your documents are in. This is the step we are currently on; we were missing one document in the interview so we were not told whether we had the visa, but now the documents are in and Aramex said to wait 14 days. So far it has been a very, very long eight days….