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Ask the Consul — March 2023
April 4, 2023

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Question: My sister in the United States submitted paperwork several years ago for me to receive a green card.  What can I do to prepare, and when can I expect an interview?


Answer: The principle of family reunification has been the cornerstone of U.S. immigration policy for over a century.

Obtaining an immigrant visa starts with the filing of a petition on behalf of the applicant by a family member in the United States.  After approval of the petition by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing and fee payments.  When an interview has been scheduled with the embassy, the NVC will forward the file to the embassy for visa processing.  The NVC will advise applicants of the scheduled date and time of the interview.

As part of embassy Port of Spain’s continued commitment to improving customer service, effective April 15, 2023, the consular section is implementing changes to our process to better prepare applicants for the interview and avoid unnecessary delays.

Immigrant visa applicants will be required to visit the embassy twice.  The first visit to the embassy will be a consultation with consular staff to review the applicant’s original documents such as passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and divorce decrees, and to collect fingerprints.  If there is an error in the name or if applicants have subsequently used a name other than the one on the birth certificate, applicants will need to bring the oldest version of a birth affidavit or deed poll to the next interview.  Applicants must ensure the original documents presented match the documents uploaded to the electronic processing system.  The new polymer versions of civil documents are also required.  Applicants will be advised, if necessary, of the steps to take to correct errors before the visa interview. The first visit to the embassy will occur on the afternoon of the medical exam in Port of Spain between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 pm.  You will be informed of this process via email.  The physician will provide a handout detailing the next steps.

The second visit to the embassy will be the visa interview on the date and time scheduled by the NVC.  At the interview, a consular officer will review the applicant’s case and advise if it is ready for approval, or if further items are pending.  On the day of this interview, applicants must have the original documents, such as passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and divorce decrees, which must match the documents uploaded to the electronic processing system.

Applicants can check the status of their application online by entering the petition receipt number at egov.uscis.gov.  Additional information on the process is available at www.uscis.gov.  For case specific inquires, send an email to PTSIV@state.gov.  Please include full names of the beneficiaries, petitioner, case number and a contact number along with the question.