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Opinion

Six tips on scheduling your interview at the embassy

IMMIGRATION CORNER - Michael J. Gurfinkel - The Philippine Star

So many people have been waiting for months or years for their interview at the embassy. The COVID-19 pandemic, with the shut downs, lockdowns, as well as the immigration ban, created tremendous backlogs and increased waiting times.

Is there something that you can do to speed up your interview? While the following tips will not “guarantee” your interview will be immediately scheduled, they could help facilitate or increase your chances:

Monitor your priority date. If your priority date is earlier than the dates for filing or application filing date chart, then you should already be receiving notices from the NVC (National Visa Center) to start preparing your paperwork.

If your priority date is earlier than the final action date, that means your priority date is current and you are eligible for your visa already. If you have not received a notice from the NVC, then you really should check to see what happened and why you have not received those notices.

Make sure to keep the NVC or embassy informed of any change in your contact information. This includes your address, phone number or email. If you move, notices may be sent to the last address they have on file for you and you’re typically given one year to respond, or your case will be terminated. If you move but never advised the NVC or embassy of your new address, you may find that your case has been canceled.

Be aware that it is not the NVC‘s job or duty to keep track of your case, your change of address or try to find or track you down, and you should not wait to hear from them if your priority date is current. I have come across many cases where the person’s priority date was current for many years, but the family took no action on the case because they were waiting for the NVC. If your priority date is current, you should look into the matter as to why you were not receiving notices, or risk having your case terminated.

Make sure you are documentarily complete. If you submitted your fees and forms and you are waiting for your interview date, make sure you have received confirmation from NVC that your case is “documentarily complete,” meaning the NVC or embassy has acknowledged you have submitted all the appropriate forms and fees. If your case is not documentarily complete, you will not be queued up for an interview, even if your priority date is current.

(To be continued)

COVID-19

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