The consular interview is the most important part of the UK fiancee visa application process. Unfortunately, a tremendous number of settlement visa applications fail at this stage because the applicants underestimate the crucial importance of the interview or simply are not aware of what the immigration officials are actually looking for. Likewise, statements made during the visa interview or other information included with the application, while seemingly inconsequential, may result in a significant delay or denial of the application. It should be noted that the examining immigration officials are trained to adjudicate family class applications based on objective facts and with the use of some “rules of thumb”.
In addition to meeting numerous basic eligibility requirements, the foreign fiancee must convince the examining UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials that their relationship with the British sponsor is genuine and ongoing, and that they both intend to get married and live together in the UK. Furthermore, the applicant must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the entry clearance officer that they are requesting a prospective marriage visa for romantic reasons and not solely for immigration purposes. If the interviewing entry clearance officer finds any discrepancies between responses to the many interview questions and the supporting documents the fiancee presents during the visa interview, the case may be forwarded to the entry clearance manager/fraud prevention unit for further investigation, or the fiancee visa may be denied without further reference to the applicant or their sponsor.
There is no set time for fiancee and marriage visa interviews. The UKBA entry clearance officers take as much time as they need in order to reach a decision and make a final determination of eligibility. Straightforward settlement visa applications can be handled within 15 – 20 minutes. More complex immigration cases can take the examiner from 30 to 60 minutes to resolve. If the fiancee does not know what to expect during the interview, they may be naturally nervous and therefore answer one or more of the interview questions incorrectly. This can greatly increase the processing time or lead to initial denial of the application. Arguing later with the immigration authorities that the applicant meets the requirements and that the relationship is indeed bona fide can take weeks, or even months, to bring to resolution and visa issuance. For this reason, it is important to prepare thoroughly for the initial fiancee visa interview.
During the fiancee visa interview, the entry clearance officer will ask the applicant a series of questions to find out more about their case and to ensure that the information on their settlement visa application is honest and accurate. The adjudicating consular officials will also ask specific questions to ensure that the relationship is bona fide, ongoing, and was not entered into solely for immigration purposes.