In October 2007, we received the consulate appointment. About three months earlier than expected. For Germany, all visa interviews take place at the American Consulate in Frankfurt am Main.
You need to bring copies of all original documents you want to keep. So bring copies of all documents. In the letter for the consulate appointment it also says that translations are required. I called at the consulate and was told we do not need to bring translations. Again: this can be different for your application. The gray items in the list above did not apply to me and I was not required to bring them.
In December 2007 we were on our way to Frankfurt. At the consulate we were also asked for an U.S. postal address. This address will be used once the final immigrant visa is issued. You need a valid US postal address to complete your application. I have folks in the US. If you do not, there are services which act as your postal address, but will costs you money.
In the letter for the appointment we were also asked to bring proof of support. When I called and asked for any details, nothing specific could be provided to me. I therefore brought the latest bank statement and copies of my savings bank book and savings deposit. This was sufficient. Also, only I was checked for proof of support, my wife was not. I was not asked for any job offer or bondsman.
Our appointment at the consulate was scheduled for 8.00am and we arrived at around 7.30am. As an DV applicant you can use the immigrant visa line, which is much shorter than the non-immigrant visa line. Expect to wait longer then 10 minutes and dress accordingly (it is quite cold in December).
You will be asked to show your invitation letter before you are allowed to enter the consulate. After the security checks, you will receive a number which will guide you through the process in the consulate. This process is split up into 4 steps, each taking place at a different counter.
At the first counter we needed to provide the photograph, our passport and were told which documents to sort in a certain order. We also received first instructions.
At the second counter we paid the required fee in Euro and received a receipt (which was checked at the third counter).
At the third counter all our documents (my wife's and mine) were checked. The copies stayed at the consulate and the originals remained with us. Here we also received all instructions on how to proceed once the temporary visa is issued and were asked for an US postal address where our final visa will be sent to.
At the fourth and final counter an US official had a look at us and asked a few formal questions about our previous visits to the US, our intended field of work, and our marriage. After 5 minutes we had answered all questions, received a 'Welcome to the United States of America', and were done.
The entire process at the consulate took about 2 and a half hours, from 7:30am to 10:00am. This left enough room to get to the physician in time.
You are also required to pass a medical exam. This takes place on the same day as consulate appointment, but can also be done at an earlier time. You have to take your medical exam at a physician accepted by the US consulate. I learned it too late, but I heard that there are several more panel physicians in Germany. If you decide to visit a physician close to your home, do it before your consulate appointment. For further information see here.
In Frankfurt, visa applicants can go to the physician from Monday to Friday between 7.30am and 11.00am without an appointment. The entire exam will take about 1,5 to 2 hours. We were asked to bring the following documents to the medical exam (per person).
The medical exams include: physical examination, X-ray examination, blood and urine test.
After a couple of days we got back our passports together with a sealed envelope. This sealed envelope must be kept sealed until your first trip to the U.S. Also, the visa foil in the passport has an expiration date within six months of the date it was issued. If you are not able to make it to the States in these six months, the visa automatically becomes invalid. Once there, an immigration officer at the port-of-entry will open it, but you must not.
If you do not use the visa for travel to the U.S. within the six months validity period, you must obtain a new visa and pay the visa issuance fee again, in order to travel to the United States. The visa fees you have paid are not refundable.
You are also asked to bring the x-ray film you got from the physician, but when we arrived, we were not asked to present it ...