Amarriage-based green card interview is the last step in getting U.S. citizenship for immigrants. After three years of green card marriage with a U.S. citizen or a green card holder, the spouse can submit their application. Green card interviews are led by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Office, at the local field office, or by the U.S. State Department if one of the spouses is living abroad.
The green card interview is usually maintained three months after getting an appointment letter notice from USCIS. This will give spouses enough time to get well prepared for the interview and prevent them from making common mistakes.
In the beginning, it is highly recommended to consult an immigration attorney before coming to the interview. Early preparation and meeting in person with the attorney can help spouses to give brief and on-point answers.
He can also go through the spouse’s background search, review the evidence, and make some new suggestions on how to act or what to say. Not only that, the immigration officer can prepare spouses for the process and possible questions, but he can also accompany them and help them understand all the essential information and inquiries during the immigration interview.
The officer will make an approval decision about the green card citizenship based on the evaluation of four essential segments at the interview:
1. How spouses communicate with the immigration officer
2. Psychical appearance
3. Required and presented documents
4. Answers to the questions
Communication with immigration officers includes both verbal and non-verbal. USCIS officers can be polite, but sometimes they are intimidating, and their questions can make examinees feel uncomfortable.
Both ways, it is crucial to appear calm and positive and keep that attitude until the very end.
When it comes to physical appearance, it is necessary to get dressed as if it is a court proceeding or an important job interview. Clothing should be clean, business, and moderately conservative, as spouses should look professional. They should avoid the clothes that will lead the immigration officer to question their lifestyle and morals.
All required documents should be brought organized, chronologically arranged, and easily reachable to be reviewed. It is expected to get appointment letter notice and identification documents in the form of a government-issued photo ID.
The immigration officer will also need original documents to compare them with the information stated in the green card application form, so proper original documents with their copies are mandatory. The set of new documents that contain shared photos, jointly utility bills, joint bank accounts statements, etc. are required as evidence of authentic marriage.
During the preparation, the couple should review and memorize the filled application information because the USCIS officer will go through them at the interview.
Answering the immigration officer’s questions is the most important and the most challenging part of the marriage-based green card interview preparation. This preparation requires spouses to recall the most important events and facts of their relationship history and marriage life, such as: how did they meet, their first date, proposing wedding day, and traveling memories.
Questions can also be about daily activities, family information, living space, etc. Addressing these facts and exchanging notes will help the couple to memorize all details that will validate their marriage before the USCIS office during the interview.
It can help rehearse the questioning before coming to the USCIS office, especially if you have hired an immigration attorney for the preparation. The interview aims not to present applicants as a perfect couple, but to show their love and life story as they are.
Hence, it is essential, to be honest, and it is okay if spouses do not know the answer to every single question. It is better to say that straight than to make guessing. It is also allowed to look at the documents to recall some information and ask for the question clarification to understand it before answering.
Although the immigration interview may seem intimidating, spouses should observe it as a final step in their marriage-based green card application process. You and your spouse can unstressful complete this step with dedicated preparation.