Typically, when a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident petitions for a non-citizen spouse to obtain a green card, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not require an in-person interview until late in the process.

After submitting the initial petition Form I-130, and when USCIS decide about this first step, it will wait until you submit the remaining paperwork. Upon gathering all documentation, USCIS will schedule a meeting with him at one of the USCIS offices or an overseas U.S. embassy or consulate.

However, USCIS can schedule an interview before deciding on the I-130. In this case, USCIS will require you as a petitioner to attend and speak with a USCIS officer. With the last year’s announcement, USCIS has two aims:

1. To protect the interests of a minor (under 18), and, therefore, considered vulnerable.
2. To make sure that the marriage is bona fide.

Marriage laws differ across the United States, and in some, marriage involving a minor is prohibited or permitted, but only in certain circumstances. Since many people are misusing marriages to apply for a lawful permanent residence, marriage fraud is an ongoing concern for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of State.

Ways of Investigating Whether Marriage is Fraudulent

U.S. immigration authorities conduct various ways in order to expose fraudulent cases. Due to a lack of time and resources, it is usually superficial, and they mostly rely on applications and provided evidence. The applicants’ burden is to convince authorities that their marriage is bona fide and provide reliable and sufficient evidence. Besides, the couple involves in the interview where USCIS can ask a set of questions and make a more robust assessment about their shared life. One of the used methods is the “Stokes interview” when authorities separately question the couple and then compare responses and their compliance. This is usually enough for USCIS to make a decision in examining the relationship. Still, U.S. immigration officials’ have more power to go far beyond reviewing documents and talking to applicants within their office confines.

Further Investigation

If submitted documents and answers that you provided during the interview rose certain doubt, U.S. immigration authorities can conduct background checks if they suspect fraud. Usually, this means that they will search the Web and check on the applicant’s credit record, interview the employers, parents and another family, and friends, visit or schedule interviews at their homes, etc.

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