Congratulations to you and your spouse on getting this far on your way to the green card!
As you probably already know, green card interviews are the last step for you and your spouse in getting U.S. citizenship for immigrants. However, if you (or your spouse) are a U.S. citizen or a green card holder and married for more than three years, you are eligible to submit the application for a marriage-based green card, adjust your status and become a permanent resident.
Since you came this far and already filed your green card application with U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS, you may fear that something might go wrong at the green card interview.
Don’t worry! You are at the right place. Here, we will provide you with essential details to look out for during the green card interview and tips to know before attending the interview. Still, here you will also find links to other valuable sources if you wish to learn more about what you can expect at the immigration interview and prepare for any scenario.
Besides, we at Herman Legal Group law firm are ready to answer any of your questions if you find some information vague or just want to make sure you comprehended it the right way. So don’t hesitate to contact us at any time!
What is the Marriage Green Card Interview?
As we mentioned above, this is your final step in the marriage-based green card process. After you or your spouse submitted Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status, you must attend an interview and appear before the USCIS officer.
If you or your immigration spouse are in the United States, the USCIS officer will lead the marriage green card interview at the local field office, but it will be held at the U.S. State Department or U.S consulate if one of you lives abroad.
The marriage-based green card interview is usually scheduled three months after getting an appointment notice from U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS. This time from receiving a notice to the date to attend the visa interview is enough for you to get well prepared and prevent from making common mistakes.
What Happens at the Marriage interview?
The purpose of a marriage-based green card interview and the USCIS officer’s primary goal is to determine that your marriage is authentic.
That’s why the officer will pay attention to any detail in your and your spouse’s responses to the green card interview questions and proofs you provided.
For example, some green card interview questions can focus on the history of your relationship, the everyday activities you practiced together as a couple and plans you already made or thinking about.
The interviewing officers will listen to you carefully and determine whether you sufficiently convinced them that your marriage is not fraudulent. If so, they will approve the spouse for a green card.
To compare any inconsistencies, each spouse can be interviewed separately, and the officer will compare their statements afterward.
If you think there are some reasons you will not answer the officer’s questions, the best time to consult an immigration attorney is before coming to the interview. Early preparation and meeting in person with your attorney can help you give brief and on-point responses.
The essential segments at the interview of the approval decision about green card citizenship:
1. Spouses’ communication with the interviewing officer
2. Psychical appearance
3. Required and presented evidence
4. Answers to the questions
Communication with Immigration Officers
Both verbal and non-verbal communication is essential. USCIS officers may be polite, but some questions can surprise you and make you feel insecure.
So, it is imperative to appear calm and positive and keep that attitude until the very end.
When it comes to physical appearance, remember that the visa interviews are held in government buildings. This means that you should get dressed more formally, like when you go for an important job interview or a court proceeding.
Your clothing should look business, clean, and moderately conservative. You and your spouse should look professional, leaving no space for the officer to question your lifestyle and morals.
Required and Presented Evidence
You should bring your appointment notice and identification documents in the form of a government-issued photo ID.
All required documents should be organized chronologically, and in a way, the officer can quickly review them. You should provide the interviewing officer with copies of your documentation.
Still, you will need to present the original documents compared with the information stated in the green card application form.
As proofs of authentic marriage, you can bring a set of new documents that contain shared photos, joint utility bills, joint bank account statements, birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.
Answers to the questions
During the interview, the officer will go through your application and the documents you provided and may seek an explanation about the stated facts. To provide firm and convincing answers, you have to do the proper preparation, including memorizing your answers and make sure that both you and your spouse can answer to them.
To successfully pass the most important and most challenging part of the marriage-based green card interview preparation, remember how you met, your first date, proposing wedding day, travel memories, and similar events you attended together.
The immigration officer will also ask questions about daily activities, family information, living space, and other parts of your relationship that we will talk about below.
What would help you harmonize your answers is addressing and memorizing these facts about details that will validate your marriage before the USCIS office during the interview.
If you have hired an attorney for the preparation, you can rehearse the questioning before coming to the USCIS office.
It’s not that you and your spouse need to present yourself as the perfect couple before the immigrant officer, but rather show your life story like it is.
So, please do not make too much effort to memorize every single detail and risk that you and your spouse will give the same answers and make it look superficial.
It is better to leave an impression that you complement each other. For some details, you will be able to look at the documents to recall some information.
What Question do I need to answer at the green card interview?
There is no exact list of questions that you can expect that the officer will ask you for sure. Still, some most common topics can give an overview of your relationship.
Although you can never be certain about the questions that an interviewing officer will ask you, here we will sample questions that spouses encounter:
- How and where did you meet?
- Place that your first date took place (or one of the firsts)?
- How long were you dating before deciding to get married?
- When, where, and how the marriage proposal happened?
- What was your wedding like?
- Who attended your wedding?
- What food was served?
- Were there any special rituals performed or any other specific kind of performance?
- Did you go anywhere for your honeymoon? If so, where?
- What is your daily life? What do you do, and what does your spouse usually do during the day?
- What are your morning routines?
- How often do you call or text each other when you are not together?
- Which of you likes to cook or clean?
- What medications does your spouse take?
- What is your and your spouse’s side of the bed?
Kids (if you have any)
- How do your kids get to school?
- Who are their friends?
- What are their favorite foods?
- Do they play any sports? If so, what?
- When is your spouse’s birthday?
- How do you usually celebrate it? How did you celebrate the most recent one?
- What did you get each other as gifts?
What Happens After the Marriage Interview?
If the USCIS officer establishes ineligibility at the visa interview, you can receive the denial on the spot. Do not feel discouraged because, before such a decision, you will have opportunities to submit more proofs or clarify issues.
If you do no get denial right at the visa interview, there are four scenarios to expect:
- Application Approval
- Request for Evidence
- Additional Review
- The Second Interview
After the interviewing officer assessed the documentation you provided and is satisfied with your responses and how you and your spouses handled the interview, the officer will approve your green card application in person.
Request for Evidence (RFE):
If your responses were vague, and the interviewing officer needs more time and proofs to decide upon your application, the officer will issue a Request for evidence (RFE). Usually, you will need to submit additional utility bills, bank statements, or statements from friends and family regarding the relationship.
Sometimes, the officer can be uncertain about your documentations and decide that your case needs further assessment but that you don’t have to submit any additional documentation.
The Second Interview
The officer can decide to invite you again if there is a need to discuss further your case or particular areas of your marriage or your relationship’s background.
How Can An Immigration Attorney Help Me?
The whole green card process can last for a long time, and an interview may be overwhelmed for spouses by itself. This is why hiring a lawyer from the very first beginning can be fruitful and can save you lots of time.
Our immigration attorney will have an individual approach to your case, making sure the best strategy is determined. When it comes to marriage interviews, a lawyer can go through the spouse’s background search, review the evidence, and suggest how to act or what to say.
Besides, the immigration lawyer in our legal team can help you prepare for the process and possible questions. Still, also your legal representative can accompany you to the appointment and help you understand all the essential information and inquiries during the immigration interview.
If you have questions about this process or already made up your mind about joining forces with our legal team, wait no more to contact us! You can book your consultations with Richard Herman or use an online form to request legal consultation on our site.