A few weeks ago we had a client interview for a marriage green-card case. As with many clients we prepped our clients, husband and wife, before the interview and advised them on what they can expect. Although the foreign national is proficient in English, it was clear that some of the legal terms that are used on the I-485 form was a challenge for him. The is why we advised him to bring an interpreter with him.

Dictionaries - Languages

Dictionaries

Our client went on to explain that he understands English and that he and his wife communicate very well. Please note that just because you bring an interpreter to your interview, the officer will not assume that you and your spouse do not have a bona fide relationship. An interpreter is helpful because of many of the legal terms that are used during the interview. Even native English speakers will have trouble understanding what the officer is asking.

Couple - Communication

Couple – Communication

Our client agreed, and said that he would have an interpreter for the interview. On the day of the interview, our clients showed up, however there was no interpreter present. He stated again that he did not want the officer to think that he and his wife cannot communicate with each other (which is not true). I reminded the client that there may be some challenges understanding the officer. In that case, ask the officer to rephrase the question and answer every question truthfully.

Understanding

Understanding

During the interview, as expected, our client had trouble understanding the questions that were asked. I could see that the officer was beginning to get frustrated with having to repeat each question more than once so much so that he began to doubt the relationship. At one point I had to remind our client that he must answer every question with a clear “yes” or “no.” By the end of the interview they were able to prove that they have a bona fide marriage and our client received his green-card. Although, everything went well because of the work that we put in before the interview, it could have been different because our clients would not take our advice. As attorneys, we want to see you succeed in the immigration process. There is no shame in having an interpreter present during your interview, in fact it can only help.