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Green Card Interview
Many dread the green card interview, whether it's because of information obtained online, rumors heard from friends and family, or just a general fear of dealing with the government face to face. A certain level of anxiety is common and expected, but if you are well-prepared and working closely with your lawyer prior to the interview you have nothing to fear. Not properly preparing for the interview or misunderstanding what it's all about can be highly damaging to a marriage green card case. By highly damaging, we mean the case could be denied, the officer could request a waiver for something unnecessary, or an invitation to a Stokes interview could be provided!
You will be notified about the day, time, and location of the green card interview via a USCIS notice that will arrive in the mail approximately 4-6 weeks before the interview. If you would like to see the location of your local field office where your interview will be held before your interview notice arrives, click on Field Office Locator and enter the zip code of the beneficiary/applicant. On the day of the interview, it is important for you and your spouse to arrive at least 30 minutes early to the USCIS location. Upon arrival, you and your spouse will check in to the specific floor or room stated on your notice and wait to be called by the interviewing officer. The interview will be conducted in either a cubicle or closed office. The officer will have the application you submitted and all supporting materials, but it is very important that you bring originals of all documents and any additional information that may be needed for your case. The officer will start the interview by confirming your identity and asking you to stand and "swear" to tell the truth. The officer will then begin to ask you questions about your relationship, immigration history, personal history, and any other items that may be relevant. You should be well prepared with documents related to your personal background, immigration history, marital relationship, and anything else advised by your green card lawyer. It is very important for you to work closely with your lawyer in preparing for the green card interview.
One of the most important parts of the green card interview is to confirm that the marriage is a real, bona fide marriage and not one entered into solely for the purpose of obtaining a green card. In addition to confirming that the relationship is real, the USCIS Officer also has to confirm that the foreign spouse applying for the green card is "admissible".
The following are some common green card marriage interview topics as they relate to the relationship:
- Overview of the relationship history
- Family knowledge
- Time line of events
- Wedding Ceremony details
- Residential, employment, and education information
- Review of photos and joint documents
- Questions from the application
- Financial questions
The above list is meant only to give you a very broad and general idea of some of the more common topics of questioning during a marriage green card interview. It is by no means an exhaustive list, as each case is different and the style, in terms of questioning, of each USCIS Officer is different. It also does not include any information pertaining to whether or not you are "admissible".
The marriage green card process, including the green card interview, is a complicated process and should not be undertaken without an experienced green card immigration lawyer. A lawyer will not only thoroughly prepare and file your application, but he/she will also oversee the process and serve as your legal counsel and representative until you are ultimately approved for a green card.