The immigration process is generally a long one. Immigrants have to deal with the stress and worry about whether their paperwork will be approved. Then, if everything is filed correctly, an immigrant and their family has to attend a nerve-racking immigration interview. This article will tell you what an immigrant should expect, but more importantly, how someone should prepare.
1. The Interview Notice
An interview notice serves two functions. First, it states when and where the interview will be. This notice is important. So, do not lose it. Second, the notice gives a checklist. In my experience, if someone was to compile all of the items in the checklist, there should be at least a 1/2 inch binder filled with required documents.
I have seen numerous people bring a few sheets of paper (required documents) to the interview. This may work, but if the immigration officer requests something you do not have, he or she may deny the green card application, require you to mail in an original document, or reschedule the interview for a later date. Being over-prepared is never bad in this situation.
2. Arrival and Check-in
The immigration interview may have taken months or years to become scheduled. After such a long wait, one should arrive and be checked-in at least 15 minutes early. If it is known that there will likely be traffic around or going to the interview’s location, give plenty of time. At my most recent visit to a USCIS Office, I saw quite a few couples/families that were late or just not prepared.
In my experience, the check-in process is quick and simple. All that you will need is appropriate identification and the Interview Notice. Once checked-in, you will be placed in a long line to be interviewed by an immigration officer. So, be ready to wait and try to relax.
3. Your Number is called and you initially see your immigration officer
Your immigration officer will come and get you to take you to his office. He has opened your file and looked at notes prior to getting you. Do not be afraid, he will ask that you place all of your things down because he will have to swear you and your family in. After being sworn in, you should collect your required documents and be ready to present them. The interview generally has two steps. The first is to prove identity and the second is to prove eligibility.
4. Step One: Identification
To prove identity, the office will request the following original documents:
- Driver’s License (if any)
- Immigrant’s passport, visa, and entry record
- Everyone’s birth certificate
- A Marriage Certificate
- Any Divorce Certificates
- Criminal record (if any)
This step is easy and brief. It exists primarily to assure that the right file was pulled and that the name and addresses are correct.
5. Step Two: Eligibility
This step is more stressful. This is where the immigration officer will question everything. He or she will request primary evidence, and if none exists, then secondary evidence. If you are unable to produce primary evidence or not a lot of primary evidence, you should seek the advice of an immigration attorney. (See Bona Fide Marriage Affidavits).
Primary evidence can be: (1) joint leases, mortgage, deed; (2) joint bank accounts and credit card statements; and (3) joint bills. Secondary Evidence can be: pictures and any other proofs of a relationship.
If the adjustment of status or green card application is not family-based or marriage-based, then proof of employment and any associated writings should be brought to the interview.
For a marriage-based petition, the couple should be very prepared and know everything about their spouse. It is not uncommon that the officer will separate the spouses (i.e. Stokes Interview) and ask identical questions to see if there are identical answers. If spouses fail to prove eligibility by a valid marriage, the immigration officer may conclude that marriage-fraud exists (i.e. fake marriage).
Common marriage-based green card interview questions are as follows:
- how did you meet?
- where did you go on a first date?
- why did you get married?
- who proposed?
- did you meet each other’s family?
- did you live together?
- where do you live?
- what is your address?
- when do you get up in the morning?
- where do you work?
- who cooks?
- when does a spouse arrive home from work?
- who handles the finances? pays the bills?
- who drove to the interview?
- how many cars do you have?
- what did you eat last night?
- what are you spouse’s hobbies?
- what are the names of the in-laws?
- What is your wife’s middle name?
6. Ending the Interview
Generally, you will not receive a determination of whether an application is approved. However, if you are well-prepared and do not waste any of the immigration officer’s time, he may give you an unofficial opinion on what he or she believes will occur. So, do not be shocked if you do not receive an approved stamp on your applications at the interview.
To the contrary, if the officer finds that you are missing a key document, he or she may state that this will delay the process by so many months and that another interview may be necessary.
If you have any concerns, you should speak with a local Immigration Attorney, or you may call Fickey Martinez Law Firm, P.L.L.C. at (910) 526-0066.
About our immigration law firm:
Fickey Martinez Law Firm, P.L.L.C. is an immigration and naturalization law firm serving Eastern North Carolina. We strive to make sure you understand the immigration laws that pertain to your specific circumstances. We frequently file with USCIS, NVC and DOS, and we can use this experience to better serve you.
Our Immigration Attorney uses online resources to better perform our service. We can meet you via Video Call, by PhoneIf, or at one of our offices located in:
- Greenville NC
- Fayetteville NC
- Jacksonville NC
- Morehead City NC
Check out more about our Law Firm by clicking the following link: Meet Our Immigration Team.
Tags: Green Card Interview, Adjustment of Status Interview, Immigration Interview, Adjustment of Status Interview Questions
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