The key to a smooth interview is preparation. If you haven’t looked at the forms we have sent to the government in a while now is a good time to look at them. Please let us know if there are any changes or corrections that must be made.
What to Review
To prepare for the oral part of the interview, your most important homework task is to review your paperwork. Look at the questions and answers on every form we have submitted for you. Though they seem to contain only boring, dry bits of information, this information is loaded with meaning to a USCIS or consular official. The dates of your visits to different places, the financial figures, and your immigration history can all add up to a revealing picture in the officer’s eyes.
After you’ve reviewed your written work, spend some time with your fiancé or spouse reviewing the facts and circumstances surrounding your relationship, such as where you met, how your relationship developed, how you’ve corresponded or visited and when, and why you decided to get married.
If you’re applying for a fiancé visa, be ready to explain your plans for your wedding and subsequent life together. If you’re already married, recall what occurred at your wedding and how you settled into your marriage. The officer will ask you about these details to test whether you are truly establishing a life together, not just committing a fraud to obtain a green card.
We will want to discuss the interview with you two weeks before your interview date. At this mock interview we will review the paperwork with you, demonstrate how the interview will be conducted and answer questions you may have. This part of the preparation is very important. Often we discover information that may cause a question in the officer’s mind. With this preparation we can identify what additional evidence or information to present at the interview, to make it easier for the officer to approve your case.
What to Wear
The interviewing officer’s decision rests almost entirely on whether he or she believes that you’re telling the truth. You’ll come across as more sincere if you’re dressed neatly, professionally, and even conservatively. Avoid T-shirts or jewelry with slogans or symbols that might make the officer wonder about your lifestyle or morals. We suggest that you dress as if you would visit your grandmother or church. Think about what you’ll wear to your interview earlier than the night before, so that you’re not up late with your ironing board.
What to Bring
You’ll need to bring several documents to your interview, to prove your identity, the validity of your marriage, and more. We will send you a list and sample letters, after we receive your interview notice.
Arrange for an Interpreter
Neither USCIS nor our office provides interpreters at interviews in the United States. A few of their officers speak Spanish or other languages, but you can’t count on getting a bilingual officer, nor can you request one. If you’re not comfortable in English, you must bring a friend or hire an interpreter to help. Even if your spouse can interpret for you, the USCIS office probably won’t allow it.
The interpreter must be over 18 and fluent in both your language and in English. The interpreter be a legal resident or citizen of the United States.
Procedures for USCIS Interviews
About three to four months after you submit your adjustment of status packet to USCIS, USCIS will schedule your interview at one of its local offices, hopefully near where you live. This could be your biggest day since your wedding: If the interview goes well—your marriage is obviously the real deal, you don’t fall into any of the grounds for inadmissibility, and your documents are in order— the interview can take as little as 20 minutes. If you have children in common, USCIS is much less likely to question whether your marriage is bona fide. You will be approved for permanent residence or conditional residence (if you’ve been married for less than two years or entered the United States on a fiancé visa).
What the USCIS Officials Will Do and Say
Although hundreds of very different couples are interviewed each day across the United States, these interviews follow a pattern. Here’s what will probably happen at your adjustment interview, step by step.
1. Shortly after your scheduled interview time, you’ll be summoned to the inner rooms of the USCIS adjustments office.
2. You’ll be brought to the USCIS officer’s desk, where your identification will be checked. You, your spouse, and your interpreter (if you’ve brought one) will have to stand up, raise your right hands, and take oaths to tell the truth. The officer will ask to see all of your passports and travel documents, your work permit (if you have one), your Social Security card (if you have one), and your driver’s license (if you have one). The officer will also want to see documents from your spouse, such as a driver’s license, Social Security card (if available), and proof of legal U.S. immigration status.
3. The officer will start by going through your written application, asking you about the facts and examining the medical and fingerprint reports for factors that might make you ineligible for a green card.
4. The officer will ask you and your spouse about your married life. At this stage, the questions will be polite ones, such as where you met, when and why you got married, how many people attended your wedding, or what you did on your most recent birthday or night out. You’ll back up your answers with documents that illustrate the genuine nature of your marriage, examples are listed below.
5. If there’s a problem in your application you can correct by submitting additional materials, the officer will usually put your case on hold and send you home with a list of additional documents to provide by mail within a specified time. This is called a “Request for Evidence”.
At the end of the interview, if you are approved, you will be given a letter stating that your case is approved. The letter is just for your records and cannot be used like a green card to travel in and out of the United States. Several weeks later, however, your actual green card will arrive by mail. If you receive conditional residence, you must apply about 21 months from your approval date to progress to permanent residency.
Contact Geygan & Geygan Today for a Free Case Evaluation
If you or your spouse is seeking to adjust your immigrant status on the basis of marriage, contact our highly experienced Ohio immigration attorneys at Geygan & Geygan, Ltd. as soon as possible. The interview process is very important to any application for an adjustment of immigrant status. Having an attorney by your side will send a message to USCIS you and your spouse are legitimately married and are serious about being upstanding United States residents. Further, having one of our attorneys by your side will provide you with some comfort and confidence, making the interview process less stressful. To schedule your free case evaluation, call our office at 513-791-1673, or you may contact us online to schedule your appointment. We look forward to helping you get on the right path to permanent resident status and citizenship.