Overcoming Immigration Hurdles: Tips for a Successful Marriage Green Card Interview
A marriage green card interview requires preparation and communication. Check out our immigration interview tips to ensure success on your first attempt.
A Marriage-based Green Card is possible through the conventional family-based routes available to beneficiaries and petitioners.
You could immigrate to the US based on marriage under the following circumstances:
- As an immediate relative, if you’re legally married to a US citizen;
- Under the family preference category F2A, if you’re legally married to a lawful permanent citizen (LPR).
On a side note, if you’re engaged to be married to a US citizen, you can apply for a K-1 or Fiancé(e) Visa. However, you will be required to marry your partner within 90 days of arriving in the US to request an adjustment of status to permanent residency.
Schedule an immigration law consultation to let us walk you through the intricate steps of marriage-based green card, from filing the petition to the immigration interview, which is the last and most important step for the beneficiary, aka foreign-born individual, being sponsored by their US-based spouse, petitioner, and sponsor.
We dedicate today’s blog to some useful marriage immigration interview tips to ensure a green card at the end of the line.
Revisit the Submitted Documents Before the Interview
You are usually called in for your biometrics and interview after the following steps are completed:
- The US-based spouse submits the I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and completes the I-130 package (provides supporting documents to establish a relationship with the beneficiary);
- The beneficiary applies for an adjustment of status if they are present in the US at the time or consular processing if they aren’t in the US at the time of the filing of the marriage-based petition.
During these two steps, you and your petitioning spouse must file several documents to prove your marriage is real, financial status, and health status and reveal other details of your life to the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services).
Needless to say, the process involves lots of paperwork, not to mention the many questions you and your spouse must answer in the forms.
Although these forms contain many mundane and seemingly unnecessary bits of information, the beneficiary and petitioner must revisit all tax returns, places of residence, employment histories, and what have you before the immigration interview to ensure their answers align with everything a USCIS officer sees in the documentation.
Consistency is the key to a successful interview, and the road, although tedious, ends in a permanent status in the US.
Discuss the Details of Your Relationship with Your Partner
People have different impressions of subjective experiences, such as how they saw their partner during the various stages of their relationship, how they proposed, how the family perceived their relationship, how they spend their downtime together, and so on.
You may assume certain things about your relationship that your partner may or may not agree with and vice versa. The smallest details of your life together may be scrutinized during the interview.
Communication is important in the days leading up to your interview. Spend some time in your spouse’s physical or virtual presence and review the facts and circumstances of your relationship. Get your story straight before you’re asked to share it during your immigration interview.
Dress the Part and Arrive Early
Dressing for an immigration interview is no different from doing so for a job interview. When in doubt, dress professionally and conventionally.
It’s the time for conservative button-downs, safe slacks, and sleek footwear. It’s also a good idea to avoid things that draw attention away from the purpose of the interview. All that can wait until you’re in the country.
Set out your clothes, jewelry, and other accessories the night before so that you can arrive at the USCIS local office early, avoid unnecessary stress, and look the part of someone who’s committed to the application process.
Stay Calm, Confident, and Respectful
Take a deep breath before entering the USCIS interview room. It will help you stay calm as you enter the room and maintain it even if the officer’s style of questioning is intimidating and nerve-wracking.
It’s rare for them to come across that way, but it’s entirely possible, seeing as their job involves verifying the legitimacy of your relationship. Remember not to take it personally, maintain eye contact, and answer the questions as clearly and concisely as possible. It’s okay to be a little nervous, given the gravity of the situation.
If you don’t understand a question, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. It’s better to seek clarity than to provide incorrect information.
Lastly, refrain from rude retorts, outright confrontations, and emotional outbursts, as that could end the interview immediately, and you’ll have your answer right there and then.
If you felt that the USCIS officer was unnecessarily rude or offensive, bide your time, finish the interview, and report them for misconduct after the fact.
Don’t Provide Incorrect Information or Outright Lie During Your Immigration Interview
A lie won’t end your interview as quickly as a rude confrontation, but it will result in rejection. Never lie or provide incorrect information to a USCIS officer. They could charge you for fraud or willful misrepresentation.
If you don’t know the answer to a question or are unsure, it’s better to be honest than give them a reason to think you are intentionally trying to misrepresent a material fact for a green card.
Along the same lines, try not to predict your spouse’s answers if they are not in the same room. Just provide answers from your perspective or say you don’t know.
Hire an Immigration Lawyer
If you have concerns about your interview or need personalized guidance, consider seeking legal advice from an immigration attorney. They can provide expert insights tailored to your specific situation. An attorney can prepare you for the interview with mock interviews, review of the case and evidence submitted, and anticipate issues along the way.
Contact with IBP Immigration Law, an immigration law firm founded by Ingrid Borges Perez, Esq., an immigration lawyer who has years of experience in immigration law and marriage-based green cards. When it comes to marriage-based immigration of all types, it is better to do it right the first time. Denials are expensive and can take a significantly longer to correct errors
Get in touch for questions and concerns regarding our firm’s immigration services.