Prepare for Marriage-Based Green Card Interview

If you are preparing for the marriage based Green Card interview, there are helpful resources available online including this article. These will make a complicated interview process simpler. Attending an interview is the most important part of the marriage based Green Card application process.

American Green Card:

An American Green Card is one of the most sought possessions across the globe. There are several benefits to getting a U.S. Green Card. You are free to work, study, and live in the U.S, use certain government benefits and help your family move to the United States, popularly known as the land of immigrants.

Other benefits include getting a driver’s license and being eligible for Social Security. You can also travel in and out of the U.S. subject to certain conditions. While there are quite a few ways through which you can get a Green Card, getting one through marriage is a familiar one.

After the USCIS completes reviewing your Green Card application, your case will be transferred to their local office near the place where you and your spouse reside. You will be notified about the interview date and time. You have to attend the interview along with your spouse. If you are residing abroad, the process is slightly different. Instead of the USCIS, the State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) will review your Green Card application.

Once the review is completed, NVC will send your application to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that is in charge of processing Green Card applications in the country where you currently reside. You will receive information from the Consulate about the interview details. In this case, your spouse who is sponsoring you for a Green Card need not attend the interview. 

There have been many instances where fake marriages take place just for the sake of getting a Green Card. So, you will need to prove that your marriage is genuine and did not happen for immigration benefits. You and your spouse might be interviewed together or interviewed separately by different USCIS officers. This is commonly known as the “Stokes Interview.”

If interviewed separately, USCIS’ Fraud Detection and National Security Unit Officers will conduct the interview. You and your spouse will be questioned separately and your answers will be compared. Hence, it is advised that you discuss with your spouse beforehand even the tiniest of things about your marriage to prove that it is genuine.

What You Need To Do :

You have to spend some time with your spouse well ahead of your interview to discuss certain things that will lead to a smooth interview experience. Please keep in mind that the main purpose of this interview is to check if your marriage is genuine. So just think in that aspect and collect information that will support the cause.

Get all your documents that are related to the Green Card process ready. Passports, a marriage certificate, to mention a few. Photographs of your wedding and other occasions will be handy to prove the authenticity of your marriage. Any other proof such as birth certificates of your children (if any) and joint bank accounts will be extremely useful. Make sure to include travel documents showing you traveled with your spouse. 

Discuss with your spouse certain simple issues. You can expect the following questions. 

Wedding details 

  1. Where did you both first meet?
  2. Detail the proposal experience?
  3. What gifts did you both exchange? 
  4. Where and when did your marriage take place?
  5. Where did you go for your honeymoon and how many days did you stay?

Daily Chores

  1. Who gets up first in the morning?
  2. Does your spouse exercise? 
  3. Who cooks at home?
  4. How often do you both go out?
  5. How do you commute to the office?
  6. What is your evening schedule after work?

Likes/Dislikes

  1. What is your spouse’s favorite food?
  2. What is your spouse’s hobby?
  3. What is your spouse’s favorite sport?
  4. Tourist destinations that you have been to?

Family

  1. How many kids do you have?
  2. School details
  3. In-laws specifics
  4. Children’s favourite food/subject/game
  5. What is your kid’s nickname?
  6. Children’s school timings

Important dates

  1. Birthdays and Anniversaries
  2. What are celebrations like?
  3. What gifts do you buy for each other? 

The Public Charge Rule:

The public charge rule is a new immigration policy alteration which in fact turns the already difficult process more difficult for applicants pursuing a Green Card through marriage. To explain the rule in simple terms, the forms and applications that you have to complete have increased. You have to furnish more information about yourself and your spouse. This information can be as old as up to the past decade. The process is lengthy. You need not worry if the new rule will affect your chances of getting your application approved. You just have to collect old records and spend more time preparing for the interview. 

What Happens After the Interview?

If the officers are convinced that your marriage is genuine and find no traces of fraudulent intentions, they will inform you that your case is approved. 

Otherwise, the officer will issue a Request for Evidence, commonly known in immigration terms as RFE. This means the officer is not fully convinced and needs additional information and/or documentation to prove your case. Here you can furnish documentation that you did not provide during your original interview. This may include bills that you paid jointly. Written statements from relatives and friends who know about your marriage will also be of help. 

Another outcome could be where you are asked to wait for a decision from the USCIS officers and they will require an additional review. In this case, you need to keep an eye on your mailbox for any information you get from the USCIS. In certain instances, you might have to attend a second interview to discuss additional information. The USCIS will notify you if they require a second interview. If you are abroad, you will receive this information from the U.S. Consulate in the place where you live. 

The worst case is when the USCIS officer is not convinced and denies your case. The officer can deny your case immediately and will tell you in person about the denial during your interview itself. Reasons for the denial may include not furnishing sufficient documents or suspicious immigration history among several others. Just imagine if you are the immigration officer: what sort of questions will you ask to check if the marriage is authentic? Be prepared to answer those questions yourself. You can also ask a friend or relative to conduct a mock immigration interview to be prepared.

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