Law Offices of Steven A. Culbreath, P.A. -- Immigration Lawyer, St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, Florida, USA

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Greencard Interview

In most cases, assuming your Greencard case was duly filed in good faith, You normally have nothing to fear from the Greencard interview at your local USCIS office.  Most interviews are based on Marriage between a U.S. Citizen (the “Petitioner”), and the Foreign-born spouse (the “Beneficiary”).

Here are some general recommendations I have put together, based on my many years’ experience and having attended many interviews over the years, and also based on personal feedback from clients and other lawyers.



Attorney Attendance and Role

Generally, lawyers ARE permitted to attend an interview with a client, however, our role to advocate is often very limited, and mostly consists of listening and observing (during the interview). But we do what we can to keep the USCIS officer honest and professional.  We are generally NOT permitted to answer questions on your behalf. Where appropriate, we can clarify or make objections.

Unless the USCIS officer permits, we generally CANNOT act as your interpreter, because we are not considered “impartial”, because due to our role as YOUR advocate and legal representative, we have a vested interest in your case being granted/ approved.



Arriving at Your Interview

You should always allow yourself ample time for your travel and arrival. Be at USCIS office 15-30 minutes early. Once you are allowed to enter, and you have gone through personal security screening upon entering the building (metal detector, etc.), and you have obtained your ticket number at the check-in counter, seat yourself in the general waiting area (perhaps go to the bathroom first!), as instructed, but sit as close to the door where USCIS officers come out to call-up clients as possible, to make sure you hear when your case is called.



The Interview

Once the officer calls your case, follow them to the office or window where the interview will be conducted. The officer will introduce themselves, explain the purpose of the interview to you (which is to combat possible marriage-fraud), and place you under Oath (you have to tell the truth, as the interview is considered an official proceeding with testimony).

 

The officer will then proceed to review your file, verify information for accuracy, correctness, and completeness, while asking you questions. Just be yourself, act normally and naturally, and answer all questions as truthfully and honestly (but simply) as possible.  It’s perfectly OK to ask for clarifications, to say “I don’t remember”, etc. It’s usually not advisable to make things up or lie…



What to Expect

If the interview is based on MARRIAGE, the personal questions will not necessarily test your knowledge of “facts and figures” (such as dates, names, etc.), but rather seek specific information about your relationship and daily life together.  It’s pretty important that you and your spouse are both on agreement on these types of items:

  • where did you meet?

  • when did you meet?

  • how did you meet?

  • questions about dating, marriage-proposal, the wedding, honeymoon, etc.

  • moving in together, etc.

  • having kids, not having kids, etc.

Also, expect seemingly random questions about your day-to-day life together, in terms of your daily habits, etc.  The USCIS officer is generally NOT trying to embarrass you, but rather get a sense for if you both live together, in marital union, under one household, as a “normal couple”.



What to Bring with You

Prepare your additional supporting documents by:

  • making a set of your own documents, like your “originals”, and

  • an equal set of documents for the USCIS officer to keep / use.

You should include any items that will have changed, become updated, or become available AFTER your case was originally filed.  This should include, for example:

  • changes in address (rent / lease / own),

  • changes of employment,

  • changes in finances, banking, insurance, etc.

  • recent utility bills, bank account statements, etc.

Also be sure to bring:

  • Foreign Spouse’s Passport, temp. Work-/Travel-Permit card,  SSN-Card, State Driver License, Birth Certificate,

  • Marriage Document,

  • Divorce Document(s) of either spouse  (if previously married),

  • U.S. Spouse’s Passport, SSN-Card, State Driver License, Birth Certificate,

  • U.S. Spouse’s Federal Tax Returns for the most recent 3-5 years.

  • USCIS Interview Appointment Notice

  • Selection of photographs (dating, wedding, travels together, family, etc.) — photos must be printed out on paper, no digital photos on devices or USB stick.

  • Proof of Birth of any children of the marriage

  • Criminal Documents/Records (if applicable)



The End of the Interview / Further Steps

There IS some possibility that the USCIS officer might request a new Medical Exam Result (I-693) because the old one might have expired. If that happens, go back to where you had your original medical exam done, explain the situation, and mail in the new envelope to the USCIS officer, following the interview.  There is usually no need to return to USCIS in person a second time.

 

Most often, in the majority of case, the “WORST” case scenario for your interview, in all likelihood, is that the USCIS officer might possibly want some document(s) or other item(s) that you currently do not have with you at the interview.

 

In that case, they will finish the interview, issue you a letter (“Request For Evidence”), explaining what you need to obtain and provide, and then you have a certain deadline by which to MAIL-IN the missing item(s).

 

Once they receive and review what you sent in, they will finalize the approval and issue the card. This can take several weeks, before Approval is sent. Following your case’s Approval, the actual Greencard production will be ordered, and the card will then arrive by mail within a few weeks.

 

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Law Offices of Steven A. Culbreath, P.A. -- Immigration Lawyer, St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, Florida, USA © 2017. All Rights Reserved. No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask me to send you free written information about my qualifications and experience. Florida F.& A.M.