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”). Or the interview could be among a U.S.-Citizen relative sponsoring a foreign-born immediate relative.
Here are some general recommendations I have put together, based on my nearly 20 years’ experience, and having attended many interviews over the years, and also based on ongoing personal feedback from clients and other lawyers, and recent interview-experiences.
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. Do your best NOT to be late!
Be at USCIS office 15-30 minutes early.
Once you are allowed to enter, go through personal security screening upon entering the building (metal detector, etc.).
Follow all COVID-related instructions.
Check in at the counter and obtain your ticket number, then seat yourself in the general waiting area (perhaps go to the bathroom first!), but sit as close to the door at the rear-left of the room, where USCIS officers come out to call-up clients as possible, to make sure you hear when your case is called.
You could be called by LAST NAME(s) or by TICKET NUMBER.
The officer calling you will greet you at the door and ask you to follow them to their respective office. (he/she may introduce themselves to you, or they may not)
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 immigration-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 at the Interview
(A) 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”.
(B) If the interview is based on FAMILY-relationship, there won’t be many specific questions about your relationship and daily life together, as there would be in a marriage-based case. In Family-based cases, the qualifying relationship is pretty “black-&-white”, either you are related or you are not. No real “grey area”. This may be a bit different in terms of Step-Parent and Step-Child relationships, as it’s not as easy to prove when the “step-relationship” started, as relates to the age of the child at the time.
What to Prepare and What to Bring with You: (regardless of your case type)
USCIS Interview Appointment Notice
Government-issued UNexpired photo I.D. for every person attending the interview.
Your other supporting documents (see below)
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 definitely bring 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), — have you MOVED/RELOCATED since filing the case?
changes of employment,
changes in finances, banking, insurance, etc.
recent utility bills, bank account statements, etc. to prove actual residence. (IF you recently moved between U.S. States, you should have a NEW driver license of the NEW state you moved to, otherwise USCIS may cancel / reschedule the interview, if they believe they do not have proper jurisdiction!)
Also be sure to bring: (Bring Original / Certified Copy where possible!)
IF CURRENTLY MARRIED: Current Marriage Document of both the Petitioner and Beneficiary,
IF PREVIOUSLY MARRIED, Divorce Document(s) of either the Petitioner and Beneficiary. (if widowed, then Death Certificate of any deceased spouse)
U.S. Petitioner (Sponsoring Relative) Passport, SSN-Card, State Driver License, Birth Certificate,
Birth Certificate and Passport (if available), for any minor child (under 21),
U.S. Petitioner (Sponsoring Relative) recent Federal Tax Returns for the most recent 3-5 years if possible.
Foreign spouse/family member’s recent U.S. Federal Tax Returns, ONLY IF LEGALLY working in the U.S. already (based on other immigration status / work permit)
any Criminal Documents/Records — U.S. and non-U.S. (if applicable)
FOR MARRIAGE-Based Cases ONLY:
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 born of the marriage
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, as soon as possible, following the interview.
There is usually no need to return to USCIS in person a second time.
Most often, in the majority of cases, the “WORST” case scenario for your interview, in all likelihood, is that the USCIS officer might possibly want to see 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, either to you directly, or your lawyer (if you have one).
"Steven has helped me file for dual citizenship. He is very knowledgeable and it helped that he speaks English & German fluently. He gave great advise and worded things right so that my Beibehaltungsantrag was approved. I already recommended him to friends and will keep on doing so."
"Steven has made the process of applying for a US green card painless. He met with us and clearly stated the process & timeline we would expect so we wouldn't have any concerns. Any paperwork that was required was clearly documented so the process of filling out went very smoothly. All in all
"I am so happy I was recommended to Steven to help me with my Green Card. He is very Professional, friendly and caring to deal with. Everything for me worked out great thanks to Steven. I highly recommend him to anyone. I rate him 5 stars!"
"Following my marriage to a St Pete lady and the sale of my London UK apartment, I needed to secure USCIS approval for permanent residency. I knew that the services of a lawyer was essential in the very daunting approval process. A Google search showed that Steve was an immigration expert with a ver
"Steven's resourcefulness and diligence really helps him to stand out from other attorneys. He has a commitment and passion for his work, which has been evident during our business relationship. He accomplished in a few short months what I had been trying to achieve with no less than 3 different att
"After talking to no less than 6 immigration lawyers we finally found Steven. None of the other lawyers could answer any of our specific questions regarding various visa options like Steven could. It was such a breath if fresh air and such a relief to finally get answers to our questions. Steven re
"I have known Steven for a few years now and got to the point where my green card needed reviewing. He did a fantastic job,helping me through the process.
I had a worry this wasn't going through as more & more information was required and due to my situation it was very difficult to provide. S
"Mr. Culbreath was an exceptional lawyer from the start. He was professional and friendly. He was very responsive and never hesitated to answer any of our questions. We are very glad that we chose him as our immigration lawyer!"
"My husband and I got married in Italy, my country of origin. Steven helped us get through the arduous status-adjustment process, making our life much easier. He handled all the paperwork for us and dealt with whatever hiccup we encountered, resending documents when USCIS requested them and giving u
"From the first time I communicated with Steve Culbreath, before I had made the decision to hire him as my lawyer, he stood out amongst the multitude of lawyers I had made contact with about my case. He not only responded within 24 hours and treated me with professional courtesy, but he had reviewed
"On receiving documents in German, requiring for me a translation and documents requiring notarization by a Rechtsanwalt, I learned about Atty Culbreath and made an appointment. Mr Culbreath provided an English translation, notarized the German document documents and did it at a most reasonable fee.
"Steven was fantastic! We hired him for our US Immigration via marriage. Canada -> USA. Personable, informed, relaxed, and answered all our questions and concerns to a T. Smooth sailing. I'd recommend him 100%! Thank you!!"
"Steven Culbreath handled my naturalization. It was a very swift & smooth process. No 'if's' and 'but's'. Steven explained the process to me, he send me a package with forms to fill out and off it went - less than 5 month. Always responsive when a question arose, which rarely happened anyways. I
"Numerous disappointing attempts with immigration lawyers preceded my contact with Steven Culbreath. With the other attorneys we always had the feeling that making money was of more importance than dealing with our issues. After we had almost given up hope, we tried once again and made contact with
"We hired Steve based on these reviews and I could not be any happier with my choice and the result. From the very first meeting to the last Steve was amazing he answered every question we had and put my mind to rest on so many issues. I have been on visa's for many years and it was always hard work
"Dedicated and trustworthy are the first words I think of when describing Steve. He was recommended by a friend to help me with my citizenship process and I was not disappointed. He personally handled my case, was very knowledgeable of the intricacies, and provided support promptly every step of the
"We hired Steve because we needed some assistance with my greencard application. Our situation was a little uncommon as we met in central america and have been living there for the past few years. He helped us straighten everything out and since last month i got my card :) It was also nice to discu
"If you are reading these reviews, you are probably looking for a good lawyer. You can stop now :) He is your guy, just contact him. He was confident and truly knowledgeable about the whole process we needed to follow. The result, we are extremely happy. I thought this day would never come until I t
"Steve is an excellent attorney! Very helpful and knowledgeable with every aspect of your situation. He responds quickly and helps you through each part of the process. Down to earth, NICE person. It is sometimes tough to figure out all of the paperwork and what is needed for immigration cases. Stev
"My wife and I met with Steve in October 2012. We were married in December 2012, and began our application process shortly afterwards. Steve gave us a flat price up front and never asked for additional funds. Our original attempt to have the marriage certified and for my wife to obtain legal residen
"If you want the best you need Steven, he is knowledgeable, honest, detailed oriented, he really know what he is doing and he is an incredible human being. there is no difficult case for him and I will always be thankful for choosing him as a lawyer."
"Steve handled my marriage-based petition for myself and my husband. He previously reviewed my case and gave me advice for a very small consultation fee, and then once we got married took us through the process for that. I just received my green card and so have completed the process. Along the way,
"It is with Great Pleasure and enthusiasm that I am writing to endorse Steve Culbreath as a Professional Attorney. I hope my perspective will be helpful to you as you evaluate this exceptional Attorney. He has gone above and beyond my expectations and achieved Results which were out of my reach.He
"Steve is in my eyes a well experienced attorney who helped me and my kids throughout all steps of becoming our US citizenships. All paperwork, appointments, extra needed contacts which were necessary was perfectly prepared. Most important was that he was there when I needed him. He responded just
"Mr. Culbreath did an excellent job in representing my case to USCIS. Very professional, knowledgeable, competent, always made sure all paperwork was completed thoroughly along with any needed supporting documents. He promptly addressed any question or issues we may have had and provided me with e
"Steve is a highly knowledgeable and competent attorney. My case was very complicated and emotionally draining and I felt very well understood. Everything went exactly as predicted by Steve. He is fast, precise and from a human standpoint has a lot of empathy. I hired him again!"
"Attorney Culbreath assisted my husband and I through my husband's immigration. His fees were the best around. We completed the rough draft of the paper work and he did the formal completion and let us know what documents were expected. He submitted eveything quickly and kept us informed of the stat
"Steven was a pleasure to work with. I first contacted him unsure if I was going to hire a lawyer for my case, until my first consultation with Steven. It became apparent that I needed his expertise. I'm happy to say that throughout the process Steve was clear and knowledge about our case and how he
"Frustrated by multiple and complex USCIS requirements for my EU spouse during relocation to the US, Attorney Culbreath immediately understood our situation and advised on what to do. His advice and direction was exactly the correct way to proceed. He was timely, efficient and communicative during t
"We have now known Steve for more than a year - my wife (a US citizen) and myself (a British citizen) first met him in June/July 2013 when we were searching for a trustworthy and reputable immigration attorney, whilst taking a sabbatical in Florida. Our first meeting with Steve over coffee in St Pet
"After listening to many peoples stories and complaints about their lawyers we finally heard great things about a lawyer called Steven Culbreath. We hired Steven and it was a great decision. He is very knowledgeable and experienced and with his patience and hard work we were succcessful in receiving
"Steve did an an excellent job helping me with my E2 visa application approval. He is a very professional, competent, knowledgeable, and approachable lawyer. I would refer him to anyone I know. Thank you Steve!!"
"Steven Culbreath handled our application for US residence in a highly professional and efficient manner. We met on more than one occasion to discuss and deal with the formalities then were kept regularly informed of progress until the application was approved and the process completed. We found Ste
"I'm very glad that I came across such knowledgeable lawyer such as Steven, when I was hunting for Immigration Attorney on the Internet. Steven promptly replied to my request and provided detailed overview of my case including possible outcomes without any exaggeration and embellishment. My case w
"Steven made the way to my green card seem effortless. He kept me always very well informed and guided me through the entire procedure in a very professional and efficient way. I'm very grateful for his hard work.Steven made the way to my green card seem effortless. He kept me always very well infor
"Mr. Culbreath is the best. My family and I met Mr. Culbreath when we were in a very desperate situation. With his knowledge and competence he was able to help us. He is not just competent he is also reliable, quick and very smart. It is always a pleasure to work with him."
"Steven was a pleasure to deal with throughout my whole green card application process. He was easy to contact and always answered any questions I had in a timely manner. We had a meeting before my interview and I felt very prepared and much less worried. I've already recommended him to a friend of
"My husband and I hired Steven to take on our case to get my husbands green card/marriage visa for the US. From the moment I met Steven I knew I made the right choice. Not only is he very knowledgable but also professional and kept us at ease throughout our entire process. He made the process smooth
"When my Green Card process started, I hired Steve first because he is a German speaking Attorney (due to the fact that I immigrated from Germany), but already after the first meeting we had great chemistry. I felt absolutely comfortable to be consulted by such knowledgeable, fair and to-the-point
"I hired Steven to obtain an E2 visa and he delivered exactly what he promised at a reasonable price. His work was totally professional and the process was seem less. As a lawyer myself I know when I am being professionally represented and clearly that was my experience with Steven. 5 out of 5 stars
"I felt very comfortable working together with Steve Culbreath. Thanks to his help the whole process went faster and easier than I expected. I will always recommend Steve as a positive, professional and helpful lawyer."
"Steve made a great job! He filled all the forms that I needed for my Green card. He also kept me informed what is going on with my status. After everything was done and the actual Green card already should be mailed to me, the card status appeared to be delivered on my status but it never was! So I
"He worked very hard to make my dream come true. Great guy, great service. Very knowledgeable. If you want to have your case dealt with in the best possible way, hire Steven. Highly recommended. Thanks so much Steve."
"My husband was immigrating from England and we were looking for an attorney to help with the paperwork. We met with several attorneys and decided to sign Mr. Culbreath. He kept us informed, in a timely manner, every step of the way. After gathering all needed information, he filed the paperwork wit
"After dealing with 2 other immigration attorney's, we were referred by a friend, to Steven Culbreath. What a pleasure to deal with Steven! He is very knowledgeable, at all times professional and yet made us feel at so at ease. This was the most stress-free application that we have submitted. I can
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.