1. Applying for a Marriage-Based Green Card
Marriage-based green cards are the quickest route for immigrants to obtain permanent U.S. residence. Because of this, immigration officials need to conduct interviews to verify that the marriage is genuine and not used to evade immigration laws. For Adjustment of Status cases, USCIS interviews the couple in the U.S., for consular processing cases, the foreign spouse is interviewed at the U.S. consulate abroad.
Interview questions could tackle the following topics:
- How the couple met
- Their friends and family
In applying for a marriage-based green card, it’s important to establish that the marriage is legally valid and deemed official in the area where it was facilitated. The marriage must be based on a genuine relationship, which is determined through the documents submitted and an interview.
To get a marriage-based green card, here are some of the requirements that must be accomplished:
- The beneficiary must be married to a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
- The marriage between the petitioner and green card candidate must be legally valid.
- The petitioner must prove, through an affidavit of support, that they have the capability to support their spouse financially.
- The petitioner must be residing in the U.S. If they are living abroad, they must prove that they intend to return to the country.
2. How to Prepare for a Marriage-Based Green Card Interview for Adjustment of Process
The marriage-based green card interview will be conducted at the USCIS office by an immigration officer. This will typically occur several months after a petition for the marriage-based green card is filed, often about a year so later. The primary objective of the interview is to establish the validity of a couple’s relationship and assess how genuine it is.
The interview process will begin once a couple arrives at the USCIS office. Officers will observe the couple’s behavior and how they interact with one another. The couple will be led into an interview room where they will be questioned by an officer. The interview can last between 30 to 60 minutes. The couple has the option to take an attorney with them to the interview. At the interview, the officer will direct each question to the person who should respond. Questions related to issues of fact are to be answered by the petitioner or beneficiary, depending on who the officer directs the question to, and questions related to issues of law would generally be answered by the attorney (if the couple decides to take an attorney with them to the interview).
3. Marriage-Based Green Card Interview Questions
At the interview, the officer will ask questions about the couple’s relationship, about information on the applications submitted, and about the finances/employment about the couple. Information about the couple’s relationship could be centered on information about the couple’s lives, how they met, how they got engaged, and what their wedding was like. The officer could also ask what the other partner is like in the relationship, how their relationship progressed, how their families are, and anything else that may fall under the umbrella of those types of questions. The officer will also go through the application, and review questions on the application, such as address, employment, any arrests or criminal convictions, etc. The officer will also inquire about whether the petitioner’s employment to ensure that the petitioner can still support the beneficiary.
Each partner in the relationship must be on the same page, and they must know details of the other partner. It’s natural and understandable for a couple to be nervous about the interview, so preparing for it ahead of time would be a big help in making sure the interview goes smoothly.
4. Marriage-Based Green Card Interview Tips
While a marriage-based green card interview can be stressful, a couple can prepare for it in advance to ease nerves and ensure a smoother process. Here are a few tips that applicants can keep in mind:
- Dress appropriately and arrive on schedule
First impressions are vital, especially during the marriage-based green card interview. The couple should dress in appropriate attire. Additionally, it would be good for them to be at their interview venue at least a few minutes earlier than their scheduled time.
- Plan for possible questions that may be asked
The immigration officer may ask a range of questions. It’s advisable to prepare to answer any question related to the couple’s relationship. It would also do well for the couple to discuss their relationship with one another to establish key details. However, it’s important to make sure that the answers don’t sound too rehearsed, as this may be a potential red flag for officers.
- Act normally throughout the interview
Officers will be on the lookout for any red flags and signs that point to marriage fraud. Couples should have a calm and composed demeanor, and they should interact with each other as they normally would. This will help them keep calm during the interview, answer the questions the best they can, and avoid arousing suspicion.
- Consult with a lawyer
Couples should consult with their attorney if they have questions regarding their green card petition. They may also prepare for the interview with their attorney because their attorney would know their case best. In some instances, if their first interview raised suspicions of fraud, a couple will be called in for a Stokes interview. This second interview involves a deeper level of questioning and can last much longer.
Our team at Ramchand & Raval can provide couples with the guidance they need during a marriage-based green card process. We are an immigration law firm dedicated to empowering individuals and strengthening their case. Get an expert on your side and schedule a consultation with us today.