Tips for a Green Card Marriage Interview
The green card marriage interview can be stressful, so knowing what to expect is important. There are also some things you can do to make it run a lot more smoothly.
Here’s what you need to know.
Both you and your spouse need to go.
They’ll want to interview both of you, so you both need to be there.
You’ll need to bring a lot of paperwork.
Start with your ID, your passport, and your copy of the interview notice: the three things you’ll need to get into the building at all.
You’ll also need your marriage license, as well as all of the documentation which proves you’ve built a life together. This includes joint bank accounts, tax returns, utility bills, leases or mortgages, car, health, and life insurance documents, and car notes.
Note: a lot of married couples tend to be scattered about who is on what bill. For example one spouse may be on the house note and one may be on the electric bill. That’s fine for spouses who aren’t trying to navigate the immigration process. When you are? Long before your interview, you’re going to want to get all of those accounts into both names because the joint documentation is what the immigration officers want to see.
If you are running short on documentation you can grab affidavits from family members, friends, neighbors, from your house of worship or from others who might be able to attest to the fact that you are honestly married.
Be ready for long lines and long waits.
Security lines are extremely long, and you’ll want to leave yourself way more than the 30 minutes in the letter to get into the building at all. It will take time to park and get through the lines.
You can make things easier on yourself by security by avoiding belts, skipping the jewelry, and keeping your pockets free from change.
You might want to bring a book or something to do as you’ll probably spend a couple of hours in the waiting room. Wait quietly and patiently: annoying the staff at the immigration office could backfire.
Know how to answer your interview questions.
You’ll need to get into the habit of offering audible yesses or nos, starting with “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
Note that you’re going to be asked every question on the I-485 form. These questions all have to be answered out loud. Keep in mind they may sound a little offensive, but there’s no help for it. The immigration officer has to ask. Let them ask the full, complete question and answer out loud.
After that, you may be asked anything from where your first date was to what you had for dinner last night. Just answer honestly, even if you don’t remember something or don’t know the answer. Not knowing the answer to a question isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker: lying is.
You can bring your lawyer.
You should definitely see a lawyer prior to your interview if you have any issues that you’re worried about, like a previous divorce or arrest. There is paperwork that can be put together to mitigate these issues, paperwork you’ll need to bring, but you might have trouble putting it together if you don’t have an attorney’s help.
Furthermore, bringing an attorney can help a great deal with the interview as it may reduce the amount of time the immigration officer spends trying to trip you up.
Ultimately, if you’re honestly married and you’ve come prepared, you don’t have much to worry about. Yet it’s sometimes difficult to know when you’ve done enough to get ready for your green card interview. Not sure? Contact our offices today to schedule a consultation.
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