Your spouse has filed for your green card and now after waiting for months you have to go to immigration for an interview. What should you expect from your marriage green card interview?
First of all it does matter what officer interviews you. They tend to be in one camp or the other. Some officers think their job is to assist immigrants and provide benefits available from their agency. The other camp believe they are essentially law enforcement. Obviously you want an officer from camp one. Your case won’t be automatically granted however it will be much more pleasant and the analysis of your application will be reasonable and rational. Remember if things do seem to be off the rails or unfair you can always ask for a supervisor.
Once the marriage green card interview begins there are essentially two buckets of analysis. First and maybe foremost are the pieces of paper. Otherwise known as joint documents. Remember to bring up to date documents to the interview as the documents submitted with your application are somewhat stale by the time of the interview. Make sure that these documents are originals to the extent they were not downloaded from the internet. The joint documents serve two purposes. They show that you both live at the same address and that you share you finances. Sharing your finances is primary, probably the primary, evidence of a bona fide marriage short of having a child together. These documents consist of utility bills, lease, deed, mortgage, insurance (auto, life, health etc), car title, cell phone family plan and maybe most important tax returns and joint bank accounts. Please be sure that your tax returns are filed as married and that your joint bank account has actual money in it and is active. A joint bank account with a $20 balance that has not been touched for years is probably more harmful than helpful.
The second bucket of analysis is you and your spouse at the interview. The officers by and large have a great deal of experience doing marriage based interviews and take a pretty quick read of the room. They are good at observing your personal interaction and will ask specific questions evoke the nature of your relationship. I often joke that if you argue at an interview your marriage is real. Officers sometimes open with questions like, “How did you get to the interview today?” or “What did you have for dinner last night?” to determine if you live together. The remainder of the questions generally fall into three categories. How did you meet, how did you decide to get married and the details of the wedding. So it’s good review these things with your partner so that you don’t contradict one another.
More aggressive officers may separate you and ask you each a series of questions to see if your answers match. This is rarely done any more in my experience.
Many times as the interview proceeds most officers will decide, fairly quickly, if your application will be approved and if so, the interview will become more social and less officious. The officers usually somewhat bored with their job and are ready to spend some time socializing.
Very often at the conclusion of the interview the officer will not let you know what they’ve decided. I find that the officers that will let you know are more senior experienced officers and not as concerned that they missed something.
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