Three Steps to Prepare for Marriage-Based Immigration Green Card Interview
After you and your spouse submit the case for your foreign spouse's green card in the U.S., you will both be called in for an interview at USCIS. Generally, you will receive a notice with the interview date about 3-4 weeks in advance. It is very important that both of you spend the time to prepare for the interview including gathering documents and going over the details with your immigration attorney. You and your spouse are required to attend the interview together. If, for whatever reason, you cannot make it to the interview on the scheduled date, you can request to reschedule your interview.
Follow these 3 Steps to Prepare for Your Marriage Based Green Card Interview:
1. Review the Interview Notice: A list of instructions is given on the Interview Notice. It tells you who needs to attend the interview and what to bring with you to the interview. Most of the documents listed on the Interview Notice should have already been submitted. Usually, you would only have to bring the original documents such as the Marriage Certificate, Birth Certificates for both you and your spouse, Court Records, Passport to the interview. Copies of these documents should have already been submitted with your initial package.
2. Gather New Documents: As a married couple, you need to bring documents showing that you and your spouse are residing together, co-mingling funds and any other documents to "prove" your marriage. Some of the basic documents are lease agreement or mortgage statements showing both of your names, joint income tax filings, insurance policy showing both of your names, joint bank statements. You can also bring pictures showing holidays spent with extended family, vacations you took, special events such as celebrating birthdays and anniversaries with friends and family. It's better to have pictures with family and friends than just the two of you to show that the people close to you know about your marriage. Remember, your goal is to prove to the interviewing officer that your marriage is a legitimate, bona-fide marriage.
3. Mock Interview: It is always a good idea to do a mock interview with your immigration attorney. An experienced attorney can go over in detail exactly how the interview will go. After the basic information on the forms are verified (e.g., name, address, date of birth, etc.), the officer will ask questions about the relationship. The questions generally go in a chronological order from where and when you first met to what you had for breakfast on that day. When you are preparing for the interview, be sure to go over the significant events in your relationship such as what you did on your first date, meeting the family, anniversary and birthday celebrations.
Interviews are nerve wrecking for everyone. For almost 20 years I have been an immigration attorney, I have seen every couple getting very nervous, without an exception. Just like everything else in life, the better prepared you are, the better you will be on that important day. So, take the time to prepare, take a deep breath, and good luck at the interview!