There are multiple ways to get a Green Card but the focus of this video will be on Family-Based Petitions. Particularly spousal or marriage-based Green Card Petitions.
The purpose of the interview is to determine the accuracy and completeness of the information provided in the applications, petitions, and to test the credibility of the subject(s) on certain material issues which cannot be resolved on the basis only of the documents submitted by the applicants.
These are the same people who experienced the most unpleasant interviews. There is no substitute for preparation because that will instill the right amount of confidence in you. You can actually Google sample adjustment interview questions, or ask them from your attorney. Make sure you and your spouse study, create, and practice truthful answers. You will be surprised how these sample questions can be tricky to address properly unless you study well enough.
Pay attention to the smallest details of your answers. Minor inconsistencies are allowed but major ones and opposing responses usually have dire consequences as they will heighten the suspicion of the interviewer. Your interviewer will ask you certain information you have provided in the USCIS Forms.
You’re expected to know your own personal information and circumstances and that of your spouse. You are expected to know the names of the children of spouse from another marriage, if any, the names of your parents-in-law and even that of your brother-in-law and sister-in-law. The USCIS will advise you not to come earlier than 45 minutes before the scheduled interview to avoid overcrowding in the waiting room.
Nevertheless, I always advise our clients to arrive at least 1 hour and 15 minutes early at the venue and just check in 45 minutes before the schedule time. Arriving earlier will acclimatize you with the relatively hostile and stressful environment. If you are late and your name is called, you will reschedule.
USCIS allows you to submit photocopies of your supporting documents but you’re expected to bring the original copies during the interview. Make sure they are well-organized ideally in a binder and properly tabbed for ready access.
USCIS Adjudicators don’t like to see you frantically search for a piece of document and waste time! There’s no better evidence of the legitimacy of your relationship and marriage than presenting more pictures of you and your spouse before, during, and after your wedding. Make sure you put them in 3 different albums (for past, present, and after wedding pictures) with annotations as to the place and date when these pictures were taken. We suggest 30-50 more pictures with a lot of people (friends and relatives) around you taken at different occasions and locations. You’ll surely not be allowed to gain access to the USCIS Federal Field Office building if you don’t have a government issued I.D and USCIS Appointment Notice.
Security personnel are very strict on this matter. You’ll need to bring the Appointment Notice (just put it on the paper tray) to check in at the designated window to inform the assigned USCIS Adjudicator that you’re present and ready for interview. Guns, Swiss knives, cutters, lighters, blades and the like are not allowed. Strict securities measures are enforced and you don’t need unnecessary embarrassment, delay, and attention on your way to the interview. Wear business attire so you will look dignified and respectful.
For men, do shave and comb your hair. Trim your long hairs and look clean. I often see people wearing shorts, plain T-shirt, with unshaved face, unkempt hair and sometimes sleeveless shirt. It shows lack of respect to the proceedings.
For women, you’re not there to show how attractive you are in a mini skirt or in a plunging neckline as they could distract or bother the USCIS Adjudicator and other people inside the building.
As married couple, you’re expected to be somehow being sweet to each other but act appropriately. If you feel like holding the hands of your spouse during interview, that’s fine but no more than that please. Engagement rings and wedding rings are expected to be worn during the interview because the interviewer will ask questions about the details of the purchase, sometimes the preference for design, and who decided. Make sure to bring the receipts evidencing the purchase of those rings. If you don’t have an engagement ring it is fine, but wedding ring (no need to buy the expensive ones) is a must.
Don’t go to the restroom simultaneously with your spouse because in case your name is called, no one is going to advise the USCIS Adjudicator that you are in the restroom. Go to the restroom at different times and listen carefully to the names that are being called out for interview. Don’t use your cellphone while inside the waiting room unless it’s extremely necessary.
Have the mindset that you are applying for a job. You’ll not get the job if you act nervous, distrustful, utter lack of confidence. Hands are shaking and voice cracking. Just stay calm and don’t show any negative emotions when you don’t like the questions or when interviewers tend to be suspicious and insulting. Be modest and acknowledge their authority to decide your case.
Your narrative of certain facts will sound credible every time you simultaneously exhibit pictures and documents supportive of such facts. Make occasional reference to other pictures and documents that can further support any other material facts.
For example, if you say that you spend your Honeymoon in Europe, make sure to show those pictures in Europe airline tickets, boarding passes and hotel receipts to prove such trips. Maintain eye contact all the time and listen to the questions intently. Stay focused.
Request the USCIS Adjudicator to repeat the question if you don’t understand fully because you might be giving answers that weren’t even asked and instead of trying to conclude the interview earlier, you’re actually slowing it down not to mention wasting the time of the interviewer.
Worse, you might also be giving totally wrong answers that might cause the denial of your case! When the question is answerable by a “yes “or “no”, don’t try to explain because in the course of doing so, you might make your case complicated. Remember, less talk, less mistakes and inconsistencies. When you aren’t sure of your answer, don’t guess and be humble enough to say, “I don’t know” or “I can’t recall”.
If you have something irregular or seemingly suspicious about your case and you have already sought an attorney’s advice about it, it is way better to be honest and explain what really happened consistent with your attorney’s advice than try concealing it. I know a lot of you don’t want to bring your attorney because either you are too confident you can handle the interview or you want to save on the appearance fee.
Others think that by bringing an attorney, it will send a wrong signal to the USCIS Adjudicator that there’s something fishy or fraudulent about the case. Those are not true. You are entitled to legal representation and if you had an attorney assist you at the filing stage, the USCIS adjudicator expects you to bring your attorney with you come interview time.