6 Tips for the Marriage Green Card Interview
When applying for a marriage-based green card, a U.S. Citizen ("USC") and the immigrant spouse (hereinafter referred to as "Beneficiary") must attend an interview with an Immigration Officer. Green Card interviews are held to ensure that the marriage is bona fide, in good faith, and the marriage was not entered into for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits. The USC and the Beneficiary can do the following things to better prepare themselves for the interview:
1. Begin gathering your evidence early in the relationship:
A very common mistake in marriage residency cases is when the USC and the Beneficiary wait until the immigration interview before they start collecting documents and photos to prove that they entered into a bona fide marriage and live together. USCIS often wants to see that the documents are consistent and evidence the progression of the relationship over a period of time. Therefore, it is best to start collecting documents from the onset of the relationship to evidence the natural growth of the relationship.
2. Documents to carry:
The couple should provide documents that have both the USC's and the Beneficiary's name on the document to evidence the bona fide nature of their relationship. Examples of documents include, but are not limited, to the following: bank statements, joint title deed, joint mortgage, joint tax returns, lease agreements, health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, credit card bills, utility bills such as electricity, phone, cable, wedding invitation, and, birth certificates of children born to both USC and the Beneficiary. If the USC and the Beneficiary do not possess a sufficient amount of documents mentioned above, the couple must provide sworn affidavits from friends or family who have observed the progress of the relationship and the wedding.
These photographs should show the evolution of the relationship - from the time the couple met to present times. The photographs should not only be of the both of them together, but also should reflect their friends and family. It may advisable to produce photos of a wide array of situations over a period of time, including pictures from the wedding ceremony or celebration.
4. Reflect on the History of your relationship:
During the interview, the Immigration Officer will ask questions designed to highlight some of the grounds and history of the relationship. The Immigration Officer may ask questions regarding the following topics: when and how the couple first met; details of the first date; progression of the relationship; proposal/engagement; and, wedding ceremony and celebration. In addition, the Immigration Officer may ask questions surrounding your relationship in present times – daily routines; finances; residence; extended family; and religion.
Often times, the Immigration Officer may ask if one spouse has met the other spouse’s parents or siblings. Often times, this is not possible due to the immediate family living in another country. Thus, we recommend that the couple have Skype calls with each other’s immediate family when it is not possible to meet in person. These calls will be documented in preparation for the marriage green card interview and evidence the bona fide nature of the relationship.
5. Know your husband or wife well:
Review the questions and answers on every form that USC and the Beneficiary submitted to USCIS in support of the AOS application. Often, the officer will ask questions to a spouse based on information completed by other spouse in Form I-130. The Immigration Officer wants to ensure that each spouse knows basic information, such as place of birth, date of birth, last entry, regarding the other spouse. In addition, the USCIS officer may ask questions from Form G-325, biographical information, which covers the spouse’s residential and employment history. Thus, the couple should review all questions answered in the AOS application.
6. Additional Documents to Bring:
The USC and the Beneficiary will each need present photo identification. The USC spouse will need to bring the original proof of his or her U.S. citizenship status (a birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or passport). The Beneficiary should bring his/her passport and the EAD/AP that was issued to them by USCIS. Also, the USC and the Beneficiary should bring a copy of their marriage certificate to the interview.