Top 5 Tips for Preparing for a Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status (Green Card) Interview

Christina Weber Crudden

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Immigration Attorney

Contributor Level 9

Posted over 3 years ago. 12 helpful votes

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1

What Should You Bring with You?

The most important source of information on what to bring to your interview is the interview scheduling notice you received from USCIS. It lists important documents like your passport, I-94 card, original birth certificates for yourself, your spouse and any children, your marriage certificate, divorce decrees or death certificates for ALL prior marriages, certified court dispositions for any arrests that the non-US citizen spouse has had, and proof of the US citizenship of the petitioning spouse (usually a US birth certificate, passport or naturalization certificate). You'll also need to bring evidence of your bona fide marital relationship.

2

What is "Proof of a Bona Fide Marital Relationship"?

A bona fide marital relationship is one where both parties entered the relationship for the purpose of starting a life together. Though there may be many other reasons for deciding to get married, one of the reasons must be the intent to start a life together. USCIS looks for evidence of this intent by asking for proof in the form of documents that establish joint decisions: a joint bank account, a lease agreement or mortgage in the name of both partners, joint bills and joint credit card accounts. Many people are unable to obtain some or all of these items, but it is still critical that you have at least some evidence of your intention to establish a relationship, beyond just cards and photos. You can have your spouse added to existing insurance accounts, or provide proof that he or she is your emergency contact person at work. You can also have friends and family write affidavits about your relationship.

3

What Should You Wear?

For many people, the adjustment of status interview is a stressful enough time without the added worry of what to wear! Still, it is good to give some thought to how you will be presenting yourself. Remember, the immigration officer will see you before he hears you speak, or learns anything about your case (most officers receive the file on the day of the interview, and so are unfamiliar with the specifics of your case before the interview begins). This is your chance to make a good first impression. Some people think of it in terms of "church clothes"--something neat and conservative that you wouldn't be embarrassed to wear into a place of worship. Other people prefer to think of it as "business casual"--a suit is not necessary, but a neatly pressed pair of pants and a button-down shirt is always appropriate. The interview spaces are generally small--often no larger than a cubicle--and so it is good to avoid heavy perfumes or cologne, as this can be distracting to the officer.

4

What Will Happen at the Interview?

All interviews are different, but some basic things happen at each one. Turn in your interview notice at the designated place, take a seat, and wait for your name to be called. There may be a long wait, so you should consider bringing a book. Some offices don't allow cell phones; be sure you know the policy. If you have brought children, have a quiet game for them to play. When your turn comes, you'll be taken to the officer's office or cubicle, where you will remain standing while you are sworn in. While the interview setting is informal, the oath you take has the same weight and consequences as if you are in a court of law. You should let the officer set the tone for the interview; like a job interview, you should be presenting the best version of yourself. Always be honest in your answers, and do not try to be evasive or or conceal information that you feel might harm your case. Consult a qualified immigration attorney if you believe there may be issues in your case.

5

What Happens After the Interview?

After the interview, many officers will simply tell you that you will receive a decision in the mail. If you haven't heard anything after 90 days, it is a good idea to schedule an InfoPass appointment at www.uscis.gov. The officer may tell you that the case will be referred to a supervisor. Unless the officer gives you a specific request for more information, the decision will be made with the information in the file. Sometimes, a question or issue comes up at the interview that requires further proof or evidence, and in these cases, the officers may issue a written request for you to bring the evidence to the office, or to mail it to the

Additional Resources

www.uscis.gov is always the best source of up-to-date information on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service information. You can find forms, information about filing fees, directions to local offices, and guides to all areas of immigration law on this government website.

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