Have Your Bona Fide Marriage Documents Ready To Go
The purpose of the marriage interview is so the Officer can determine whether your marriage is a bona fide one. In other words, did you marry your spouse for love or did you marry your spouse for the green card? There are many documents to show that you and your spouse have a "real" marriage, such as birth certificates of your children, a lease or mortgage with both names, and utility bills, just to name a few.
When you bring all of these documents in for your interview, don't have them in a plastic bag! Put them in a folder or large envelope and make sure you have copies already made for the Officer. Organize them by type and date. For example, if you have joint bank account statements or utility bills, place the most recent ones on the top. Officers have a very limited time to interview a couple (usually 30 minutes or less), and if you're organized, it will go much more smoothly and quickly.
No, you don't have to wear a suit and tie and your wedding gown, but please look presentable. First impressions count, and if you roll into the interview with ripped up jeans and a t-shirt or a shirt with your belly hanging out, then it might look as if you don't care or don't think the interview is important. Obviously, an Officer should not judge you by the way you dress and certainly can't deny a case for that reason, but why take a chance? Keep your dress professional and respectable, and you'll hopefully be treated that way.
Be A Little Early (but not too early) and Definitely Don't Be Late
Getting to your interview 15 to 20 minutes early will allow you to settle in and settle down. Yes, you will be nervous. In my 13 years of representing clients at their INS/USCIS interviews, I can tell you that they all have been nervous. So if you get there early, it will allow you to just relax a bit before the interview. But, you don't want to get there too early because then you'll get even more nervous, sitting there, watching couples come in and out. Some happy, some not-so-happy. Fifteen to twenty minutes prior to your interview should be the perfect amount of time.
Go Over All The Applications You Filed Before the Interview
This goes without saying of course, but some couples don't even make copies of the applications they've filed, so I'm saying it. A) Obviously make copies and send the documents to USCIS by some type of certified mail when sending out your applications; and B) Look over them before your interview. You should know your husband's date of birth. And nothing spoils an interview when one of the spouses doesn't know the date of marriage. So please go over the applications. Especially read all of the questions on the I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status. There are so many questions there and the alien/beneficiary needs to understand what they all mean.
Okay, I know what you're thinking now: "does she really need to list that." And my answer is, yes I do. Because it's so important to tell the truth at an interview. Sometimes, my clients get so nervous that they forget the truth. Don't laugh! It has happened.
This seems to come up more from questions on the I-485 with arrests and charges. If you've been pulled over, handcuffed, put in jail and then released without being charged, guess what? You've still been arrested and when the Officer asks if you've ever been arrested, the answer is "yes". I've had to fix (when I can) more of these cases than I care to remember, because someone just forgot about that arrest, or that police officer's blue lights, or being in a courtroom for something or another or having charges that were later dropped. If you're unsure about something, get an FBI background check, and even these are not always 100% accurate. Just don't lie, period.
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