Marriage Based Green Card Interview
Understanding the Nature of Immigration Marriage Interviews
When an immigrant couple, married, comes into the U.S. and is seeking permanent resident status, it is legally possible for one already approved to bring in a spouse and seek the same status for the partner. However, it’s not automatic. Instead, this immigration benefit must go through a review and approval process with the U.S. immigration services which culminates with a marriage interview meeting. If the immigration officer determines the interview shows signs of questionable activity or a fraud, then the green card permanent status residency request is denied. The entire process is part of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) entry process for permanent residency. A green card attorney in Sugar Land TX or elsewhere can help.
For convenience and easier access, the marriage interview meeting will be arranged and provided by a local USCIS office close to where the applicants have stated their home address is located in the U.S. This office will have already reviewed the case file and paperwork associated with the application and will be familiar with the nature of the request pending when the couple is contacted. Paperwork ideally should have been prepared by a Sugar Land immigration lawyer or similar. In those cases where the couple is overseas or outside the U.S. borders, then the meeting will be held at the closest U.S. consulate instead.
The Interview Preparation
It is important for applicants to understand the interview will be individual and not as a couple. The spouse seeking permanent status married to one already approved will be expected to appear and participate alone. Couples are not interviewed together.
To prepare for the interview, it is a very good idea to do the following with a Sugar Land immigration attorney:
- Make sure both partners are fully familiar with all the details provided in paperwork and how they met, their details, what they know about each other’s history and key historical points of the marriage. This is critical as every point is valid for following up individually.
- Have copies of all paperwork filed in the application as well as marriage certificates and proof of formal marriage arrangement. Bring photocopies and be willing to provide them even in the interview as proof, even if provided already. This helps confirm a formal wedding occurred. Also, have all immigration and prior divorce documents ready too as well.
- Anticipate the need to prove a regular life together. That means including additional documents such as tax returns, birth certificates, family event photos, big events where the couple and relatives are named, travel documents of prior vacations (helps verify identification since its required to travel internationally), bank account information (also verified IDs are required for such financial tools) and similar.
- Make sure everything brought is in an organized binder or divider folder for easy reference and access. This will help as the interview will be very nerve-wracking, and you don’t want confusing trying to find a document to derail the meeting. Make it easy on yourself with what is in your control.
The Marriage Interview Itself
The interviewing officer is a specialized immigration officer of the federal government. They are trained to spot discrepancies and issues. They are also experienced at determining the authenticity of relationships. They will ask a series of questions that start out with basic confirmation of identity and relationship details. History, daily routines, career details and children will all be fair game. Then they will give the applicant a chance to provide anything else to prove the validity of the marriage. This is the chance to provide and explain anything that helps. After this point, the detailed questions begin.
The detailed questions can be intrusive and even offensive to some. They may ask for physical detail descriptions of a partner as well as private matters only a marriage partner would know. If you don’t know the answer, say that. Avoid lying or making things up as they often end up as discrepancies between both partner interviews.
The end of the interview will be one of five possible solutions:
- Request for more evidence
- An additional review session
- An additional interview, or
- A flat out denial.
The decision will be based on a combination of the application paperwork, proof, evidence provided and the interview evaluation. A Sugar Land green card attorney like Esani & Momin can help interpret the results. As an experienced marriage green card attorney in Sugar Land TX, Esani & Momin have regularly represented clients successfully with immigration processes. Experience matters tremendously, so don’t underestimate the value of professional help.