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How to Prepare for your USCIS Interview

Updated: January 10, 2023

If you are getting ready for your marriage-based green card interview with USCIS, congratulations on making it this far! This is a huge achievement and you are almost to the finish line!

The adjustment of status interview is an exciting and significant step in obtaining lawful permanent residence status. Feeling nervous about the interview is normal! The interview can feel overwhelming for applicants, so it’s important to make sure you understand what the interview entails and how to properly prepare. 

The information in this guide is here to help!

Good luck!

What is the purpose of the interview?

The interview is a normal part of the green card application process, especially for marriage-based applications. USCIS’ primary aims for the interview are to verify that all the information in your application is correct, confirm that your marriage relationship is genuine, identify any risk of fraud, and give you one last chance to update any information before the final adjudication of your application.

This is a step to look forward to because it is one of the last steps in the adjustment of status process and means you are one step closer to becoming a permanent resident of the United States.

Before the Interview

Here are some tips to prepare for your interview:

  1. Try not to be too nervous! This is the final stretch. 
  2. Consider taking opportunities to reflect on and discuss your relationship with your spouse leading up to the interview. It is helpful to make sure you are both remembering the details of your relationship correctly so that you can confidently answer any questions the officer asks you. At the end of this article there is a list of common questions that you can talk through together for practice. 
  3. Plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time to ensure a prompt start time. 
  4. Keep your schedule open. Interviews are typically  around 15-45 minutes long. However, sometimes individuals have to wait long after their scheduled interview time before their names are called. Keeping your schedule open can help reduce your stress if you are at the USCIS office longer than expected. 
  5. The interview consists primarily of questions about your relationship and immigration history. Make sure you are informed and prepared to answer questions on these topics.

What should be brought to the interview? 

  1. Original official documents (birth certificate, passport, visa, your spouse’s birth certificate, etc). USCIS wants to see the originals, not copies of these for both the petitioner and the beneficiary!
  2. Updated relationship evidence that you would like to add to your application. Please note that USCIS will keep the evidence submitted, so be sure the evidence you bring is either a copy or something you don’t need back.
  3. Updated financial documents for any sponsors on Form(s) I-864 (and Form I-864A, if applicable) . This should include: tax documents for any tax years that have passed since you filed the application, updated letters from employers, and updated pay stubs and/or bank statements from the last 6 months. If there have been any significant changes to employment or financial circumstance, bringing an updated I-864 with the new information can be helpful.
  4. A copy of your original Form I-485 and Form I-864(s) for you to use in  your interview. These are the two main forms that will be reviewed in your interview, and it can help for you to be able to refer to those documents.
  5. Any additional documentation requested in the letter of invitation to interview you received from USCIS.
  6. If you have any new evidence that you would like to submit with your application, bring it with you. USCIS allows the submission of new evidence at interviews. 

Who should go?

For marriage-based applications, USCIS requires the Form I-130 petitioning spouse to appear for the interview with the principal adjustment of status applicant. Essentially, both spouses will need to attend the interview.

 What if an applicant is not comfortable interviewing in English? 

Applicants who are not fluent in English are permitted to bring a translator to the interview. This interviewer does not need to be certified as a translator, but they must be fluent in both English & the applicant’s native language. The sponsoring spouse cannot be the translator. The interviewing USCIS officer will make the determination at the interview if they believe that translator can translate without bias.

During the Interview

Interviews generally take 15-45 minutes to complete. However, please know that interviews can go longer than 45 minutes so, as previously mentioned, it is often helpful to clear your schedule, just in case. 

During the interview, the officer may try to verify that the applicant understood the questions on the application. Any unanswered questions or incomplete answers on the application are resolved at the interview. This is also an opportunity to update any information that may have changed since you submitted the application.

During the interview, the officer will review your documents and ask you questions to make sure you have a good faith marriage and that you are not committing immigration fraud. Don’t be afraid to let your love for each other show.  

Common Interview Questions

Each interview and interviewer are different so no two interviews will be exactly the same. Due to how brief the interview is, the officer will not be able to ask a lot of questions, but will scrutinize the answers you give to make their decision. Please note that the officer chooses which questions to ask, and on occasion, questions can feel invasive or personal. They may ask questions about intimacy, marital conflict, family approval, finances, etc. 

Here is a list of common interview questions that may be asked. As mentioned above, it can be helpful to go through these questions with your spouse prior to the interview to ensure you both remember details correctly. 

Meeting and Courtship

  • How did you meet?
  • Where did you meet?
  • Where was your first date?
  • Where did you first meet in person?
  • How often did you see each other after your initial meeting?
  • How did your relationship progress from meeting to dating?
  • What did you do on your dates?
  • Did you take any trips together while you were dating?
  • When did you introduce each other to family and friends?
  • How long did you date before you decided to get married?
  • Who proposed to whom?
  • Tell me the story of your marriage proposal.
  • Where did you buy the ring? 

Wedding

  • Where did you get married?
  • What day were you married?
  • Did you do a court or a church ceremony?
  • How many people attended your wedding?
  • Who from your family and friends were at the wedding?
  • Did you have a reception?
  • Where did you hold the reception?
  • Tell me about what your reception was like.
  • Were each of your parents at the wedding celebration?
  • Where did you go for the honeymoon?

Relationship/Daily Life

  • When is your spouse’s birthday?
  • Have you been on vacation together?
  • Do you attend church together?
  • Do you plan on having children?
  • Do you live together? Why not (if applicable)?
  • How do you split your finances?
  • Who is your spouse’s employer?
  • What are your spouse’s work hours?
  • When was your last fight?
  • What did you fight about?
  • Who wakes up first in the mornings?
  • How often do you communicate throughout the day?
  • Who does most of the cooking?
  • Who cleans the house?
  • What side of the bed do you sleep on?
  • How do you typically celebrate holidays?
  • What did you do to celebrate your spouse’s last birthday?
  • When is your spouse’s birthday?

Family/Friends

  • Have you met your spouse’s parents?
  • What are their names?
  • How many brothers and sisters does your spouse have?
  • Does your spouse have any nieces or nephews?
  • Do you spend time with your and your spouse’s families?
  • Does your spouse have any children?
  • Do they visit you?
  • How do you get along with your spouse’s family?
  • Do you have mutual friends?
  • What is your spouse’s best friend’s name?

What is the result of a USCIS interview? When will applicants receive their green card? 

Based on previous cases, interviews generally result in one of the following: 

  1. USCIS may let you know at the end of the interview that they have approved your application. You would leave the interview and typically receive your green card by mail after about a month.
  2. USCIS may not inform you of a decision on your case, but will approve your green card shortly after the interview and you will receive it after about a month.
  3. USCIS may issue you a request for more evidence before they can come to a decision on your case. Just make sure to submit additional evidence within the timeframe that they give you. SimpleCitizen will help you with this process! 

The Marriage Based green card interview with USCIS can be intimidating, but we are here to help! If you have further questions about the interview or your application, feel free to reach out to SimpleCitizen support

For interview support from an attorney, our Professional package includes three attorney consultations, one of which can be used for interview preparation!

Click here to learn more about all of our affordable application packages. We are here to help guide you through your application and support you every step of the way. 

We’re happy you’re here!

Updated on January 10, 2023

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