If you have been going through the Green Card process, you know it can be long and difficult. Your Green Card interview is the last major hurdle – you are almost there and no doubt you are excited! Still, it is crucial to take this step seriously. Being well prepared can help make your interview go more smoothly. Whether you are adjusting your status (processing for your Green Card from within the U.S.) or going through consular processing, your consultation will either be at a USCIS office or a U.S. consulate.
Gather All Necessary Documents
A significant part of your interview will be the officer examining your documentation. You will need to bring original documents, including all personal documents submitted as part of your Green Card petition. You should carefully review the interview instructions you receive, which will include a list of specific forms to bring, which include:
You will have to have a medical exam completed by a doctor who is authorized to complete the exam by either USCIS or the U.S. consulate. The doctor will complete form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record and give it to you in a sealed envelope to bring to the interview.
You should bring either your original marriage certificate or an official certified copy. If it is not in English, you will also need to bring a certified translation if your interview is at a USCIS office. This won’t be necessary if your interview is at a U.S. consulate and your marriage certificate is in the language of the country where the consulate is located. Still, you will need to have it translated into English if it is in any other language.
The same rules surrounding your marriage certificate also apply to your birth certificate.
Do Your Research for Proper Expectations
A critical aspect in preparing for your interview is knowing what to expect. If you know someone who was recently interviewed at the same consulate or USCIS office, it would be helpful to ask them about their own experience. Individual USCIS offices or consulates have their quirks where they tend to ask particular questions or want to see certain documents. Finding out about these quirks ahead of time can help your interview process go more smoothly. An immigration attorney can also walk you through the process. They often seek feedback from recent clients to keep informed of any changes, which sometimes occur without notice. Be self-aware. If there are any details in your background that could complicate the situation, you are likely to face greater scrutiny.
Prepare Basic Facts About Yourself
One way to prepare is to review all of the forms you previously submitted. There is a good chance that your original petition was ready at least a year ago and perhaps many years ago. Over time, you may have forgotten how you answered some of the questions. It is also possible that some of your circumstances have changed since your petition was first filed. You will need to be prepared to explain and have documentation of any changes. For example, if your address has changed, bring documentation such as utility bills that prove the change of address.
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Be Ready for Specific Interview Questions
While it is impossible to predict the specific questions they will ask you, there are certain types of questions that you can expect based on your immigration category. Try to identify what the interviewer’s overriding concern is likely to be. For example, if you are seeking a marriage-based Green Card, the interviewer will be primarily concerned with determining that you have a bona fide marriage. As such, you can expect that many of the questions will relate to that issue. You can expect to be asked questions about your relationship history, wedding, daily routines, kids (if any), personal habits and significant family events, rituals and celebrations. Possible specific questions include:
- How did you meet?
- How many people attended your wedding?
- Who does most of the cooking?
- Where do your kids go to school?
- What side of the bed do you sleep on?
- How do you typically celebrate *insert random holiday*?
Be Honest and Transparent
The worst thing to do during your Green Card interview is to lie. Doing so can lead to your Green Card being denied. You should answer all questions truthfully, but do not volunteer information beyond what is asked. If you volunteer information that is not requested, you may inadvertently say something that could raise a red flag to the officer, causing them to ask follow-up questions that you prefer not to answer. Officers sometimes ask very probing questions, especially for marriage-based Green Cards. Officers are known to ask about marital problems or other intimate details. Be honest with your responses but remember that you are allowed to decline to answer questions that you feel are too personal. Just be sure to decline politely.
Rehearsing beforehand can make you feel more prepared and comfortable for the actual interview, especially if you are someone who tends to get nervous in these types of situations. There are many YouTube videos of mock interviews that can give you a better idea of what to expect. Find someone to role-play an interview with you and practice answering a variety of questions. Practice answering even those questions you think you are unlikely to encounter. It is better to prepare excessively rather than not enough.
You do not have to prepare all on your own. An immigration attorney can be a huge asset as you prepare for your Green Card interview. They can answer your questions and are often familiar with the quirks of individual USCIS offices and consulates.
At Brudner Law, we have helped many clients just like you! Give us a call today and find out more about how we can prepare you for your Green Card interview.
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