The immigration interview is usually the last phase of the family green card application process. If you are in the United States, your interview for adjustment of status will be scheduled by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are outside the U.S., your interview will be scheduled by the National Visa Center (NVC) and will be performed at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your country of residence.
The family green card interview, whether inside or outside the U.S., has two main goals:
- To establish whether you are and your sponsor are eligible as applicant and petitioner; and
- Whether the information provided in the forms and evidentiary documents is valid
Knowing the kinds of questions to expect at your interview and preparing for them will make a difference in your application process. In this article, we have compiled the most common questions that are asked at a family green card interview.
What Is a Family Green Card?
A family-based green card is an immigrant visa that is issued based on a qualifying familial relationship that exists between a foreign national applicant and a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. It is one of the most popular ways of obtaining permanent residency among other green card categories in the United States. Up to one-third of the over 1 million green cards issued annually goes to this category. It is divided into two groups – immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and the family preference.
How to Get a Family Green Card
A family-based green card is sponsored by a U.S. citizen or a green card holder. Both the petitioner and the beneficiary must prove that they have a qualifying familial relationship and that they meet all the eligibility criteria. Both of you will need to complete a series of forms and submit them with supporting evidence. These documents may vary depending on your category and location. Generally, the following items are usually required:
The Petitioner Will:
- File an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
- Submit proof of citizenship
- Submit the I-864, Affidavit of Support
- Submit biographic information
The Beneficiary Will:
- File an I-485, Petition to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, if you are already in the U.S. on a valid visa
- Go through consular processing, if you are outside the U.S. or not on a valid visa
- Submit biographic information
- Complete the medical examination and submit the results
Once the items submitted are processed and approved, you will need to attend an interview where the final decision will be made on your application. You will be notified of the date and location before the interview.
How to Prepare for Family Green Card Interview
Before your interview date, ensure that you review all the forms and documents. Many of your interview questions will be asked based on the information given in these documents. Going through them before the interview will help refresh your memory as you want to avoid giving contradicting answers that will affect your application.
Family Green Card Interview Sample Questions
The most common family green card is the marriage-based category, which involves spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. This is commonly known as the marriage-based green card interview. The essence is to establish that your marriage is bona fide and that the applicant entered into the marriage in good faith based on love rather than for immigration benefits. Some of the sample questions include:
How You Met:
You may be asked some questions relating to how you began your relationship and how it developed into a serious relationship that led to marriage. Some of the usual questions for this include:
- How and where did you meet?
- Where was your spouse living when you met?
- Who did he or she live with before you got married?
- When did your relationship become romantic?
- Who proposed between the two of you?
- Where and when did the proposal take place? Who witnessed the proposal?
- How long did you court before marriage?
- Where and when did you meet your in-laws
Questions About Your Wedding
- When did you marry?
- Where did the wedding take place?
- Where was the wedding reception?
- How many guests were there at the wedding?
- Who were the bridesmaids and groomsmen?
- Where did you go for your honeymoon?
Questions About Your Relationship
- When is your wedding anniversary?
- How many rooms does your home have?
- Are all the rooms on the same side of the home?
- Where does your landlord live?
- Who takes care of family finances?
- Who pays mortgage or rent for the home?
- What bank do you use?
- Do you have a joint account?
- Are both your salaries deposited into the same account?
- Can you briefly describe the furniture in your bedroom?
- How do you celebrate a special family moment?
Questions About Your Spouse:
- What is your spouse’s date of birth?
- What type of work does he or she do?
- Where does he or she work now?
- What is his or her position?
- What is his or her work schedule?
- How much is his or her salary?
- Where was he working when you met
- Did he or she have a car when you met? What color, model?
- Does he or she still drive the same car? If not, when did he or she change it?
- How much is owed on the car he or she now uses? How much does he or she pay on them monthly?
- What is his or her favorite meal?
- Where did he or she go to school?
- Did he attend college?
- What did he or she major in?
- What degree did he or she get?
- How many siblings does he or she have? Have you met them before?
- What was his or her best friend?
- Do you both have mutual friends?
Family Green Card Interview Questions for Other Applicants
For other family relationships such as siblings, parents, as well as married children and unmarried children (over 21 years of age), the questions are also based on the family relationship that exists between you and your sponsor. However, they are not as intimate as they are for a marriage-based green card. The questions will attempt to establish:
- If you genuinely have a qualifying familial relationship with the sponsor claimed in your application
- If your sponsor is a citizen or lawful permanent resident
- If you have any disqualifying past criminal record (your police clearance certificate will be reviewed)
- If you have ever violated any U.S. immigration law (your immigration database will be reviewed)
- If you have drug addictions or if you are or once were a drug addict or dealer,
- Whether or not you are a habitual drunkard
- That you are not a terrorist or belong to any terrorist organization
- If your children are truly yours, if you have children on your application
- If your marriage is bona fide and entered into in good faith if you filed with your spouse
- Whether or not you have any communicable disease by checking your medical examination
NOTE: These questions may not be as direct as they are in the marriage-based interview. The officers usually have a way of verifying whatever information you give at the interview with the one filled in your form.
Tips for Family Green Card Interview
The following tips will help you have a successful interview:
The immigration officers schedule several interviews every day and they work based on the schedule. Therefore, ensure you don’t come late to the interview. It is good to arrive at the interview location several minutes before your scheduled time. Tardiness may show that you are not taking your interview seriously.
Your Appearance and Composure Really Matters
Appearing or acting nervous may indicate a red flag. Remain composed and answer each question confidently. Also, wearing conservative or professional clothing will portray you as someone who is taking the interview seriously. Avoid dresses that may appear controversial or offensive, such as revealing clothing or clothes with political slogans or inscriptions.
The best way to answer the green card interview questions is to be honest and concise. Immigration officers are highly experienced, and in many cases, it is not hard for them to know if an interviewee is not telling the truth. Lying during your interview will not only affect your green card processing but may bar you from future attempts to enter the U.S.
If there are any questions that you are not sure about or just cannot vividly remember, give just as much detail as you have for the moment and move on to the next question. Try to avoid rambling or being incoherent. If there are certain questions you are not comfortable answering, you will need to discuss this with your attorney before the interview starts.
What Happens After the Interview?
If everything goes well at your interview, the next is to get the decision from the officer. At times, a decision is made right after the interview and you will know if your green card application has been approved. However, this isn’t always the case. You may need to wait for several weeks or months before a decision is made. This usually happens if your application is subject to further review or sent to a supervisor for approval. You may also receive a Request for Additional Evidence (RFE), which may further prolong the waiting times.
When Do I Receive My Green Card After a USCIS Interview?
Even if your application is approved immediately after the interview, you will not get your green card right away. The USCIS only issues green card through the mail, which may come several weeks after your interview.
When Do I Receive My Green Card After a Consular Interview?
If you are interviewed outside the U.S. and the consular officer approves your application, you will also not get your green card immediately. The officer will only stamp your passport to indicate approval of permanent residency until the official green card arrives. You will be given a sealed immigration packet, which will allow you to travel to the U.S. Do not open this packet.
Once you arrive at a U.S. port of entry, a customs officer will collect and check your sealed immigration packet. After checking your packet, the officer may decide to grant or deny you entry. If you are granted entry at the port of entry, then you will be able to enter the U.S. as a permanent resident, and your official green card will be mailed to you some weeks after your arrival.
How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help
The family-based green card application process involves a long and strenuous journey. Being scheduled for an interview means you have invested money, time, and energy to get this far. Unfortunately, a single mistake during your interview can lead to a setback or denial. You can avoid this by engaging the services of a family-based green card immigration lawyer.
At Imm-USA, we have a team of highly qualified immigration attorneys who have extensive knowledge and experience in the family green card process. We will help prepare your petitions with all necessary supporting evidence to avoid RFEs that could cause delays. You can get in touch with our attorneys today and schedule a consultation by filling out this contact form.