Green Card Interview Guide: Comprehensive Guide for Employees and Family Members

The United States green card categories can be broadly divided into three types: family-based, employment-based, and special immigrant green cards. Each type has its different interview intricacies. The general purpose of interviews for any of these three types is to determine an applicant’s eligibility and admissibility. As you read on, you will learn the requirements and how to prepare for each of these categories.

General Guide for Green Card Interviews

Regardless of the classification you are applying for, the green card interview is a necessary and final step of the process. Each of the categories has its own interview guidelines which are crucial to the success of your application.

Green Card Interview for Family Immigrants

Family and Marriage-Based Green Card Interview

The main essence of any family-based green card is to prove the legitimacy of the relationship between an alien beneficiary and the petitioner. The green card type will determine the kind of interview questions you are to expect. Fraud is commonplace in family-based and marriage-based green card cases, so immigration officers usually ask personal questions to ensure applicants are in good faith.

Common Family and Marriage-Based Interview Questions

The family-based green card interview questions will likely focus on the history of your relationship and the things you share in common as a family. The questions may cover:

  • Where and when you met as a couple
  • Your children
  • Your parents’ consent to your relationship
  • The kind of home you live in
  • Your biographic information
  • Your siblings
  • Your in-laws
  • Important celebrations in your family
  • Educational history
  • Information about your employment

A family-based green card interview usually involves both the petitioner and beneficiary and maybe a group interview for the whole family (or couple) or separately for each individual beneficiary on the application.

Checklist for Family and Marriage-Based Green Card Interviews

The requested documents may vary based on the classification you are applying for. However, some of the general materials to take to a family or marriage-based green card interview include:

  • Your valid passport
  • The interview appointment letter
  • Two color passport photographs
  • Employment and travel permits
  • Proof of your relationship – such as a marriage certificate
  • Evidence showing your relationship is legitimate – e.g. utility bills or titles in your names, group photos, etc.
  • Financial evidence showing the petitioner’s income
  • Signed affidavit of support from the petitioner
  • Medical exam results
  • Any other documents listed on the USCIS or consulate website for your green card classification

Employment-Based Green Card Interview

Employment based green card interview

The employment-based green card interview works to establish the authenticity of the information you have provided in your forms and supporting evidence. The questions will generally focus on:

  • Your education, training, and job experience
  • Salary, remuneration, job condition for the new employment
  • Your current resident status if you are already in the U.S.
  • The company you are going to work for
  • Your admissibilities, such as previous convictions, arrests, immigration violations, or misrepresentations

Employment Green Card Interview Questions

Below you will find various examples of questions that you may be asked during your employment interview:

Questions about your qualifications, education, and experience:

  • When did you graduate from XYZ university?
  • Did you take any breaks during your university studies?
  • With what grades did you finish your bachelor’s or master’s degree?
  • In what year did you receive XYZ certificate?
  • When did you start working in XYZ industry?
  • At what company was your first job in XYZ industry?
  • Why does working for XYZ company in the U.S. suit your career aspirations?

Questions about salary, remuneration, and job conditions:

  • What salary have you agreed with your U.S. employer?
  • Are the benefits that your U.S. employer is offering you satisfactory and what are they?
  • In what U.S. city will you be working?
  • Will you be working at any third-party sites?
  • Are you satisfied with the conditions that your new U.S. employer is willing to provide for you at work?

Questions about your current resident status (if applicable):

  • What visa are you currently on?
  • When did you receive the visa that you are currently residing in the U.S. on?
  • Did you receive any rejections when you were applying for your visa?
  • Were you applying within the U.S. or outside of the U.S. (consular processing) for your visa?
  • When is your current U.S. residency status due to expire?

Questions about the U.S. company that is employing you:

  • Who is the CEO of your U.S. employer?
  • Approximately, how many employees work for the company?
  • How many offices does the company have in the U.S.?
  • What market is your employer in?
  • Is your employer a public or privately held company?

Questions about convictions, arrests, immigration violations, or misrepresentations

  • Have you previously been convicted of any crimes abroad or in the U.S.?
  • Have you had any immigration violations while in the U.S.?
  • In your past immigration applications, were you ever accused of misrepresentation?
  • Have you ever been arrested in the U.S.?

Checklist for Employment-Based Green Card Interview

Depending on the classification, every employment-based green card applicant must come with documents that prove they are qualified for the job, have gone through due process, and are admissible into the U.S. Some relevant items to prove that at the interview will include:

  • Your unexpired passport
  • Two color passport photographs
  • Your medical report
  • A letter for a job offer
  • Your Employment Authorization EAD, if applicable
  • Your academic certificates
  • Your birth and marriage certificates
  • A government-issued identification
  • Letter from your employer confirming your employment
  • Documents showing tax payments
  • Originals of all of the supporting documents that you submitted during your immigration process
  • Translated and original copies of your documents
  • Criminal records, if applicable
  • An I-4845 Supplement J, Confirmation of Bona Fide Job Offer or Request for Job Portability, if applicable
  • Any additional documents listed on the USCIS or embassy website

How to Prepare for Your Green Card Interview

The interview is often a very short process that lasts no longer than 20 minutes. However, preparing well before the interview date will help you be successful. Your confidence, appearance, and communication skills will go a long way during the general assessment. The following tips will help you:

Review Your Forms and Documents

Most of the questions will be asked based on your submitted application to ensure all information provided in your petition is genuine. Reviewing the documents will help you refresh your memory and answer any questions given to you without hesitation.

Dress Appropriately

Revealing clothing, shirts with symbols or slogans might damage your rapport with some officers, and that may affect their assessment of you. You need to be professional and conservative in your dress and your appearance.

Get to the Appointment Early

Ensure you are already at the interview location 15 to 20 minutes before the appointed time. Rushing to your interview at the last minute may cause you to appear disorganized and may affect your communication. Get there early to avoid being late and having to rush.

Keep Calm

Your green card interview is not an interrogation, it is just a normal question and answer session. You don’t need to panic. Looking nervous and disorganized might be a red flag for the officer.

More About Family-Based Green Cards

Family-based green cards are for immediate family members or other relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. You may qualify for a U.S. family-based green card if:

You Are Engaged to a U.S. Citizen

If you are the fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen, you stand a very good chance of becoming a green card holder after your marriage. You will begin the process by applying for a K-1 fiancé(e) visa. If approved, you will be allowed to come to the United States and get married to your fiancé(e) within 90 days of the approval.

And after your marriage, you can apply to adjust your status by filing for a U.S. green card with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) will need to sponsor your visa application by filing an I-129F with the USCIS, after which you will complete the second phase of the process by submitting a nonimmigrant visa application at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country where you will be given a K-1 nonimmigrant visa.

You Are an Immediate or Preference Relative of a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident

If you are the child under the age of 21 or the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR), you may be eligible for a family or marriage-based green card. A “preference relative” such as a sister, brother, or parent may also qualify for a family-based green card. The U.S. citizen or green card holder must be ready to sponsor your petition and satisfy the requirements to meet your financial needs.

For immediate relatives such as children and spouses, the application process is relatively easier and takes less time. For preference relatives, however, you may experience a longer waiting time that lasts for years due to the green card limit for this category.

More About Employment-Based Green Cards

The employment-based green card category is for foreign nationals who meet the requirements to live and work in the United States through their occupation. Most of the classifications in this category require a series of important steps which include getting a job offer from a U.S. employer, obtaining a PERM certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, and filing a green card petition. Generally, the application is filed by the employer petitioning the USCIS and DOL to bring the alien to the U.S. for employment purposes. Green cards under this category include:

First Preference EB-1 Green Card

Foreign nationals with extraordinary abilities, professors, researchers, distinguished academics, and international executives may qualify for a green card under this category. There is a long list of requirements that must be met in order to be considered eligible.

Some of these requirements include having documented achievements and/or distinguished awards by recognized bodies such as a Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Olympic medal. Membership of a professional association and having high-profile publications covering your achievements in a particular field can qualify as supplementary criteria.

Second Preference EB-2 Green Card

The EB-2 green card is meant for professionals holding an advanced degree (or its equivalent) or those who possess exceptional talent. Certain applicants may also be able to obtain a National Interest Waiver (NIV), which allows them to bypass the PERM Labor Certification and sponsorship requirements.

Third Preference EB-3

The EB-3 green card is for skilled workers with a minimum of 2 years of training or experience, professionals with at least a U.S. baccalaureate or its equivalent, and unskilled workers with two years of training or experience in unskilled labor.

Fourth Preference EB-4 Green Card

This is for special applicants, such as religious workers, broadcasters, G-4 or NATO employees and their family members, and others listed here.

Investment-Based EB-5 Green Card

This is for individuals who can invest $1 million or $500,000 in the U.S. economy. It is popularly known as the fifth preference EB-5 investor program. You don’t need a sponsor to petition for this category, but there are several criteria you must fulfill apart from having the investment funds. Your proposed investment must also have the potential to create or preserve a minimum of 10 jobs.

Special Immigrant Green Cards

Certain individuals such as asylees, refugees, human trafficking victims, and other special immigrants may qualify for green cards under this category.

How VisaNation Law Group Can Help

The U.S. green card application process gets more stringent by the day. Filing for U.S. permanent resident status requires every sense of caution and thoroughness. This is why you need an expert guide to help you avoid errors and red flags that could lead to denial.

VisaNation Law Group has highly qualified and experienced green card attorneys who will help you file your petition, give legal representation at your interview, and help you avoid delays and denials. You can schedule a consultation with us today by filling out this contact form.