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Green Card Interviews with USCIS

After an individual applies for his or her green card, they will be scheduled to appear before an immigration officer at the local USCIS office. The purpose of the interview is to determine the immigrant’s eligibility for the green card as well as to assess the applicant’s credibility.

When the immigrant arrives at the USCIS office, he or she will be required to show the interview appointment notice in order to verify that the immigrant should be there that day. They will also be required to show photo identification to verify that the individual who has arrived is the same person who’s name is on the interview appointment notice. They will then be required to go through a security check, which may include a metal detector and a scan of your belongings, to ensure that no contraband is being brought into the USCIS building. In most cases, the immigrant will then be required to have their Biometrics taken again, even though he or she may have already done so during the initial processing of the application.

For marriage-based cases, both the immigrant and his or her spouse will be required to attend the interview. For most other cases, including employment based green cards, the Petitioner will not be required to attend the interview. Once you are in the office of the interviewing officer, the officer will ask you to stand, raise your right hand, and swear to tell the truth during the interview process. Once you have agreed to tell the truth, you will be asked to sit down.

For every green card interview, the applicant should bring the originals of any documents that were submitted with the green card application (including but not limited to original birth certificates, passports, marriage certificates, and divorce decrees, etc.). For marriage-based cases, the immigrant should also bring copies of documents that prove the legitimacy of the marriage, such as documents that prove that the parties are living together, combining their finances, have children together, etc. Employment based applicants should bring proof of the employment opportunity with the employer.

Once the interview begins, the officer will go over the application and ask the immigrant to verify information contained in the application. If anything has changed since the application was filed, the immigrant should inform the officer of the changes. If there are any corrections that need to be made to the application, it is the immigrant’s responsibility to bring those corrections to the officer’s attention during the interview. The officer may ask to examine some of the original documents that were brought to the interview or may ask to keep some of the documents that were brought to prove the legitimacy of the marriage.

The officer can also ask questions that are not specifically contained in the application, such as how the immigrant met his or her spouse, what the marriage ceremony was like or who attended the marriage, etc. If the officer has reason to believe that the marriage may not be valid, the officer can separate the parties and ask them questions that are not in the application, but that the parties should be able to answer if they are living in a valid, intact marriage. They can ask questions pertaining to the layout of the home, amenities contained within the home, how he or she celebrates various holidays, what the immigrant did within the past few days, information about his or her relationship with the other spouse, etc.

At the conclusion of the interview, the officer may or may not inform the immigrant as to the officer’s recommendation. The officer can tell the immigrant that he will recommend the case for approval by his or her supervisor; can tell the immigrant that he should have a decision within a few weeks; can tell the immigrant that his case will need to be reviewed further; or may say nothing at all. Havin an attorney present for the interview may enable the immigrant to have some insight as to the likely decision, based on the attorney’s experience.

The attorneys at Tanner Law Offices, LLC regularly assist clients in both preparing their green card applications and representing them at green card interviews with USCIS. We can provide you guidance and advise to maximize your chances of a successful application. Please contact our office at 717-836-0471 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.