The Importance of a Practice “Green Card Interview” with a Lawyer

The Importance of a Practice “Green Card Interview” with a Lawyer

If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident with a foreign spouse that you wish to bring to the United States to live and work, you will need to apply for a marriage green card. Part of this process involves an interview with an officer from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or a consular officer abroad. In the U.S. the interview may be done with the two of you together or separately. While this can be the most intimidating part of the immigration process, being prepared can help everything go more smoothly, make you less anxious, and dust of rusty memories that you will need to recount to the USCIS interviewer.

How to Prepare

  1. Refresh Your Memories: As a couple, sit down and go over some key events and dates in your relationship.
  2. Gather Your Documents: Collect the original documents that are part of the application you submitted, including birth certificates, marriage certificates, evidence of prior divorces, court records, passports, and any photos, legal documents, or other documents that are evidence that your marriage is authentic.
  3. Gather Any New Documents: If you have any additional documents that demonstrate the legitimacy of your marriage, you should bring those. New documents might include more recent photos of you as a couple, birth certificates of children, joint tax returns or bank statements, joint property ownership records, and joint insurance documents. If you are living in separate countries, provide travel itineraries for any visits or vacations taken together.
  4. Practice the Interview: Sit down with your attorney and conduct a practice interview.

Practice Interview with Attorney

Before you begin preparing for your green card interview, you should meet with me or another experienced immigration attorney. I can help you understand what the interview will entail and the types of questions you should expect. We can also discuss any possible legal or procedural problems that might arise during your interview. Unfortunately, if you aren’t prepared for invasive questions covering everything from anniversary dates to the color of your spouse’s toothbrush, you may not pass the interview, derailing your green card application and possibly resulting in your spouse being removed from the U.S.

I accompany my clients to the interview to document the content of the interview, explain legal issues to the interviewing officer, and/or clear up any confusion that may happen. While you must testify by answering all of the USCIS interviewer’s questions, I often engage with the USCIS interviewer if questions arise over legal or procedural issues. Sometimes I request that a supervisor be called into the meeting if the interviewer cannot seem to understand my client’s testimony or is treating them inappropriately.

The most important thing to remember about the green card interview is the importance of preparation. Have all of your documentation together, practice, and be prepared for the questions you and your spouse will face. I’ve worked with clients all over the world to help make this process as transparent and efficient as possible. I can put my experience to work for you too.