How Should I Prepare for the Marriage Green Card Interview?

Immigration interviews, also known as examinations interviews, can be formidable. Couples embarking on an immigration process through marriage must understand that immigration regulations place the burden on them to prove to the satisfaction of the immigration officer that their marriage is entered into in good faith. In other words, the law presumes that an application for permanent residence based on marriage to a U.S. Citizen is fraudulent; hence the foreign national and his/her spouse must present evidence showing that they, in fact, intend to establish their lives together as man and wife. The examinations interview is always conducted under oath and it is often video recorded. The immigration examiner could also separate the couple and compare their answers to certain questions to find out whether they match up. It is, therefore, highly advisable to be truthful and to present genuine evidence at the time of the interview as lying under oath is perjury.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will elicit evidence at the time of the examinations interview indicating the existence of a genuine marital relationship. Any documents or information offered by the couple should logically fit into the history of their relationship and current state of their lives. Evidence that supports the existence of a valid marital relationship includes comingling of finances and liabilities, joint bank accounts, joint insurance, and portraits. In addition, couples could present affidavits and letters from family members and friends attesting to the existence of a valid marital relationship.

The experienced immigration attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates can greatly assist you in preparing for the interview by explaining well ahead of time the type of documentary evidence that you should present at the time of the interview. In this manner, you will have ample time to gather and prepare the evidence which will most favorably point to the existence of a good faith marriage. Contact or call one of the competent immigration lawyers at (800) 625-3404.

Couples have the right to be represented by an immigration lawyer during the examinations marriage interview. While the role of the immigration lawyer is limited in the green card marriage interview, the presence of the immigration lawyer could be useful in certain circumstances. USCIS officers are normally on their best behavior in the presence of an immigration lawyer. Furthermore, the immigration lawyer could remind immigration officers regarding proper procedures and can clarify the foreign national’s circumstances. Many couples feel a great sense of relief knowing that their immigration lawyer is present with them inside the interview.

The USCIS examiner could inquire about a variety of personal matters and could present the couple with detailed personal questions. Immigration examiners are highly trained and will carefully observe the couple’s body language and demeanor during the interview. The examiner may ask the couple separately or together where they met, how they became engaged, and who was present at the wedding. The officer may ask some seemingly trivial questions such as who pays the bills, what happened last night since 6 p.m., or what you did last Sunday. One particular officer in the Columbus, Ohio, USCIS office asks couples whether they have body piercing or tattoos, what they look like, and where they are located on their bodies.

The USCIS sometimes takes a very narrow view of what a marriage should be. Unfortunately they could expect couples to conform to U.S. habits, norms, and culture. Sometimes they fail to remember that what might be acceptable in the U.S. is not in other cultures and vice versa. If the couple believes that their marriage may be unfavorably viewed by the USCIS due to medical, socio-cultural, religious, or other reasons, they should discuss such matters with their immigration lawyer early enough to plan for the best manner to present such matters to the USCIS. For instance, if couples reside in different cities due to job related or personal reasons (i.e. caring for an elderly relative) or educational reasons, they have an added burden of showing that their marriage was entered into in good faith. The experienced immigration attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA, can assist you in bringing forth favorable evidence to overcome any such difficulties. Contact or call us at (800) 625-3404 for a consultation. Our experienced attorneys will carefully listen to your concerns and offer solutions.

The pressure brought about by marriage green card interviews can cause certain couples to present themselves poorly. Sometimes lingual, psychological, or cultural impediments can cause such poor performance. Hence, it is prudent to conduct a mock interview or a “dry run” in order to ease the couple’s mind and to alleviate any anxieties. Our lawyers will spend the time with you and your spouse to assure that you are both practically and psychologically prepared for the examinations interview well ahead of the scheduled appointment. We understand the sensitivities of the process and the many anxieties it brings.

In addition to proving that their relationship is entered into in good faith, couples are reminded that they must also prove that their current marriage is legally valid. To the extent either of the spouses was previously married, they must prove that such prior marriage was validly terminated. If the foreign spouse has previously applied for permanent residence through a prior U.S. citizen spouse and if such marriage was determined to have been solely entered into to gain immigration benefits, such determination may act as a bar from applying for permanent residence through a later spouse even if the relationship with the later spouse was genuine.

If the foreign national spouse was previously arrested for any reason, it is best to discuss such matters with the immigration lawyer to understand whether such arrest or any prior criminal history has an impact of the case. It may be necessary in such situation to request that the foreign national obtain certified copies of any conviction or acquittal records from the appropriate authorities for presentation at the marriage interview. Whatever the circumstances, the experienced immigration attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates can prepare you for the interview.

How to Contact Us:

If you have an immigration matter or need representation in any process, please contact one of our experienced immigration lawyers at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA or call us at (800) 625-3404 for a consultation. We offer decades of experience in family immigration, fiancé visas, green cards, permanent residence and much more.