3 Big Mistakes to Avoid During Your Marriage Green Card Interview
If you are looking to obtain a green card through marriage through USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) , then you should know that at some point during the process, you and your spouse will likely be interviewed by a USCIS immigration officer. The purpose of the interview is for the immigration officer to ensure that your marriage is legitimate, and that everything about the case checks out so that your application for a green card can be approved.
The interview is one of the most important parts of your green card case. Given that the stakes are so high when it comes to the marriage green card interview, it is understandable to be nervous. The issue is that when we get nervous, we tend to make mistakes.
In this article, we are going to try to calm those nerves a bit by going over 3 of the biggest mistakes to avoid during your marriage green card interview.
If, after reading this article, you have more questions about your marriage green card interview, or any aspect of obtaining a green card through marriage, then we invite you to contact us at Ashoori Law. Feel free to call us at +1-818-741-1117 or you may schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.
Now, let us discuss the 3 biggest mistakes to avoid at your marriage green card interview:
Mistake to Avoid #1 – Not Bringing the Correct Documents to the Interview
When you receive the notice from USCIS, indicating where and when your interview will take place, USCIS will also specify certain documents that you need to bring with you to the interview.
Some of those documents are:
- Your original birth certificate
- Your original marriage certificate
- Other documentation showing that you are in a bona fide These documents will vary from case to case. Some examples may include (i) pictures of you and your spouse together, (ii) a lease with both of your names on it, (iii) a utility bill with both of your names, and (iv) any other documents that you originally submitted with your case.
If you do not have the documentation requested in the USCIS notice, or other documents that you submitted with your initial application, it could result in various issues with your case. For example, the interview itself may be postponed, and your marriage green card application could potentially come under increased scrutiny, which could hurt your chances of getting your green card approved.
Therefore, be sure to remember to follow all of the instructions on the USCIS notice for the interview and be prepared to come with the correct documentation.
Mistake to Avoid #2 – Not Preparing for the Questions that Could be Asked
USCIS is aware that obtaining a green card through marriage is a process that can be abused by people having a “sham marriage” just for the purpose of obtaining a green card. Therefore, USCIS officers will ask a number of questions at the interview to determine whether your marriage is legitimate.
If the immigration officer suspects marriage fraud, they may ask special questions designed to test whether the marriage is bona-fide. These questions are commonly called “Stokes questions.” (The name refers to the federal case dealing with green cards through marriage, Stokes v. INS.) Some examples of Stokes questions are:
- How did you meet?
- How many bedrooms do you have in your home?
- On what days is the garbage picked up?
- Who sets the alarm clock to get up in the morning?
- What do you eat for breakfast?
- Where did you get your furniture?
- How many computers/laptops do you have?
- Which side of the bed do you sleep on?
- What color is your pillowcase?
As you can see, the questions are specific by design. The idea is that only people who live together in a marriage would know the answers to those questions.
Further, if the immigration officer suspects fraud, they may also separate the spouses during the interview and ask some of those “Stokes questions” in order to see if your answers match. Of course, the officer’s suspicions will be heightened if you and your spouse give different answers to the questions.
So, how do you get ready for an interview with such specific questions? The answer is to (1) be prepared and (2) do not try to guess or lie.
With regard to preparing for the interview, there are many resources freely available online that will provide you with the types of questions that immigration officers will ask during a marriage green card interview. So, take the time to prepare and know the answers to the types of questions that may be asked of you. The more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be.
In addition, if you do not know the answer to a question during the interview – do not guess or lie. The best way to handle a question you do not know is to, simply, say “I don’t know.” In many cases it is understandable to not know or not remember certain information. Moreover, not remembering something (rather than incorrectly guessing) is far better for your credibility, in many cases. Conversely, if you guess, and the guess turns out to be incorrect, this may adversely impact your credibility with the immigration officer.
To review, make sure to prepare for the interview ahead of time by going over potential interview questions and making sure that you know basic information about your spouse, like his or her birthday and the number of siblings he or she has. Also, if you are asked a question you do not know the answer to, just say that you do not know. Do not lie or take a guess.
Mistake to Avoid #3 – Rambling or Not Answering the Question Asked
As noted above, the interview for a marriage green card is important, and you are likely to be nervous. Sometimes, when people get nervous, they tend to answer more than what was asked, or they may give answers that ramble on. The instinct is understandable because you want to show the interviewer how willing you are to be helpful and provide information. However, giving a rambling answer, or providing far more information than was asked could end up annoying the interviewer.
So, during the interview try your best to make sure that you focus on only answering the question that was asked. If the question is “what is your current address?” and your current address is 123 Main Street, then your answer should be simply “123 Main Street,” not all of your addresses over the last fifteen years.
In short, answer the question that is asked and try not to answer more than what was asked of you. Additionally, make sure that you let the interviewer run the interview.
If you plan on applying for a green card through marriage, through USCIS, you should know that you will likely be required to attend an interview before an immigration officer. When going in for your interview, here are 3 tips to help you improve your chances of having a successful outcome: 1) make sure to bring the correct documents with you to the interview; 2) prepare for the types of questions that may be asked of you and avoid guessing; and 3) answer the question that is asked of you and avoid rambling.
My name is Michael Ashoori and I'm a U.S. immigration lawyer and the founder of Ashoori Law. As an immigration lawyer, I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States. If you have any questions, feel free to schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.
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Michael Ashoori, Esq.
U.S. Immigration Lawyer
I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.
Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.
Got a question? Send me an email.