Marriage-Based Green Card Interview: 7 Things You Must Know

Marriage-Based Green Card Interview: 7 Things You Must Know

Are you worried over how to handle your marriage-based green card interview? As an immigration lawyer in Houston, I can fully understand your apprehensions. It is in fact, the biggest concern of non-citizens married to US residents. Ever since the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments came into force in 1986, immigration officials have been less than generous and can be suspicious. They focus more on investigation and fact-finding to detect fraud marriages.

With the current administration’s anti-immigration stand, the uncertainty and wariness over marriage-based green card interview are widespread. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions until the officials of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are satisfied that the marriage is bona fide. Here are seven important things you must be aware of if you have to face a marriage-based green card interview in Texas in the future.

No Escape From Green Card Interview

If you are seeking a marriage-based green card, you have to attend the interview. This allows immigration officials to ascertain if the marriage is real and the couple intends to establish a life together. It is mandatory for both spouses to appear before the officials, who may interview them together or separately subject to their consideration.

The primary purpose of such an interview is to find out whether the couple is really married, the marriage is legal, valid, and in good faith, and the aim of marriage is not to get immigration benefits. It is also checked if the non-citizen spouse is suitable to get a green card and become a permanent US resident.

Your local USCIS office conducts the interview for a marriage-based green card. Failure by any of the spouse to attend the interview may lead to the rejection of your application. However, in case of separation or divorce, you may seek a waiver excluding your spouse from the entire process. Talk to an expert Texas immigration lawyer to know grounds for seeking the waiver.

Questions During Green Card Interview

Don’t feel distressed thinking over questions to be asked during your marriage-based green card interview. Officials request and check documents showing that the marriage is legal and valid. Make sure you have proof of marriage acceptable to them. It is desirable to consult a Houston immigration attorney beforehand so that you can have all documents ready beforehand.

Here are some common sample questions you can expect.

Marriage Questions

  • Where and when you get married?
  • How was your wedding?
  • Who solemnized it?
  • Any special rituals?
  • Who were all present at the wedding?
  • Types of food served
  • Whether you went for the honeymoon?
  • Details about your honeymoon

Relationship Questions

  • When you first met your spouse? Which place?
  • How was the first meeting?
  • How long you dated each other before marriage?
  • Who was first to prop up the marriage proposal?
  • What is the reaction of your parents?
  • What did you do to convince them?

Daily Life Questions

  • How is the daily chorus?
  • Do you text too often or talk on the phone?
  • How is the division of work at home?
  • Who cooks at the house?
  • Who takes care of kids?
  • How do you spend weekends or holidays?
  • Where do you go for shopping?

Personal Questions

  • Tell the names of common friends
  • Who likes what kind of food?
  • How much you and your spouse know each other’s family?
  • Favorite sports, personal habits, birthdays of each other
  • Any health condition or medicines taken by each other
  • If you have any previous criminal or immigration history

Each question is an important milestone for your green card application. Some questions may be personal, invasive, or irritating, but don’t try to hide anything. Take the above-mentioned questions as the base to prepare yourself, talk to a Houston immigration lawyer to know about your rights, be respectful to officials, conduct yourself with proper etiquette and confidence, and refrain from lying or giving misleading or false information.

Officers Can Investigate Further After Green Card Interview

If immigration officials have doubts or feel that the marriage is only to get a green card, they can investigate further. The first step is to conduct separate interviews with you and your spouse. Different answers may put you in more trouble. However, this does not mean outright rejection of your marriage-based green card application.

The authorities, in such cases, delay their decision and decide to investigate more. This may lead to either of the two following scenarios.

  • They issue a “Request for Evidence.” In legal terminology, this is equivalent to a notice informing of the intention to deny you a marriage-based green card unless you present more evidence.  Consult a reliable Texas immigration lawyer to prepare your answer.
  • The other is further interview by Homeland Security officers. They may visit your place of residence and take stock of how you live with your spouse. Unless satisfied, they may issue a “Notice of Intent to Deny.”

Apply Again If Denied Marriage-Based Green Card

An interview is not an assurance that you will get a marriage-based green card. Based on the ground for rejection of your application, you can again apply. Consult a specialized immigration lawyer to know your options. You can apply against the decision or re-file your petition and submit more proofs to reinforce your claim.

Always remember, your chances of getting a marriage-based green card is subject to the satisfaction of interviewing officer. There are instances when the green card was denied despite genuine marriages because the officer decided that the non-citizen spouse was not fit to become a US resident. If you are facing such a situation, you have the option to apply against the decision or re-file your petition.

Arrest During Marriage-Based Green Card Interview

You may be arrested while appearing for an interview at a USCIS office. This can be a reality, if

  • you have a pending deportation order
  • you are facing a criminal charge but absconding
  • you have an outstanding warrant
  • you have committed a crime that necessitates your deportation

Get Help of An Immigration Attorney

Having the support of a green card lawyer with expertise in dealing with similar cases can be a great asset. You can have access to fast and dependable legal support at every stage. A lawyer can help you gather all documents necessary for your green card application. You stand to gain from his experience with previous clients and prepare yourself accordingly for the green card interview. He can reflect upon your concerns and guide you through until you get a green card.

Contact a specialized immigration attorney at Zavala Texas Law to help you navigate through your marriage-based green card interview and successfully secure permanent residence status.