One of the most gratifying things about being a Miami immigration lawyer, is the fact that I have the unique opportunity to help couples build a life in the United States.
As some of you may know through personal experience, preparing for your adjustment of status (green card) marriage interview can be a nerve-wracking experience. To assuage your fears, it is a good idea to discuss what you can and cannot expect with your Miami immigration lawyer. Here is the interview process:
1. Receiving your Appointment Notice
Your appointment notice will arrive in the mail. It will usually say, “Request for Applicant to Appear for Interview” across the top of the notice. The notice will also have a list of items that you will need to bring with you to the interview. Be sure to comply with this list. If you have any questions about what you must take with you to the interview, you should consult your immigration lawyer.
2. Day of the interview – USCIS Adjustment Unit
You can choose to attend the interview alone. I personally prefer to attend the marriage adjustment interviews with my clients, so that I can help to identify and troubleshoot issues if need be. When you show up for the interview, be sure to take your Appointment Notice along with you, as well as all the relevant documents. Also, be sure to bring identification documents with you. These include but are not limited to: your driver’s license, Social Security card, and proof of legal U.S. immigration status (green card or U.S. passport).
3. The initial portion of the interview
Your identification will be checked by the USCIS officer. Then, you and your spouse will be asked to take an oath to swear to tell the truth. If you need a foreign language interpreter because you do not speak or understand English, be sure to tell your Miami immigration lawyer beforehand, so that one can be pre-arranged for you.
4. Examination of your written application
Your application for adjustment of status will be checked thoroughly by the USCIS officer. At this point in time, the officer will closely examine the medical and fingerprint reports for factors that might make you ineligible for a green card. If you and your immigration lawyer were thorough in preparing for this portion, you have less to worry about.
5. Verbal interview to ascertain that your marriage is bona fide
The United States government is particularly concerned with making sure that your marriage is bona fide (i.e. real, and for the right reasons). The USCIS wants to make sure that you did not enter into a marriage with a United States citizen for the sole purpose of obtaining a green card.
As such, you can expect to be asked specific and detailed questions about your married life, as well as your relationship. Such questions include, but are not limited to how you met, how many people came to your wedding, what color your comforter is, etc.
Not: Before showing up the interview, you and your Miami immigration attorney should have prepared a packet with your “bona fides.” I have covered these in a previous blog post. As a reminder, “bona fides” are documents that demonstrate that you live as a “normal” married couple would. These include joint credit card bills, joint checking account statements, mortgage statements, and/or joint utility bills.
6. Issues with your application
If the USCIS officer determines that you are missing information in your application, or that you are missing documentation, he or she will most likely instructed you to mail in a list of the missing documents. Be aware that as with everything, there is a deadline for complying with this request.
7. The Fraud Interview
You’ve met with your attorney, gathered all the requisite documents, and prepped for the marriage interview. Now, the USCIS officer has thrown a monkey wrench into the works by requesting that you appear for a separate fraud interview. Why does this happen?
In a previous blog post, I covered several “red flags” for the USCIS officers. These include, but are not limited to: a very wide age gap between spouses, different ethnicity, different religion, different residential address, etc. Remember – the marriage-based adjustment of status application is discretionary. If you have one of more of these red flags, be sure to cover this beforehand with your Miami immigration lawyer.
8. Approvals and Denials
At the end of the adjustment of status interview, if you are approved, you will be given a letter stating so. A denial of your application will also arrive by mail. If your marriage-based adjustment of status application has been denied, do not lose all hope yet. Consult with a Miami immigration lawyer to discuss your options.
If you would like more information on the marriage interview, please contact Miami immigration attorney Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305)895-2500 or visit our website at www.mmurraylaw.com .