As a Miami immigration lawyer who handles a significant number of marriage petitions (i.e. I-130 Petitions) many of my clients ask the same question – what can my spouse and I expect at the marriage interview?
My answer is simple. If there are no other issues that need to be addressed in the marriage petition case, and you and your lawyer have been diligent about accumulating the documents required to support your marriage petition, the interview process should be rather straight forward.
Your Miami immigration lawyer will usually print out and take a copy of the complete packet submitted to USCIS, and review the interview notice carefully for any additional items requested. He or she may also ask you to bring the originals (or certified copies), and a photocopy, of any documents that were already submitted (e.g. birth certificates, passports, etc.), as USCIS may want to view the official document.
If you are appearing pro se (i.e. you are representing yourself), or if you are not appearing with a Miami immigration attorney, but an attorney filed the papers for you, you will likely be asked at the beginning of the interview to sign a release. This allows the interview to proceed without your legal counsel.
What Happens at the Marriage Interview?
The USCIS officer will usually get the perfunctory stuff out of the way first. You will usually be asked some biographical information, such as your date of birth, address, date of entry into the U.S., mother’s/father’s name, date/place of marriage, etc. You may be asked questions concerning any criminal history, prior immigration violations, drug/alcohol dependency, etc. The interviewer will also ask to see the originals of the copies you submitted with the petition or application (birth certificate, marriage certificate, I-94, etc.). My office prepares folders with required documentation organized in such a way that it is readily accessible and easy to turn over to the officer. I usually hand over requested documents as requested throughout the interview so that my clients are not burdened with having to answer questions and rifle through paperwork at the same time.
As for questions regarding the marriage, you may be separated from each other for the interview portion. These questions focus on whether or not the marriage is bona fide (i.e. genuine). Some examples of interview questions include, but are not limited to:
- How did you meet?
- When did you start living together?
- Where was your spouse working when you met?
- What type of degree does your spouse have?
- What is your spouse’s mother’s name?
- Does your spouse have any siblings, and if so, what are their names?
- When was the last time you visited them?
- How far is the drive to their house?
- How much is your rent?
Again, this list of questions is by no means exhaustive, and only addresses the very basic questions commonly encountered by petitioners. In order to truly prepare for your specific marriage interview, I would recommend that you confer with your immigration attorney beforehand to ensure that you are adequately prepared.
For more information about the marriage petition (I-130), or the marriage interview process, please contact Miami immigration attorney Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305)895-2500 or visit our website at www. mmurraylaw.com .