The Preparation Guide for Your Green Card Interview: What You Need To Know

Green Card on top of American flag

Getting your green card is an essential milestone in your immigrant journey. If you’ve received the interview notification, you might have a lot of questions about what to expect and how to prepare. Not only that, you might be feeling a little nervous. Not to worry! Your immigration lawyer will guide you in the proper steps to take to prepare. 

In the meantime, here are some fundamental tips to get you on the right track. 

The Underlying Purpose of the Green Card Interview

By the time you get your interview, you have gone through an application process, submitted paperwork, and provided personal information about you and your family. The interview is a way for the United States government to encounter an applicant in person and verify their identity and — to some degree— their character. If your resident visa application was submitted through marriage, the USCIS would want proof that it is a valid marriage, not a sham one. In other words, the interview helps the government determine whether the person is eligible for a green card and/or whether the information in the initial application is fraudulent. The interview allows the government to weed out people trying to commit fraud or get in on fraudulent grounds. 

The interview is the final step in the process and can cause some jitters. Here’s what you should know. 

The Key for Your Green Card Interview is Preparation 

Preparation is essential to complete your interview successfully. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services conducts interviews for most applicants with a few exceptions or waivers. The USCIS officer will be looking at your verbal and non-verbal communications as a way to finalize your application. The big day is an occasion to be treated seriously, with applicants ensuring they have copies of needed paperwork, bring any additional paperwork, dress appropriately, and communicate with the interviewer. 

Being over-prepared will serve you well. 

Examples of Questions You Will Be Asked in Your Green Card Interview

Although every interview is a little bit different depending on your particular situation and application, overall, the interview can look a little bit like this: 

  • Questions regarding your full name, providing official identification from your home country. These are simple and straightforward questions that can help an interviewer catch someone who may want to commit fraud. 
  • They ask you to swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. Be prepared to raise your right hand. This way, if you tell lies during the interview, you can potentially be guilty of perjury. So be ready to answer honestly. 
  • Questions about your criminal record. The interviewer will want to know if you have any criminal record in your home country or if you have ever been convicted of a crime. 
  • They will ask you questions about whether anything has changed in your life since the time of your initial application. 

Big Don’ts On the Day of the Interview

You want to appear professional, confident, and ready. So while this is a big day, don’t let the nerves get to you and make you nervous. Take a couple of deep breaths. Be confident in your application. You’ve put in the work, and now it’s just the final step. 

Here are a couple of things to avoid:

  • Present new documentation in the interview that you have not verified or double-checked. You don’t want any surprises on the day of the interview. So if you’re handing paperwork over to the USCIS interviewer, make sure it’s the right paperwork. 
  • Don’t dress too casually. Treat the interview like a formal court case or court appearance. You are presenting yourself to an immigration officer. They represent the U.S. government in your case, so you want to make a good impression. 
  • Don’t lie to the officer. Answering questions truthfully is essential. Some people get so nervous about the interview that they begin to embellish or predict the answer. Answer honestly and directly. 
  • Questions about employment verification. These questions will apply to applicants that are going through an adjustment of status and have already been working or have received permission to work in the United States. 

Tips for Green Card Interviews in Marriage Applications 

If you submitted your resident application because you married a U.S. Citizen, the interview will have some additional questions to ensure that the marriage is valid. The United States takes sham marriages very seriously. For example, in 2019, nearly 100 people were charged with a massive marriage fraud scheme

Additional questions for marriage green card applications include:

  • Questions about how you all met. Don’t be surprised to hear questions about how you and your spouse met. What was the wedding like? Etc. These types of questions are often done one-on-one, with the spouse in the other room. It’s a way for the USCIS officers to ensure that the marriage is not for the sole purpose of green card status. 
  • Bring documents in an ordered and organized fashion. The officer will likely ask to see proof or verification that the marriage is valid. They may ask to see certain records or documents that help back this up, including photographs, letters, receipts, etc. 

Make the Most of This Opportunity & Have an Immigration Lawyer Guiding You

Every case is a bit different, but an immigration lawyer is here to help ensure a successful initial application and guide you through the interview process and the following steps. Whether you have recently married a U.S. citizen, have been working in the U.S. for some time, or submitting through family reunification, go through the process the right way to avoid delays. 

Have questions about an upcoming interview, or ready to start your resident application? Call the Winterberg Law Firm today. 

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Victoria Winterberg

Ms. Winterberg’s law school experience began after joining the Law School Preparation Institute while being a student at the University of Texas at El Paso. She then attended law school at Washburn Univesity School of Law before formally beginning her career. 

Leveraging a unique cultural background and approach to law, Ms. Winterberg uses her expertise in immigration law to bring people together. She has extensive work in all areas of immigration law and has helped countless people win cases and thrive. Immigration-related cases often involve the most vulnerable in the community, and our firm is driven by our ability to protect our clients and their families with each and every case.