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How to Prepare for a Green Card Interview

November 24, 2021

Green card interviews take place at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field office or U.S. embassy or consulate closest to you, based on whether you applied from outside or inside the United States. The interviewing immigration officer will ask you questions concerning what you put on your application and whether your situation has changed between the time you filed your application and your interview date. 

One of the most stressful parts of this application process is the interview. Immigration officers will conduct the interview process to verifying the validity of your application. Those immigration officials will ask you a series of green card interview questions and verify any documentation with your petition. In this article, we'll discuss what you need to know about the interview process and how to prepare for it thoroughly.

How Do I Prepare for My Green Card Interview?

A Green Card interview is a way the United States government uses to meet a green card applicant in person to verify that the individual qualifies to become a permanent resident and all the information on their application is legitimate. This interview is typically the last step of the Green Card application and usually happens 7 to 15 months once you file your application.

To ace the green card interview, you must understand what questions will be asked and what paperwork to bring along.

The documentation you need to bring to the interview is almost the same, regardless of your circumstances. But there is a minimal difference between those applying from within the US versus those applying from outside the United States.

Further, if your situation has changed since you filed your application, then you must bring the new supporting evidence of the new circumstances.

How to Prepare for a Green Card Interview

How to Apply for a Green Card While Outside of the United States

If you’re applying from outside the United States, you’ll through the “Consular Processing” process. This means your application will be processed via the US embassy or consulate in your native country. Here, you must bring the following documentation to your Green Card interview: 

  • Copies of your DS-260 interview appointment notice, including Form I-797C or Notice of Action).
  • Complete copies of your adjustment of the status application documents. Besides Form DS-260, your adjustment of status application packet must include any of these forms: Form I-130, Form I-864, Form I-130A, DS-5540, and DS-261.
  •  Your passport, unless you applied under refugee status or asylum status.
  • Other travel paperwork, such as advance parole, especially if you traveled out of the United States before your interview and after submitting your application.
  • Original copies of the supporting evidence you submitted with your application. This may include documentation, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, divorce decrees, and death certificates.
  • Form I-693 alongside a medical report from your medical examination with a certified medical professional if you didn’t submit it with your original application.
  • Original copies of paperwork showing married life, especially if you're applying for a marriage-based green card. These include any joint lease and mortgage statements, children's birth certificates, joint credit card statements, and joint bank account statements.

Related: New York City Green Card Lawyer

How to Apply for a Green Card While Inside the United States

If you’re applying while in the United States, you’ll go through the “Adjustment of Status” process. Typically, this just means that you’re just changing your current visa status. Here, you must bring the following documentation to your Green Card interview: 

  • Copies of Form I-485 interview appointment notice.
  • Complete copies of your adjustment of the status application paperwork. Besides Form I-485, your adjustment of status application packet must include Form I-130A, Form I-130, Form I-864, Form I-765, Form I-131, and Form I-944.
  •    Your passport, unless you applied under refugee status or asylum status.
  • Another travel document, such as advance parole, particularly if you traveled outside the United States before your adjustment of status interview and after submitting your application.
  • Original documents you submitted with your application. These include documentation, such as bank statements, marriage certificates, birth certificates, divorce decrees, and death certificates.
  • Form I-693 alongside a medical report from your medical examination if you didn't submit it with your original application.
  • Original copies of documents showing proof of marriage if you're applying for a marriage-based Green Card. These may include any joint bank account statements, children's birth certificates, joint credit card statements, and joint lease and mortgage statements.

What Types of Questions are Asked in a Green Card Marriage Interview?

Typically, the questions are about family, work, residential, education, criminal history, relationship history, and immigration history. Further, if you’re applying for immigration to the United States through specific eligibility criteria, including employment or marriage, then you’ll be asked more questions regarding that criteria. Most probably you'll be asked some personal questions about the personal information you provided together with questions on security. Common interview questions may include: 

  • When is your birthday?
  • In which country were you born?
  • Where do you currently reside?
  • Are you part of any terrorist organization? 

There are a ton of different situations where you could be eligible for a green card, including:

  1. Through family members;
  2. Through employment;
  3. Through marriage;
  4. As an asylee or refugee; and
  5. Through special immigrant status.

Examples of marriage-based green card interview questions are:

  • Where did you and your spouse get married?
  • What are the names of your spouse’s parents?
  • Where and when was your spouse born?
  • What is your spouse's current job title?
Contact Jason A. Dennis today for help with the green card process

For employment-based green cards, the immigration officer may ask you the following questions:

  • What year did you graduate?
  • What does the organization you work for do?
  • What is your current salary?
  • What will be your role at the company?

Besides making sure the information you provided is valid, the interviewing officer will also verify that the eligibility criteria you’re using are valid.

What's the Next Step After a Green card interview?

After your initial interview, you’ll receive your results and, if you were successful, then you’ll get your green card via mail. After the immigration interview, there are five potential outcomes.

  1. Application approval
  2. Application denial
  3. Additional review
  4. Second interview
  5. Request for additional evidence

The official US Citizenship and Immigration Services website lists only approval, Request for Evidence (RFE), and denial, as the potential outcomes, but other outcomes may include additional reviews and second interviews as other possibilities. 

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How Long Does a Green Card Interview Take?

For Those applying via adjustment of status process, if their green card interview was successful, then they'll receive their green card within 30 days of receiving a permanent residence welcome notice. Those applying via the consular processing procedure will get receive their green card within 45 days of their arrival. To get your green card, you must first pay the USCIS Immigration Fee.

The entire green card process can last for an extended period, and the interview is overwhelming. Thus, hiring an experienced immigration attorney in NYC from the initial stage is essential and can save you a ton of money and time.

The skilled immigration attorneys at The Law Office of Jason A. Dennis will provide a personalized approach to your case and we'll help you come up with the best strategy to ensure the best outcome. For marriage-based interviews, an attorney can go through your background, review the evidence, and suggest what to say and how to act in front of an interviewing officer. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our New York immigration law firm today at 516-494-7373.

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