What to Expect at Your Green Card Interview

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Your green card interview is typically the final step of the Green Card application process. The interview takes place at a USCIS field office, US consulate, or US embassy. You will answer questions about your application and provide any changes that have taken place between when you filed for your Green Card and your interview date. The interview is an important step in obtaining your Green Card, so let’s look at what you need to know before your interview.

What Is the Green Card Interview

The Green Card interview provides the US government, through its immigration officers, the opportunity to meet you and verify your eligibility to become a permanent resident of the US. It also ensures that the information on your application is valid and up to date. The latter is especially important as the Green Card interview usually takes place 7 to 15 months after you file your application.

Who Needs to Be Present for the Interview?

Who attends a Green Card interview depends on the type of Green Card application you have submitted. Generally, whomever is named on the interview appointment notice must attend the interview. Typically, this includes,

  • Petitioner (sponsor) and beneficiary (applicant) for family-based Green Card applications unless they live in different countries.
  • Both parties for a marriage-based Green Card Application
  • The employee(s) for an employment-based Green Card application

In some situations, such as in the case of seeking asylum, you may not need to attend a Green Card interview. The US government will advise if you need to attend an interview as part of your application process.

Can You Bring Someone Not on the Interview Notice to the Interview?

You can bring additional people to your Green Card interview, depending on circumstances. This includes,

  • An interpreter (who must bring their own government-issued ID and complete an interpreter’s oath and privacy statement) if you do not speak English
  • A lawyer (who must submit Form G-28, Notice of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative) to help explain the process or help you handle any criminal or immigration issues that may be on your record
  • A legal guardian or friend if you have a disability

If you’re bringing someone not listed on the interview notice, it’s important to call the USCIS office, embassy, or consulate where you will interview to make preparations.

What Should You Bring to a Green Card Interview?

green card interview

It’s as important to know what to bring to your interview as it is to know who to bring with you. Exactly what you need to bring depends on if you apply from inside or outside the US.

Inside the US, you must bring,

  • A government-issued ID such as your passport or driver’s license (Note: unless you have applied under asylum or refugee, you must bring your passport)
  • A copy of your Form I-485 interview appointment notice (Form I-797C, Notice of Action)
  • A complete copy of your adjustment of status application packet. This must include any of these forms:
    • Form I-130
    • Form I-130A
    • Form I-864
    • Form I-131
    • Form I-765
    • Form I-944
  • Any travel documents if you traveled outside the US after filing your application
  • Original copies of any supporting documents that you submitted with your application including.
    • Birth certificate
    • Marriage certificate
    • Divorce decree
    • Death certificates
  • A completed Form I-693 with the doctor’s report from your medical examination if not submitted with your application
  • If applying for an employment-based Green Card, a letter from your employer on letterhead showing continued employment and salary
  • If applying for a marriage-based Green Card, original copies of documents showing proof of married life, including
    • Children’s birth certificates
    • Join lease or mortgage agreement/statements
    • Joint bank account and/or credit card statements

Outside the US, you must bring,

  • A government-issued ID such as your passport or driver’s license (Note: unless you have applied under asylum or refugee, you must bring your passport)
  • A copy of your DS-260 interview appointment notice (Form I-797C, Notice of Action)
  • Your complete copy of your adjustment status application packet including any of these forms:
    • Form I-130
    • Form I-130A
    • Form I-864
    • DS-261             
    • DS-5540
  • Any travel documents if you traveled outside the US after filing your application
  • Original copies of any supporting documents that you submitted with your application including,
    • Birth certificate
    • Marriage certificate
    • Divorce decree
    • Death certificates
  • A completed Form I-693 with the doctor’s report from your medical examination if not submitted with your application
  • If applying for an employment-based Green Card, a letter from your employer on letterhead showing continued employment and salary
  • If applying for a marriage-based Green Card, original copies of documents showing proof of married life, including
    • Children’s birth certificates
    • Join lease or mortgage agreement/statements
    • Joint bank account and/or credit card statements

What Other Documents Should You Bring?

In addition to the required documentation, you should bring any other documents that support your application and help you state your case for receiving your Green Card. This includes any proof of life changes that may impact your application since your filing.

What Kinds of Questions Can You Expect?

The purpose of the interview is to validate your application and ensure that everything you provided is true and accurate. These will include questions about you, any children you have, your relationship with your spouse (for marriage-based applications), and significant life events.

Green Card Interview Tips

Prepare for your interview by ensuring that you have all your documentation together and ordered so that it’s easy to locate needed documents. For family and marriage-based applications, make sure that you include anything that supports the legitimacy of your relationships including photos, holiday itineraries, and phone records.

During the interview, be open and honest with the interviewing officer. Answer questions completely and be open about any struggles or difficulties. You should also be prepared for very personal questions, such as questions about contraceptive use if you are seeking a marriage-based Green Card. If you do feel uncomfortable, it’s okay to say so. You can ask for time to overcome your discomfort so that you answer completely and honestly.

After the Interview

Your Green Card interview will have one of five results.

  • The government approves your application
  • The government asks you to come back for another interview (this will happen if they need more time to verify information)
  • The government will request additional information. In lieu of a second interview, they may request additional documents. Failure to provide the documentation will result in your application being denied.
  • The government may delay a final decision as they review the application. In this situation, you typically receive the final decision via mail.
  • The government denies your application. If your application is denied, you may be able to appeal. An immigration attorney can help you determine your next steps in this situation.

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