When the U.S. government sends you a notice to appear at a marriage-based green card interview, it is likely to make you feel a bit anxious or worried. If you only recently settled in Kentucky, you may have already encountered challenges as you adapt to your new lifestyle. Perhaps you still struggle with a language barrier or have had a bit of a problem getting used to American food.
Answering interview questions that you know immigration officials intend to use to determine if your marital relationship is legitimate may be a frightening thought. However, if your marriage is legitimate, you shouldn’t have much to worry about, provided all your paperwork is in order and you can show ample evidence to prove it.
Winning your interviewer’s favor
The immigration official who interviews you has a lot of influence on whether you are allowed to stay in the United States. In other words, you want to make a good impression on this person. The following list provides tips that may be helpful:
- Do not be tardy for your appointment. If you show up late, it gives the impression that you are not taking the process seriously.
- Better yet, arrive early by at least a half hour or more.
- You cannot enter the interview area with a cell phone in your possession. There are other prohibited items, so you’ll want to make sure you know what they are and do not have any in your possession.
- Your marriage interview is not the best time to wear your fuzzy slippers and pajama pants or tee shirt bearing a controversial slogan. It is always best to dress conservatively in casual business attire.
- In addition to your immigration documents, you may want to bring photo albums, tax return forms, bank account statements or any other document or item that can help prove that your marriage is on the up and up.
- Never give an immigration officer the original copies of your documents. Have duplicate copies on hand in case the interviewer asks for them.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, you may wind up facing legal problems if you try to fake your way through or lie. It’s always best to be honest and admit if you don’t know something. Don’t be surprised if your interview asks intensely personal questions, such as what color your bedroom is or where you and your spouse went on your first date.
A sign that things are not going well
If your interviewer separates you from your spouse so that you can answer questions out of each other’s earshot, it may be a sign that he or she suspects that your marriage is fraudulent. Knowing where to seek support if a legal problem arises during or following your interview may be key to resolving the problem and achieving your goal of obtaining a green card.