Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Understanding The Green Card Interview Process

By Tomas Seabey

If you or your spouse (or spouse-to-be) is trying to achieve resident status in the United States, you will eventually have to undergo a green card interview. Like so many parts of the bureaucratic processes behind getting a green card, the green card interview has very stringent requirements and you will have to be as prepared as possible if you want things to go smoothly. A huge part of being prepared for this interview is having an idea about what to expect. By doing a bit of research and familiarizing yourself with some of the immigration interview questions you might be asked, you can be better prepared.

A big part of understanding the green card interview is having a glimpse of the types of questions you will be asked. Of course there is no set number of questions or any specific questions that can be studied. Mostly it will be based off of each individual circumstance with the focus on your relationship and living situation. These will get personal so rule number one is keep an open mind. Some of the question categories may consist of the following:

1. The plans you and your spouse or fiance have for the future 2. Detailed questions regarding the veracity of undergoing the green card process 3. You interests, hobbies or pastimes that you enjoy 4. How you met your spouse or fiance 5. Your work history and current work situation 6. Just about any question pertaining to your life and your relationship

The main focus of the green card interviewer is for the interviewer to ensure your marriage is genuine and not a fraudulent effort in obtaining a green card. Sometimes the questions might seem silly or not relevant, but there is certainly a goal. Just like any other interview process, the interviewer will be asking a series of questions to delve deeper into your relationship, working to get a sense of your honesty, and trying to uncover an inconsistencies in your story throughout the process.

If you notice the consular officer getting concerned and asking more pointed questions, it is most likely due to contradictions in the answers given by either you or your spouse. Honesty is your best defense to ensure you are being as open as possible with the interviewer. Any deception will most likely backfire in a big way, and trust us, every deception has been tried. The interests of the United States government is not to make this process difficult or to discourage people getting married. It works to ensure the marriage was entered in good faith by both parties and eliminate those applications where the marriage was only for the purpose in obtaining a green card.

In addition to being willing to answer any and all questions that are posed to you in an open and honest manner, you'll want to make sure that you bring along the right documentation for the process. When your interview was first arranged, you should have been informed of which documents to bring with you on the day in question. Make sure you go back over the list before heading out for your interview, so that you have everything you'll need. Failing to bring a single document can seriously delay the green card process - and might even jeopardize your chances for success altogether.

The following is a general list of the kinds of things you'll probably be asked to bring to your green card interview. Make sure that you inquire with your local office, however, to make sure that you have what they specifically require. Double check your appointment letter for more specifics regarding which types of documentation you need to bring. Some of the most common things required at a green card interview include:

1. Your birth certificate 2. Your marriage certificate if applicable. 3. The green card appointment letter 4. Valid passports 5. Your application for a green card and the alien registration form DS-230 6. Legal proof of divorce 7. Two recent, passport style photographs 8. Death certificates, if applicable 9. Any and all relevant USCIS documentation

Creating a master check list that lists out the documents you need to bring and some sample questions is a great way to be prepared for this very important day. It doesn't hurt to bring more with you on the day of your interview. For example if for some reason you are not asked to bring a passport, bring one anyway. Research and preparedness is your best weapon. Review the types of questions with your spouse or fiance, ensuring you both understand what will be asked of you. This checklist can be your best friend to having a successful green card interview.

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