Green Card Interview Tips
Typically, the last step in the Green Card application process is the interview. The word “interview" tends to frighten people, but rest assured, your Green Card interview is not intended to intimidate you. Rather, the purpose of your interview is to verify the information on your application and evaluate your eligibility to be a permanent resident of the US. Essentially, the immigration officer wants to get to know you and ensure you meet the criteria to hold a Green Card.
So, if you are confident about your Green Card application, you should have nothing to worry about in your interview. We generally advise applicants to hire lawyers to help them prepare their answers and compile the correct information. Lots of paperwork and preparation are involved before the interview even takes place, so be sure to seek legal counsel before you head into your interview.
In the meantime, our immigration attorneys want to help set you up for success. Although your lawyer can help you navigate the process, it doesn’t hurt to keep some tips in mind. As such, be sure to review the following 7 tips for your Green Card interview below to maximize your chances of getting approved for US permanent residence status.
Arrive 30 to 60 minutes early: Expect long lines to enter into the USCIS office, as these government buildings are notorious for long waits. The last thing you need is to experience additional obstacles in obtaining your green card, so we encourage you to arrive 30 minutes to an hour early to give yourself enough time to enter the building, find your interview room, and prepare!
Dress appropriately: You should wear conservative business casual clothing to your Green Card interview. Treat this like a job interview, therefore, you should avoid wearing jeans, t-shirts, strappy tops, strapless tops, and any revealing attire. First impressions count, so dress wisely!
Gather the proper documents and records, including:
- Appointment letter: Bring the interview letter from the National Visa Center (NVC).
- Passport: Bring an unexpired passport that is valid for 6 months beyond your intended entry and a photocopy of the biographic page.
- Photographs: Bring 2 color passport-size photos of each person applying for a Green Card.
- Birth certificate: Bring an original and photocopy version of your birth certificate. The photocopy version should be in English.
- Medical exam results: Once you get a medical examination before your interview, your physician should give you a sealed envelope of your results. DO NOT open the envelope but rather bring it to your interview and give it to your interviewing officer.
- A copy of the confirmation page from the Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, that you submitted online at ceac.state.gov.
- Original and photocopied documents: Bring originals and photocopies (in English) of the documents you were required to complete and submit to the NVC for yourself and your family members who also applied for a Green Card.
- Visa fees (if applicable): If you haven’t paid your visa fees already, bring them to your interview.
Don’t lie: You must be honest in all your answers during your Green Card interview. Although you may feel like you have to answer every question, know that it is perfectly okay to say “I don’t know” or “I can’t remember.” Lying to the immigration officer will only make your situation worse, so be truthful at all times!
Answer the questions: As simple as it may sound, answering questions during the interview typically goes one of two ways. The applicant either answers the questions directly or “beats around the bush” and doesn’t answer the questions asked of them. Immigration officers get frustrated when applicants don’t answer their questions clearly and concisely, and sometimes, officers question the applicant’s legitimacy altogether. To better avoid this, give clear and straightforward answers during your interview, and again, if you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest.
Practice: Practice is key to a successful Green Card interview, especially when a spouse is applying for permanent residency. With marriage-based Green Cards, spouses should be prepared to answer questions about their relationship, how they met, their daily habits, what their wedding was like, and other related questions. The purpose is to give the immigration officer a clear picture of the marriage and help them determine whether or not it’s authentic and legitimate.
Even the most devout and loving spouses forget the answers to these questions, so don’t panic. Getting a “wrong” answer does not always imply your application will get denied. Remember, be truthful in your answers, even if you say, “I don’t know” or “I can’t remember.”
Bring an interpreter: If you aren’t comfortable in your English, bring an interpreter, as one will NOT be provided for you. Make sure your interpreter is lawfully present in the US and not related to you.
The content above does not constitute legal advice nor establish an attorney-client relationship. This blog is intended for information purposes only. However, we encourage you to reach out to our lawyers to learn how we can help you achieve your immigration goals. Appel & Morse is a trusted law firm for your immigration needs.
Schedule a free consultation online or at (805) 467-6060!