How do I prepare for an interview at the immigration office for my Marriage Green Card case?
Have Your Bona Fide Marriage Documents Ready To Go
The purpose of the marriage interview is so the Officer can determine whether your marriage is a bona fide one. In other words, did you marry your spouse for love or did you marry your spouse for the green card? There are many documents to show that you and your spouse have a “real” marriage, such as birth certificates of your children, a lease or mortgage with both names, and utility bills, just to name a few.
When you bring all of these documents in for your interview, don’t have them in a plastic bag! Put them in a folder or large envelope and make sure you have copies already made for the Officer. Organize them by type and date. For example, if you have joint bank account statements or utility bills, place the most recent ones on the top. Officers have a very limited time to interview a couple (usually 30 minutes or less), and if you’re organized, it will go much more smoothly and quickly.
No, you don’t have to wear a suit and tie and your wedding gown, but please look presentable. First impressions count, and if you roll into the interview with ripped up jeans and a t-shirt or a shirt with your belly hanging out, then it might look as if you don’t care or don’t think the interview is important. Obviously, an Officer should not judge you by the way you dress and certainly can’t deny a case for that reason, but why take a chance? Keep your dress professional and respectable, and you’ll hopefully be treated that way.
Be A Little Early (but not too early) and Definitely Don’t Be Late
Getting to your interview 15 to 20 minutes early will allow you to settle in and settle down. Yes, you will be nervous. In my 17 years of representing clients at their USCIS interviews, I can tell you that they all have been nervous. So if you get there early, it will allow you to just relax a bit before the interview. But, you don’t want to get there too early because then you’ll get even more nervous, sitting there, watching couples come in and out. Some happy, some not-so-happy. Fifteen to twenty minutes prior to your interview should be the perfect amount of time.
Go Over All the Applications You Filed Before the Interview
This goes without saying of course, but some couples don’t even make copies of the applications they’ve filed, so I’m saying it. A) Obviously make copies and send the documents to USCIS by some type of certified mail when sending out your applications; and B) Look over them before your interview. You should know your husband’s date of birth. And nothing spoils an interview when one of the spouses doesn’t know the date of marriage. So please go over the applications. Especially read all of the questions on the I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status. There are so many questions there and the alien/beneficiary needs to understand what they all mean.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking now: “does she really need to list that.” And my answer is, yes I do. Because it’s so important to tell the truth at an interview. Sometimes, my clients get so nervous that they forget the truth. Don’t laugh! It has happened.
This seems to come up more from questions on the I-485 with arrests and charges. If you’ve been pulled over, handcuffed, put in jail and then released without being charged, guess what? You’ve still been arrested and when the Officer asks if you’ve ever been arrested, the answer is “yes”. I’ve had to fix (when I can) more of these cases than I care to remember, because someone just forgot about that arrest, or that police officer’s blue lights, or being in a courtroom for something or another or having charges that were later dropped. If you’re unsure about something, get an FBI background check, and even these are not always 100% accurate. Just don’t lie, period.
If you need to get started on your marriage green card or have questions about interview preparation, give us a call today to set up a consultation at (757) 464-9224.
Do I qualify for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)?
You may be eligible to apply for DACA if:
- You were under 31 years old on June 15, 2012;
- You came to the United States before your 16th birthday;
- You have resided in the United States continuously since June 15, 2007 through the present;
- You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time you file your DACA application with USCIS;
- You had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- You are currently in school, attending a general education development (GED) course, have a high school diploma, have a GED certificate, OR are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
How old do you have to be to apply for DACA?
You must be at least 15 years old at the time of submitting your request. You must also have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.
Can I apply for DACA if I am in removal proceedings?
Yes. As long as you meet all of the other qualifications above, you may ask a judge to terminate your removal proceedings so that you can apply for DACA. If you are in removal proceedings, you can apply if you are younger than 15 years old at the time of your request.
What documentation do I need to apply for DACA?
You will need to prove each of the 7 eligibility requirements by providing primary documentation as proof. You may begin gathering the following documentation: passport, birth certificate, travel records, hospital or medical records, employment records, school records, church records, bank statements/transactions, lease agreements, tax documentation, utility bills, military records, etc.
I have been arrested before. Can I still apply for DACA?
It depends what you were arrested for and what you were charged with. Just because you have been arrested does not mean you are automatically disqualified. If you have a criminal record and otherwise are eligible for DACA you should speak to an experienced immigration attorney to determine whether you were convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors.
What if I have speeding tickets?
Minor traffic offenses will not disqualify you from applying for DACA. However, if you were convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) you may not be able to apply. You should discuss your case with an experienced immigration lawyer to determine if in fact you were convicted.
Think you qualify? Give us a call today at (757) 464-9224 to set up a consultation!