People seeking a green card to live and work in the United States must usually attend an adjustment of status interview. It’s vital to have all your documents in order and to be prepared for the interview.
Adjustment of status is the process of applying for permanent residence if you are already living in the United States. The interview is usually the final step in the process, but you should not take it lightly. Ideally, contact an immigration lawyer to help you avoid the many pitfalls.
Most of our clients who are seeking adjustment of status have filed form I-485 and are family-based applicants such as the spouses of US citizens.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires both the applicant and the petitioner to attend the adjustment of status interview in many instances, particularly when the petitioner is a spouse. The immigration official wants to ensure that your marriage is bona fide, in other words it’s a genuine marriage as opposed to a fake contract to gain permanent residency in the United States. Although USCIS has the discretion to waive the interview on a case-by-case basis, this usually only happens in family cases in relation to parties under 14 such as unmarried children of the applicant or military personnel petitioners.
It’s vital to prepare carefully for this interview and to go over pertinent questions. You should also know what to take for the interview. The required items and paperwork are listed on your appointment notice but it’s easy to miss something.
If you are applying for a marriage-based adjustment of status you should bring the following to the green card interview:
- Appointment notice (I-797C, Notice of Action).
- A government-issued photo ID. The official will want to double-check he or she is interviewing the applicant, as well as the petitioner. You can bring your passport, even if it is expired, but the document can be any other government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license.
- A copy of your adjustment of status application. As well as Form I-485 you should bring any other forms you filed as part of the application.
- Original documents. If you sent copies of documents such as marriage and birth certificates to USCIS, you will need to bring the originals to the interview so that the official can compare them.
- Your spouse’s proof of citizenship or residency. Your spouse should provide original proof of U.S. citizenship such as a birth certificate, a naturalization certificate, or a passport. Parties should provide any divorce decrees from previous marriages.
- Documents proving your marriage is genuine. Bring evidence that you entered a bona fide marriage such as rental agreements, mortgages, leases, or utility bills bearing both names. Joint bank statements, credit card statements, or even photos of you and your spouse before the wedding, during the wedding, and later can be useful evidence.
- Relevant travel documents. Provider your advance parole permit if you traveled overseas while waiting for your adjustment of status interview.
- A doctor’s report from the mandatory medical examination on Form I-693 if you did not supply this with the original adjustment of status application.
If you are making an employment-based adjustment of status application you should also bring a current employment verification letter from your sponsoring employer documenting continuous employment as well as evidence of your salary. Work-based applicants should bring their Employment Authorization Document, two months of pay stubs, and their original I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers.
If English is your second language and you are struggling to master it, you should bring an interpreter for the interview. If you hire an attorney before the interview we will make sure your documents are in order before the hearing. We will advise you on what to bring to an adjustment of status interview and ensure you have the relevant documents. We are painfully aware of how one piece of missing evidence can derail your application for months or worse. Call Gardner & Mendoza for help in preparing for your interview. Read the testimonials of our happy clients and call us today at (757) 464-9224.
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