The Green Card interview is a unique experience, unlike any other. After enduring months of the application process, you are that much closer to becoming a permanent resident of the United States. If you are awaiting your Green Card interview, you know how nerve wrecking the wait can be.
The thought of facing the official that will ultimately determine your residential fate can make you nervous, fearful, and excited all at the same time. Hopefully this outline of the interview experience will ease some of the fears that you may have.
The best thing you can do is adequately prepare for your interview day. Having everything ready will make it easier for you to get to your interview early. This includes gathering all the documents you are taking with you the night before and laying out the outfit you plan to wear to the interview.
It is best to dress professionally like you are going on a job interview. Try to avoid an outfit that can lead the consular officer to making initial conclusions about your lifestyle. This would only make your interview more difficult.
Keep in mind that if you need an interpreter, you should arrange to have one accompany you to the interview. The United States government will not provide you with an interpreter. If you need an interpreter, you may bring a family member or friend or even hire someone. They just have to be over 18 years old and fluent in both English and your language.
When You Arrive At the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
When you arrive at the U.S. Embassy or consulate for your scheduled interview, don’t be surprised if you have to wait to meet with the actual consular officer. Sometimes interviews run behind schedule and you will spend a good amount of time in the waiting room with other immigrants in the same position as you. You can use this time to review your documents, meet a new friend, or just wait patiently.
Eventually you will be called back to the interview rooms. Once you have reached the office of the consular officer that will conduct your interview, he will verify you are who you say you are by checking your identification. The consular officer will then place you under oath (make you swear to tell the truth). After these preliminary matters are taken care of, you will have a seat at the consular officer’s desk and begin the interview.
During The Actual Interview
The consular officer will begin by reviewing your application and additional documents. The whole point of the interview is for USCIS to put a face with your application. It would be much harder for you to lie to the face of a human being than on a piece of paper. For this reason, you may find that the consular officer will ask you questions that you have already answered on your application.
Keep in mind that the consular officer is just doing his job by making sure you are eligible for a green card. You will then sign the application to confirm that everything in it is correct.
The consular officer will also ask you questions pertaining to why you want to live in the United States. For example, if you are applying for a green card through a family member, the consular officer will probably ask you questions to confirm that you have a qualifying relationship with your relative.
If you are applying based on a job offer, the consular officer will ask about your qualifications for that job. You should provide the consular officer with documents that will back up your answers, that way he is not just taking your word for it.
If the consular officer notices that something is missing from your application, he may put your application on hold to give you time to send in the information. In some instances, the consular officer may tell you right then and there whether your application is approved or not. On other occasions, the consular officer may defer informing you of your decision and inform you later.
If Your Application Is Approved On The Spot
If the consular officer approves your green card application right then and there, he will stamp your passport. Depending on how you applied for the green card, you will receive either permanent residency or conditional residency and your stamp will correspond to one or the other. This stamp will allow you to do all the things green card holders do, including working, until your actual green card arrives in the mail.
You will not receive a stamp in your passport if your background check has not come back yet. Instead, you will receive a provisional approval and your approval letter will come in the mail. The letter should arrive in about one or two months.