Common Questions Asked In Marriage-Based Green Card Interviews: What to Expect
After completing the necessary paperwork and submitting an adjustment of status application to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), an official will contact you to schedule an interview. It is important that both you and your spouse attend the interview to demonstrate how important the green card is for your relationship.
Upon arrival at the consulate, make sure that you are early and dressed in a fashion representative of the seriousness of your marriage. Do not be intimidated by the environment this initial interview is conducted in, some interviews may be conducted with the official behind bulletproof glass.
Prepare for the Interview
It is important to understand that there is no exhaustive list of questions that a USCIS official will ask. However, it is possible to prepare for the interview by going over the forms that you and your spouse have filled out in preparation for the interview.
If you hired an attorney to help you fill out and submit your immigration applications, you can ask the attorney for a copy. Discuss any discrepancies and make sure that you both are aware of the facts you will represent at the interview.
If the official becomes suspicious of your relationship, an additional interview will be necessary before a green card is approved, the “fraud interview.” Typically, this is not a good sign, however, it does not mean that your pursuit of a green card is hopeless. These interviews are usually far more intrusive, but the sample questions provided are a good way to prepare for both the initial and “fraud” interview.
The more you and your spouse’s accounts of the relationship match up, the quicker the interview, and the sooner you can obtain your green card.
Prior to the Interview
As noted above, preparedness is key to a successful interview. An official’s questions will usually begin with questions you have already answered on the multiple forms you have filled out prior to the interview. You and your spouse should go over the questions contained within these forms to ensure you both understand the questions asked and the reasons behind your answers.
It is possible that somewhere within the forms, there is a question that you did not understand and are unsure of when asked by an official. If this occurs, do not guess; simply inform the official of your uncertainty. A wrong guess that does not line up with information you have already provided could raise suspicion.
The Initial Interview
The interview will begin with a consular official placing you under oath and reviewing your adjustment of status application.
After asking questions from your application, the official will move to questions surrounding your relationship. The following questions are examples of what has been asked in prior adjustment of status interviews.
Details of how you and your spouse first met
- “Where did you first meet your spouse?”
- “When did you and your spouse meet?”
- “How long after that initial meeting did you and your spouse see each other before getting married?”
- “Do your parents approve of the decision to marry?”
Details about you and your spouse’s wedding ceremony
- “Where was the ceremony?”
- “Approximately, how many people attended the ceremony?”
- “Who were the (bridesmaids or groomsmen)?”
- “Did you go on a honeymoon?” Questions may flow from this question as well, such as, to where, when, for how long, etc…
Details regarding daily routines, especially if you and your spouse live together
- “Where do you and your spouse live?”
- “Who wakes up first?”
- “What does your spouse usually eat for breakfast?”
- “Who employs your spouse? Where is (his/her) business located?”
- “At what time does your spouse usually come home?”
- “Who cooks? What is your spouse’s favorite dish to (make/eat)?”
- “Do you have any pets? Who usually takes care of the pet(s)?”
- “Do you or your spouse attend religious services?”
- “Do you have any children with your spouse?” Questions will usually flow from this question if answered in the affirmative. The questions will regard the name(s), age(s), and general caretaking of the children. If you and your spouse do have children together, it is a strong indicator that the marriage is valid. It is not necessary to have children, however.
Details surrounding you and your spouse’s finances
- “Do you and your spouse have a joint bank account?”
- “How much does your spouse make annually?”
- “Do you or your spouse handle paying the bills?”
Details surrounding your extended family
- “How often do you see each other’s parents? How would you characterize your relationship with your in-laws?”
- “How (big/small) is your spouse’s family?”
- “Where does your spouse’s family live? Do you travel there often? What family do you visit for holidays?”
Details regarding you and your spouse’s celebrations
- “When is your spouse’s birthday?”
- “When is your anniversary?”
- “What holidays do you typically celebrate as a couple? What religious holidays do you observe as a couple?”
- Remember, consular officials have discretion to ask more or less detailed questions to discern the validity of your marriage. However, being able to answer these questions is a good way to prepare.
If the official is suspicious of the legitimacy of your relationship, an additional step may be added to the process before you obtain your green card, the “fraud interview.”
The “Fraud Interview”
Suspicion by the consular official can arise from age or language differences to inconsistencies highlighted in the initial interview. Although a fraud checking interview does not necessarily mean you won’t get a green card—many bona fide couples undergo a second interview—it does mean that the next interview will be more in-depth.
Due to the scrutiny involved with this additional interview, it is advised that you seek an attorney to help relax your situation. Although they have no control over the questions that will be asked, an attorney can possibly deter an official from harsh tactics as well as help you understand the next steps following your second interview.
Below is a list of questions that may be asked in the “fraud interview.” The fraud interview will be conducted with you and your spouse separately and your answers will be compared for accuracy.
Details regarding your family life
- “How were your children delivered?”
- “What are your children’s favorite toys?”
Details regarding your home
- “Can you describe where you live (number of bathrooms, bedrooms, colors of the living place, etc…)?”
- “How many cars do you have?”
- “Can you pull out your keys? Do you both have the same home key?”
- “Do you have a T.V.? What provider do you use for television? What shows do you and your spouse enjoy watching together?”
Details surrounding your private life
- “What size is your bed? Who sleeps on which side of the bed? What furniture is in your bedroom?”
- “Do you or your spouse watch T.V. or read prior to bed? If so, what?”
- “What type of contraceptive methods do you use?”
- “When was your wife’s last menstrual cycle?”
- “What color are your spouse’s pajamas?”
Furthermore, officials may ask you questions about events that occurred just prior to the interview to catch you off-guard. Make sure that you and your spouse are ready for any questions regarding events preceding this second interview
Protecting Yourself Against Harsh Tactics
It has been reported that some officials occasionally resort to harsh tactics to coerce a confession of a fraudulent marriage. Such tactics include telling you that your spouse already confessed and intimidating you with details of the impending punishments regarding fraudulent green card attempts.
If you are the victim of such tactics, take notes of the interview as soon as possible to record all details. You may ask to see a supervisor, ask that a supervisor review your case with the notes you have taken, and/or seek an attorney.