No matter what stage of the immigration process you are going through, you will likely have to endure an interview with the U.S. government. The purpose of the interview is to determine your history and goals in the United States. An immigration lawyer can help you prepare for a USCIS interview or I-485 Adjustment of Status interview and feel more confident in your answers.
Adjustment of Status Interview (I-485)
You’ve waited a long time for your adjustment of status interview, and you’re probably anxious to wrap up this complicated and stressful immigration process. At Solano Law Firm, we guide families through the I-485 interview process, providing important insight and guidance at every step. Learn more about immigration interviews below.
What Is an Adjustment of Status Interview?
I-485 (Green Card) interviews are incredibly common, so don’t panic when you get your appointment notice — almost everyone needs an interview before they become a lawful permanent resident. However, because this may be the last step in your immigration journey, you want to be well-prepared when you appear at the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) office.
The typical I-485 interview lasts about a half-hour. You will be sworn in by an immigration officer and asked a series of questions about your application and whether you’ve experienced any significant changes since you submitted your I-485 (Adjustment of Status).
If you’re requesting an adjustment of status due to a marriage, you may expect some more personal questions about your relationship. The USCIS agent has to determine whether your marriage is real, so they may ask you some questions to make sure your marriage is not fraudulent.
Please note that while some interviewees get an approval on the day of their interview, it’s also not uncommon to have to wait for a written notice. Don’t worry if the USCIS agent tells you that you’ll get a decision in the mail — it doesn’t mean that your I-485 has been denied. However, if it’s been 90 days or more since your adjustment of status interview and you don’t have a decision, you should contact your immigration lawyer and request an update.
How Can I Prepare for an I-485 (Green Card) Interview?
If you’re not prepared for your Adjustment of Status interview, you may face delays or challenges with the processing of your application. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to take some time beforehand to compile your documents and prepare your answers. Your immigration attorney will also want to meet with you to discuss the interview process and highlight any specific issues that may arise in your case.
While every I-485 interview is different, there are several common things you can do to prepare yourself.
Collect Your Documents
The USCIS agent will want to review a series of identifying and immigration-related documents. You should bring the following information to your appointment:
- A government-issued identification cards, such as your passport and driver’s license
- A copy of your adjustment of status application, including your Form I-485 and any other supporting documents
- Your appointment notice, which is also called Form I-797C (Notice of Action)
- The original copies of your supporting documents, such as your birth certificate, marriage certificate, and divorce decrees (if applicable)
- Letters from your employer that confirm your ongoing employment and salary (if applying for employment-based adjustment of status)
- Documents that demonstrate your shared life with your spouse, if you’re applying for a marriage-based adjustment of status
- Sealed Medical Exam (Form I-693)
- An interpreter who speaks English and your language
Review Your I-485 Application and Think About Potential Questions
It’s always a good idea to take a look at your I-485 application and confirm its accuracy before your interview. This will help you and your lawyer identify any roadblocks or issues that may impede your application or complicate your adjustment of status interview.
You’ll also want to think about how you’ll answer questions about your marital relationship if you’re applying for a marriage-based adjustment of status. This may include questions about how you met your spouse, their job and income, and details about your engagement, wedding, and everyday life (such as how you share bank accounts, vehicles, and living situation). While these questions may seem invasive, it’s in your best interest to be forthcoming with the USCIS agent.
6 Mistakes to Avoid at Your Immigration Interview
While an I-485 interview is a routine process, it’s also easy to make costly mistakes that may endanger your legal immigration status. While nothing compares to personalized legal advice, you should try to avoid the following mishaps:
- Failing to bring a competent translator if you’re not fully fluent in English.
- Forgetting to bring all your documents and evidence with you.
- Not getting your foreign documents properly translated for USCIS.
- Lying or avoiding the truth during the interview.
- Failing to disclose criminal charges or convictions to USCIS.
- Becoming argumentative or combative with the USCIS agent.
If you’re not sure how to answer a question, consult with your immigration lawyer beforehand. Your attorney can help you understand the importance of USCIS’ questions and help you craft honest, accurate, and helpful answers.
What Happens If My I-485 Is Rejected or Denied?
USCIS has appeal procedures if your I-485 (Adjustment of Status) is denied or rejected. However, it may be a better option to reapply, depending on your circumstances. Sometimes, applications are denied because you’re poorly prepared, lack documents, or made minor mistakes.
For this reason, it’s always best to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer before you respond to a denied or rejected adjustment of status. The team at Solano Law Firm can help you understand your legal options and identify the strategies that make the most practical sense under your unique circumstances.
Learn More about the Adjustment of Status Interview
Solano Law Firm assists immigrants and their families with the adjustment of status interview process. When we represent a client, we educate them about potential interview questions and help them build their evidentiary file of documents, as well as help calm their nerves during this stressful time.
If you or a loved one have an upcoming I-485 interview or need help filing your immigration paperwork, contact us today. We look forward to speaking with you and learning more about your immigration goals and journey.