The marriage based green card without interview is certainly a possibility. However, more often than not, in our experience, the interview is an integral part of the overall green card process. The interview tends to be one of the most rigorous tests of the application for the marriage authenticity. For those who have not done this, I recommend that you check out the Green Card movie. Albeit old, the film depicts well how an interview with an immigration officer may appear. In the meantime, below is the discussion about the marriage based green card without interview.
Green Card Interview Purpose
Once a person decides how to immigrate to USA and submits the green card application, and the USCIS assigns you your priority date, this kicks off your green card process. And because the green card application process is essentially a highly regimented mechanism designed to vet a prospective immigrant, the interview is just one of the ways for the USCIS to verify that the marriage is genuine and the applicant indeed has the right to the immigration benefits sought. Recall, other steps in this vetting process include providing of supporting documentation, proof of income (refer here for the discussion of income verification as one of the green card through marriage process steps), biometric appointment, and affidavit statements, among others.
So, the first reason for the interview is because the green card marriage interview is an opportunity for a USCIS officer to meet the applicant in person, ask questions and assess the body language to make sure that all other "components" of the green card application fit together. The USCIS officer often asks questions to verify that the information submitted on Form I-130 or Form I-485 matches the verbal responses.
The second reason for the interview is to verify the timeliness of the information. Often, there is a substantial delays in green card processing times, so that the information originally submitted with the application may be out of date by the time interview takes place. It is generally good idea to bring to the interview information that speaks to the changes in your personal circumstances, such as change or loss of jobs, arrests, newly filed tax returns, newly born children, or change of address, among others.
The third major reason for an interview is to assess the need for a fraud interview. Please note that a regular green card interview is not the same as fraud interview.
If during the interview, the USCIS officer suspects that your relationship or marriage is fraudulent, the officer may choose to refer you to the fraud unit. The spouses are typically separated and the interviewer asks a series of questions that are designed to go much deeper into the lives of the couple in order to test how well they know each other. Both spouses are asked the same questions and then responses are compared. Some interviewees note that questions can be highly personal in nature (e.g., when did you have sex last time) and the interview tactics may come across as deceitful in intent (designed to trick you or your spouse) and interrogative in style. The best advice we found is to keep your cool and respond to questions to the best of your ability. If the interviewer, however, asks you to sign a form withdrawing an application because it is based on fraudulent marriage, do not sign it. Ask to reschedule the interview and insist on having an attorney present to continue the interview.
USCIS Decides Whether to Issue Marriage Based Green Card Without Interview
According to the green card definition, the USCIS has discretion over the process, and their officers make decisions whether to approve your application without the interview or proceed with an in-person meeting. Separately, officer will decide whether, the interview involves only the intended immigrant only (and no spouse). More often than not, however, both spouses will get interviewed. You, as an applicant, have very little control beyond preparing and submitting a good quality and complete application. Obviously, if the USCIS officer "feels" that your application is incomplete, you are (and your spouse) are more likely to be invited to the interview. There are, however, some circumstances when the "no interview" is more likely to happen.
K-1 Fiance Visa Path
When the green card application takes place after the immigrant receives a K-1 fiance visa, enters that U.S., marries the U.S. citizen, and then files for an adjustment of status, green card interview may be waived. We have not seen verifiable statistics, but some estimate that K-1 applicants have 50-50 chance of being called in for an interview. The reason for such a high chance of no-interview is because technically, the interview had already taken place with an embassy officer of the immigrant home country (recall, the K-1 visa interview).
Conditional Green Card
More often than not, interview requirement may be waived because the applicant is applying for a so-called conditional green card. All K-1 finance visa applicants receive conditional green card. This is not an option that your can select on your application. By law, if you were married to your partner for less than two years, the USCIS can only issue you a conditional green card, which lasts for two years only. Within 90 days of the green card expiration, you can (and should) file documents for the removal of the conditional status. This typically involves providing documentary evidence that you still remain with your spouse and share life together. Because the USCIS has the opportunity to "double dip" into your story two years down the road, the USCIS officer may make a decision that no need requirement for an interview exists.
Clear Cut Cases
In some rare cases, even no K-1 fiance visa applicants or conditional green card immigrants can receive preferential treatment of waived interview. Those cases typically involve super clear-cut set of circumstances and the evidence suggests an extra-low-level of possibility of fraud. There is no silver bullet set of circumstances out there, and it will always be in the eyes of the specific immigration officer. However, these examples may suggest a very low level of marriage fraud possibility:
The best thing you can do to simplify your green card through marriage application is to submit a complete and accurate application. Visit www.doityourselfgreencard.com to download Green Card Through Marriage guide and subscribe to our newsletter, or www.doityourselfgreencard.com/blog for further discussion of immigration and green card issues.
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