We often get questions about what to bring to an immigration appointment. And this question is valid because bringing certain supporting documentation can help you while failing to bring certain documents can sink your chances for a successful immigration appointment.
Appointment Types: Biometrics and Green Card Interview
Generally, if you are applying for green card through marriage for the first time - after the marriage between a U.S. Citizen and a foreigner - you will most likely have only two types of immigration appointments. One includes a biometrics appointment, also known as Application Support Center (ASC) visit. This is a fairly benign event during which your picture, your fingerprint and signature are taken. Unless you fail to show up or properly reschedule this appointment, it will have virtually no consequences on your green card application.
Another type of immigration appointment – green card interview – is absolutely critical for your entire green card application. If you perform badly during the green card marriage interview, it will likely lead to the denial of your green card application. We reviewed the marriage based green card without interview; because it is unlikely to avoid the interview, it is our recommendation to take green card interview very seriously.
Immigration Appointment Preparation
Like with any other significant milestones in life, a successful immigration appointment involves a certain degree of preparation. Preparation includes being aware of the major mistakes people make during the immigration appointments and avoiding making them. This also involves bringing with you right documents and having them organized in a such fashion so that you can access the right papers quickly. Finally, this also includes practicing interview question responses.
Immigration Appointment “Don’ts” that Can Get Your Green Card Denied
Elsewhere on the blog and certainly within the Guide to Green Card Through Marriage, we publish major mistakes people make during their immigration interview. We also go over how to avoid making these mistakes. Examples include being late to your appointment, or being rude or unfriendly with the immigration services officer. These are obvious ones. There are more sophisticated mistakes people often make without even paying attention to it. Some people avoid eye contact with the immigration services officer, which can be interpreted as if you are not telling the truth. Some folks joke excessively, which appears to lighten the mood initially, but can quickly derail the entire interview if the immigration services officer does not like it. In short, immigration appointment such as green card interview should never be taken lightly. Knowing what typically leads to failed interviews and avoiding such thin ice areas is the way to avoid trouble.
What Documents to Bring to the Green Card Interview?
While there is no silver bullet that can universally summarize what to bring to the green card interview, we recommend approaching such documents from two angles: Bare minimum document package and documents addressing your application weaknesses.
The bare minimum package of documents should include copies of all applications and petitions you submitted to the USCIS previously. Some interview questions will be based directly on the information you supplied in those forms. Thus, being able to quickly reach out for those forms and look something up during the interview will be a tremendous plus.
However, it is our recommendation to not stop at bare minimum and bring documents that will add to your green card application. You will know the strengths and weaknesses of your case so much better than anyone else. Bringing documents that help you address the weaknesses will be important. And only you would know which of those areas are. For example, if you don’t have a long dating and marriage history, the weakness of your case may be just that. So to address this potential concern from the immigration services officer-interviewer, you’d want to bring those documents that demonstrate substantial intermingling of personal finances and joint asset ownership. This is just one example and we dwell into the green card interview preparation in much more detail in the Guide to Green Card Through Marriage.
Practicing For Immigration Appointment
Practicing for immigration appointment involves going through green card interview questions and responding to them. We have done substantial research into the topic of green card interview questions. We scouted the USCIS and immigration attorney websites, conducted research on the internet blogs and forums, and watched hours of mock interviews on YouTube. As a result of these efforts, we compiled a list of 326 possible green card interview questions. We don’t recommend writing out responses to all of these questions or even memorizing the responses. We recommend talking through them with your spouse: It will be a great practice in making sure your responses are consistent. You can download the entire list of the 326 questions together with the Guide to Green Card Through Marriage.