Spouses of US Citizens. We help obtain green cards for spouses of US citizens. Whether applying for adjustment of status in the United States, or applying for an immigrant visa at a US consulate abroad, we understand the importance of communication in this time of transition. We employ a hands-on approach to help our clients successfully navigate the process.
We are also able to extend advice and develop strategies for people who need to later become divorced, need to file with USCIS to remove the conditions on residence, or even have problems so personal, that filing a battered spouse petition for emotional, mental or physical abuse is necessary.
Family Members Filing for Green Cards. We help with routine green card filings for parents of US citizens, children of US lawful permanent residents, foreign stepchildren of US citizens, and other categories to obtain green cards as relatives of a US citizen or resident.
National/International Reach of our Family-Based Immigration Practice. Notably, the federal practice of immigration law allows us to represent people in any US state or residing in any country in the world.
Citizenship is Not the Same as a Green Card. US Citizenship is obtained via separate filing with USCIS only after a green card holder has been in the US as a lawful permanent resident for a certain period of time.
Personal Experience. I, Michael Ryvin, have taken part in the family based immigration process personally, having successfully acted as attorney and petitioner for my own spouse.
Preparing for the Marriage Based Green Card Interview
Congratulations! After filing paperwork with USCIS (former INS) you have received a notice from instructing you to appear at a local US immigration office for the green card interview!
You are almost at the finish line, but possibly worried about appearing in front of immigration authorities to answer questions about your relationship. What if you or your spouse is nervous and stumbles? What if one of you answers a question wrong?
The first thing I want to tell you is that beyond what you say or don’t say, government officials will have had the opportunity to review extensive evidence demonstrating the bona-fide nature of your relationship, and during the interview, look at the unspoken, and largely be able to tell if the relationship is real. So don’t worry too much! Just prepare yourselves for the interview, and put your faith in your relationship.
FIRST STEP: When you receive the interview notice, put the time and date on the calendar for yourself AND your spouse. Your spouse will be required to attend the interview, too. Review all the questions and answers to the application forms I-130, I-485, G-325 and I-864 that you filed.
In preparation for the interview, be sure to gather the following materials and documents:
- The Interview Appointment Notice. Take the original and a copy with you.
- Valid photographic identification such as your driver’s license and your social security card.
- Your Birth Certificate and Passport.
- Your spouse’s Birth Certificate or US Passport.
- Marriage Certificate.
- Copy of your I-130/I-485 petition.
- Financial evidence to demonstrate the foreign national will not become a public charge.
- Additional documents proving the bona-fide nature of your marriage such as:
a. Insurance Policies (car, life, health)
b. Joint Property Documents (car, apartment or house lease or deed)
c. Bank and Credit Statements (showing co-mingling of funds)
d. Household Bills (one for each party, showing both of you at the same address)
e. Wedding Photos and Photos of you and friends/family together (bring any marriage-album and any other picture album, or printouts from social media sites)
f. Any Other Evidence or Marriage (for example, cards or emails to each other, proof of trips together, etc.)
Before you are seated, you and your spouse will be sworn to tell the truth. The first set of questions may be basic, biographical questions about each other such as:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Names of children, if any
- Names of parents
Followed by more personal questions about each other, like how you met, your families and relatives, outings or vacations together, and questions to clarify what the officer can see in your photographs.
If the officer is not satisfied that the marriage is bona fide, he or she may separate you and your spouse during this interview or bring you back for another one. The next session will require you to answer questions about your living arrangements and your daily or regular interactions. They may have you answer written questions, like:
- How did you meet? Who made the first move?
- Is there a carpet on the ground when you walk in the front door?
- Which way is the kitchen from the front door? Which way is the stove?
- Where did you eat after your wedding?
- Where did you go after your wedding? Right after the ceremony? Any honeymoon?
- What time does each person wake up in the morning?
- What does your spouse do first thing in the morning? Last thing at night?
- How many brothers and sisters does your spouse have? Name them.
- Where do the relatives of your brother and sister live?
- Who cooks for the family? Where is the stove in the kitchen, next to what?
If you are in a true and valid marriage, anything you do in front of the USCIS will be natural, whether you are before the officer, agreeing, disagreeing or even confused about each other’s information (please speak up to correct any confusion, or write a clarification on paper if you are taking the test – as soon as you remember your mistake). Even though you may be nervous, be yourselves, and be very respectful to the officer. Try not to volunteer any information unless asked a direct question.
Once the interview is over, there will be several possible successful outcomes, including: (a) approval the day of the interview, (b) approval days/weeks after the interview, after completion of background checks, or (c) approval after you provide any documents that are additionally requested during the interview. And yes, there is a chance of denial, for which you may seek post-denial remedies.