How to Prepare for a Marriage Green Card Interview

By Mary Jane Freeman
Photos, your shared life
Andres Rodriguez/Hemera/Getty Images

If you're a foreign citizen married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and you want to obtain a green card based on this relationship, you must successfully pass the green card interview. The purpose of the interview is to verify that your marriage is the real thing and not something you entered into for the sake of getting permanent residence status. To be prepared, familiarize yourself with the answers on your application and be ready to give personal details about your married life.

Eligibility for Marriage-Based Green Card

Obtaining permanent residence in the United States, or having a green card, occurs in a number of ways, one of which is by marrying an American citizen or a permanent resident. When filing your green card application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, list your marriage as the reason you are eligible to apply. You are required to also submit documents such as your marriage certificate, any divorce decrees and evidence of any legal name changes.

Consistency of Application Information

After your application has been submitted and reviewed, you will be scheduled for an interview with an immigration official. This is typically the final stage of the application process. The interviewer will go over the answers you provided on your application, review your financial records, and examine original identification documents, such as your passport and birth certificate. To prepare for this portion of the interview, thoroughly review the information on your application and the financial records you were instructed to bring to the interview.

Proof of Shared Life Together

The immigration official will also ask questions aimed at verifying that you and your spouse actually share a life together and are not married in name only. He will ask see proof of this shared life. You can prepare for this portion of the interview by gathering all documents that help show your marriage is a valid one, even if copies were already submitted to USCIS. This includes not just your marriage certificate, but also items like cards and letters sent to one another, photographs and other mementos of your life together. Familiarize yourself with the contents of each. Other helpful documents include your children's birth certificates and shared banking and credit card statements, insurance policies and lease or mortgage agreements.

Personal Details About Your Marriage

Although you can't know the exact questions the interviewer will ask, you should be prepared to answer common questions about your relationship such as where you met, how long you dated before getting married, who proposed and when and the length of your engagement. You will also likely be questioned about the wedding ceremony such as whether your parents attended, the location of the ceremony, the type of food served, the number of guests attended and whether you went on a honeymoon. Other topics likely to be covered include your day-to-day routine, children, sexual activity, home routine, relationship with other family members, and celebrations you engage in. To become comfortable providing such intimate details about your married life, you may wish to have a trusted friend or family member lead you in a practice session prior to the interview.