How to Prepare for a Marriage Based Adjustment of Status Interview
Carefully Review Your Immigration Forms
In order to have been scheduled for an adjustment of status interview, you must have submitted a number of forms with evidence. It is imperative the forms were completely filled out and the information on them is accurate. Before the interview the Petitioner and the Beneficiary should carefully review the forms for any inaccuracies and to be certain they know the answers they gave to each question. The interview is the last chance to make any changes or alterations to the application and the interviewer will expect you know what is contained in the forms you signed.
Bring original documents and evidence of a good faith marriage
A well prepared application will include copies of all evidence required for adjustment of status, however, at the interview the officer will request to review the original documents. Thus, you should bring the originals of any evidence submitted, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, etc.
It is also crucial to bring evidence the marriage is in good faith. This can include joint taxes, joint bank accounts, birth certificates of children, pictures together, evidence of cards and gifts or anything that shows you have had a relationship with your spouse and intend to build a life together.
Try to make the interviewer like you
Most people are very nervous at the interview and this is natural. I tell my clients to treat it as a job interview where you want to impress the interviewer and establish a rapport with them. It is very important not to have an attitude with the interviewer and to be friendly and agreeable. You should make good eye contact and answer their questions honestly. In almost all cases it is important not to argue with them or challenge them. If they ask you a question and you do not know the answer or cannot remember, tell them that but explain why.
Further, not all interviewers are created equal. Some will have a long involved interview, while others will keep it short and simple. Some will ask many challenging questions, while others will only ask a few questions. You have to roll with the punches and think on your feet. Also, when you submit your application this lays the ground work for the interview. If you submit a messy and incomplete application with numerous inaccuracies, you can expect the interviewer to ask more questions and make things more difficult for you.
Review Sample Questions but do not memorize answers
When a client comes to my office about an adjustment of status interview, often the first thing they want is a list of questions the interviewer will ask. Next they ask me questions and say how do we answer this? For example often they will say, “my wife worked illegally, what do we say if they ask her why she did this,” as if I know the answer to why she did this. In response I always ask them “why did she do this,” and usually what the honest answer is the correct response. There is no trick to an interview and a person can over prepare for it. If a couple goes into an interview with memorized and rehearsed answers it can raise suspicions in the eyes of the interviewer. In addition, there is no way to prepare for all of the possible questions and interviewer may ask.
That said it is important to review sample questions to get an understanding of the types of questions which may be asked. The reason for this is not to memorize or rehearse answers but so that you are relaxed and prepared. The interviewer may ask names of other relatives or the date of birth of your spouse. They may ask about how the rooms in your house or apartment are arranged. They may even ask how close the nearest Laundromat or grocery store is. There are infinite possible questions they may ask and it is impossible to memorize an answer for all. What is possible is to be honest, prepared and if you don’t know the answer to explain why.
Hire an Attorney
Although many people try the process on their own, often in doing this, they put undo stress on themselves and possibly compromise their case. There is no substitute for having legal representation at an interview. First, having an attorney puts the interviewer on notice that you will stand up for your rights and that they can’t push you around. Thus, if the interviewer begins asking inappropriate questions, the attorney can object or speak with a supervisor. Second, a good attorney has experience with these interviews. More likely than not this will be your first and last immigration interview, however, the attorney may have handled hundreds of these interviews and knows what to expect. There is no substitute for experience. Third, you will be very nervous and the attorney can help you feel confident your case will be approved. For example you may be worried about a certain type of question and the attorney can assure you that it will not be a problem or if it will be how to best handle it. Fourth, the attorney can take records of everything that happens at the interview and if you have any complications they can address them immediately with the interviewer, a supervisor, or in rare cases an outside source such as a congressperson. This can help you avoid an arbitrary denial and subsequent costly appeal or a second interview.
For More information
Contact the Law Offices of Nicklaus Misiti, PLLC. We are a full service immigration law firm headquartered in New York, New York. We handle all types of immigration cases, including marriage based immigration and adjustment of status interviews. You can reach us at (212) 537-4407 or by filling out the form on our website, www.misitiglobal.com.
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