What is an Adjustment Interview?
Adjustment of Status is the process to which one petitions and applies to become a lawful permanent resident after being lawfully admitted into the United States.
NOTE: Adjustment of Status is NOT where the foreign national intends to go back to his or her country of origin for the interview (this is called Consular Processing and will not be discussed in this blog).
For purposes of this blog, we will be focusing on the interview required when a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident petitions (on Form I-130) for their foreign national spouse, while the foreign national spouse simultaneously applies to receive a green card (Form I-485). Once all required documentation and fees have been paid, both the U.S. spouse and the foreign national will be called into an interview at their local United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) office.
What is the purpose of the interview? USCIS conducts interviews with couples to ensure that a marriage is "bona fide" or a marriage entered into because of love. USCIS wants to ensure that no one is attempting to fraud immigration officers by pretending to have a lawful and real marriage, when in reality the goal is to obtain documentation and then divorce once the process is completed.
What happens at the interview?
It is important to note that not any case is the same. All cases are drastically different and the immigration officers that interview also can conduct interviews very differently. However, in general, an interview will be held in a small office with the petitioner (U.S. Citizen/LPR), the foreign national, and the immigration officer. The officer will usually ask basic, background questions to the petitioner first (i.e. name, date of birth, date of marriage, name of parents). Once the officer has got through the petitioner's biographic information, the officer then begins to ask the foreign national questions. These questions begin the same, however, once the biographic information has been stated, the immigration officer will start to dive into the facts of the relationship between the petitioner and foreign national. Usually during these questions, the petitioner is not allowed to speak or help the foreign national to answer any questions.
What questions will I be asked?
Again, each case is entirely different and no interview will ask the same questions. However, a foreign national should be expected to hear questions similar to: