Adjustment of status interview preparation
As part of the I-485 process, you’ll be required to attend an interview with an USCIS officer. This article will help you be prepared and know what to expect.9 min read
What to expect at your AOS interview
As part of the I-485 process, you’ll be required to attend an interview with an USCIS officer, unless this component is waived under special circumstances. The USCIS will send you an interview notice approximately 4 to 10 months after filing Form I-485. Depending on your circumstances, a petitioner may be requested to join the interview.
When you arrive at the USCIS office, you’ll be placed under oath and then asked I 485 interview questions by an immigration officer. The officer may also inquire about the documentation you submitted. The interview will vary in length, but will typically take about 30 minutes to complete and will be video recorded.
Who attends the I-485 adjustment of status interview?
If your name is on the I 485 interview notice, then you’re required to attend. In some family-based Form I-485 filings, a petitioner will also be requested to accompany the applicant. This is typically the case for marriage-based applications.
- U.S. citizens do not need to accompany their parents, children, spouses, or siblings.
- Employers are not obligated to attend interviews of employees.
In some circumstances, the USCIS will waive the interview component altogether.
There is an I 485 interview waiver for the following people:
- Minor children of a U.S. parent that were included as part of the original filing documents
- Parents of U.S. citizens that were included as part of the original filing documents
- Fiances of U.S. citizens and children of those fiances
- Cuban natives and/or citizens applying with the November, 2, 1966 Act
The USCIS may waive interviews for the following employment-based cases:
- You hold employment with the petitioner who initially submitted the employment-based visa petition
- You already qualified for a green card because you were approved for an alien extraordinary ability or alien of exceptional ability
- You are a professor or researcher
- You provide medical care and have a national interest waiver
Will your spouse be interviewed?
For marriage-based I-485 applications, a spouse may be required to attend. Depending on the type of I485 interview, it may be more personal.
Can you bring a lawyer?
You can bring your lawyer to your AOS interview. This is actually a good idea for those that have criminal or immigration charges on their records. If your lawyer is attending the interview, then your lawyer must submit Form G-28 (Notice of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative).
Can you bring an interpreter?
Applicants that are not fluent in English may have an interpreter present in the I485 interview. Bringing an interpreter can help ensure that your answers are properly conveyed. The interpreter will facilitate communication and make sure you understand the USCIS officer (and vice versa).
When you select an interpreter, it’s best not to use a family member or friend. Rather, the interpreter should be a professional. The interpreter must bring government-issued identification and translate word by word. Interpreters have been denied in the past, in cases where the immigration officer believes the interpreter is not competent enough to conduct translations.
Will the couple be separated at the I-485 interview?
USCIS officers often conduct interviews with both spouses present, but can also conduct the interview separately. All interviews are different.
Form I-485 interview experience
The I 485 interview experience will start with an oath. The interviewee will ask a series of questions.
How long is the green card interview?
The interview typically takes around 30 minutes to complete. Some interviews may be longer or shorter.
What to bring to an I-485 interview
You’ll want your full I-485 application and original supporting documents (if possible) in the list of items of what to bring to a green card interview.
Documents checklist for I-485 interview
This I-485 interview documents checklist will help prepare you for an interview. Reviewing the Form I-485 checklist will also help you remember the documents that USCIS officers may ask questions about.
|Documents to bring to I-485 interview|
|If you’re in the United States||
|If you’re NOT in the United States||
Below are additional documents you may be required to bring to the interview if you have had some unexpected life changes. These documents include:
- A change in employer
- A change of address
- The birth certificate for a newly born child
This is only a segment of the list though. Check out Form I-485 step by step instructions to ensure you’re not missing any documentation. You’ll also learn that how to prepare for a green card interview is a lot easier with a lawyer by your side.
Form I-485 interview questions
The most important tip to being successful in an interview is to be honest. It’s the immigration officer’s job to verify the claims you’ve made in your application. For example, if you’re attending an I-485 marriage based interview, then the officer wants to ensure that your marriage is real and valid.
Understand that the AOS interview questions you’ll be asked will be personal. If you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest. Do not make up an answer.
Below are I-485 interview questions you can expect to answer:
- What is your date of birth?
- What is your daily routine? What side of the bed do you sleep on?
- What is your favorite holiday?
- Are you religious?
While some of these may seem trivial, they’re meant to characterize you.
Questions for parents during I-485 interview
Below are I 485 interview questions for parents:
- What are your children’s favorite foods?
- Where do your children go to school?
- What sports do your children play?
Questions for spouses during I-485 interview
Some questions spouses will be asked include the following:
- Describe the details of when and how you met your spouse?
- Where did your spouse live when you met them?
- Where is the current current? Who lives there?
- Tell me your spouse’s date of birth.What is your spouse’s date of birth?
- Where was your spouse employed when you met him/her?
- Where does your spouse work now?
- What is your spouse’s typical work schedule?
- How much money does your spouse make?
- How do you and your spouse manage finances? Do you share a bank account?
- What bank do you use?
- Did your spouse own a car when you met him/her? If so, describe the make, model, and color of the car.
- Do you or your spouse still drive that car?
- If not, what car does your spouse drive now?
- What is the monthly car payment? How much left is owed?
- When did you and your spouse get married? Describe the proposal. Describe the wedding. What food and drinks were served? What was your first dance song?
- When did you start living together?
- Where did you go on your honeymoon, if you had one with your spouse?
- Who pays the rent/mortgage? How is the mortgage paid?
- Do you have a landlord?
- How many bedrooms does your home have?
- Are there bedrooms on the same side of the house?
- What size bed do the two of you share?
- What furniture do you have in the bedroom?
What happens after the I-485 interview?
There are a few steps that will happen after the interview:
- Approval. Congratulations! If the I485 interview is successful, then the USCIS officer will approve your I-485 application. Your new green card will be sent by mail 2 to 3 weeks after your interview.
- Another interview. If the USCIS officer requires more information, you may have to attend an additional interview. The officer may also want to include a family member or spouse.
- Request for Evidence. Rather than a second interview, you may be asked for additional information. The USCIS officer will tell you exactly what information you must provide to make a final decision on your application. You can expect supplementary information like a birth certificate, financial documentation, or criminal records. You must submit this information prior to the due date, otherwise you risk your application being denied.
- Further review. If you don’t receive approval right away, you won't always have to provide additional information or attend a second interview. At times, the USCIS officer may simply need more time to review your application and recorded interview. This may delay the Form I-485 processing time.
- Denial. Unfortunately, there are cases in which the USCIS officer may deny your application. If you are in this position, it is best to contact an immigration lawyer to help you file an appeal.
Adjustment of status denial
Below are common reasons that your Form I-485 may be denied.
|You do not have a lawful status||You must hold a legal status in the United States.|
|Death of a Petitioner||
Prior to 2009, an application would be denied if the petitioner died before the application process was complete. Post 2009, you must meet the following:
|Applicant gets married||You no longer meet criteria.|
|Applicant gets divorced||You no longer meet criteria.|
|Canceled job offer||You no longer meet criteria.|
Other reasons include working in the United States without proper documentation and permission, as well as entering the United States through the visa waiver program.
What happens if adjustment of status is denied?
If your I-485 is denied, then you can appeal your case. For this option, it’s best to contact an immigration lawyer to help you file an appeal to ensure you have the best application process and I485 interview experience going forward. You may have to re-file your application.
Remember that you can either file Form I-485 online or print out the form and mail it in. If you mail the form in, include a Form I-485 cover letter.
Form I-485 interview waiver
The interview may not be required for all applicants. When the applicant has lawful status in the United States at the time of application, there may be an I 485 interview waiver—however, this is not standard procedure.
For additional assistance with your interview, post a new job on UpCounsel to get legal help.
Can an I-485 be denied after an interview?
Yes, there are several possibilities for why your I-485 may be denied. Such explanations include not having lawful status, death of a petitioner, marriage, divorce, and working in the United States illegally.
How long does it take for USCIS to schedule an interview for I-485?
I 485 interview scheduling is approximate. It can take 7 to 12 months to get a scheduled interview.
What does it mean that an interview was scheduled for the I-485?
As part of the I-485 application process, an interview will be scheduled by the USCIS to ask you questions and assess the validity of your application. An I 485 approved without an interview can be an option for some.
What should I wear to the AOS interview?
Consider wearing professional or business casual attire.