The last stage of attaining a green card through marriage is attending an interview. If the spouse seeking the marriage green card lives in the U.S., they are interviewed by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) official. A consular officer interviews those applying from abroad. The interviewer's main objective is to verify the validity of the marriage.

 They will ask a series of questions to confirm that your marriage is bona fide and verify any documents submitted in the petition. Knowing what to expect during the interview and preparing for the possible questions will help you get ready for the big day. To help you prepare, we have compiled a list of sample questions, tips to pass the interview, and things to expect during your interview. Let's get started!

What to Expect in the Marriage Green Card Interview

During the interview, the officer will review the paperwork and ask basic questions to know the applicant and confirm each individual of the couple lives and works. They will also want to know whether the couple is financially stable to avoid approving an immigrant who will become a public charge. By public charge, we mean that the person will require government welfare or assistance in the United States. 

Before the interview, you will want to review your application and come prepared with documents proving that you share a life with your spouse. These include: 

  • Phone bills, plane tickets, and letters showing your regular communications and visits if you live apart. 
  • Your wedding day photos, family events, and shared vacations
  • Children birth certificates
  • Shared financial statements
  • Shared insurance policies
  • Shared contracts for a house or apartment
  • Sworn statements from close friends who know you and can claim you are married

The consular or the U.S. immigrant official will also ask personal questions to test whether your marriage is authentic. None of these questions should be difficult to answer if your union is legitimate and you deeply know your spouse. Be sure that both of you remember the minor details about your relationship, like how you met and things that happened during your wedding. Each interview usually takes 15 to 20 minutes, so you must be straight to the point when answering the questions.

Lawyer Tips to Pass the Interview

The following tips will help you prepare for your green card interview, answer the questions correctly and pass your exam.

  • Recall your relationship memories: Discuss your relationship with your spouse and the memories you have shared. Talk of where you met, places you have visited together, and any other details about you two.
  • Bring all the necessary paperwork: You should carry all documents and forms that provide proof of marriage, including joint account bank statements, vacation photos, Affidavit of Support, etc.
  • Get organized: Put all your documents in a folder and arrange them chronologically to show neatness and organization. This will make it easier for the interviewer to review and verify them. You can consider getting an immigration lawyer consultation for guidance on the interview requirements. The immigration lawyer cost varies based on where you get them. 
  • Be punctual: Arrive at the interview at least 30 minutes earlier. This will give you enough time to pass through specific procedures like going through the metal detector to access a U.S. government building. Wear formal clothes: Because the interview takes place in a U.S. government building, it would be best to wear a convectional business outfit. Avoid revealing clothing and jeans. 
  • Speak up: Some interview questions may be too personal, and you might find them offensive. You have the right to speak up and let the interviewer know politely. It is okay to decline to answer.
  • Give honest responses:  You should not fear discussing your challenging experiences as a couple. In fact, making everything look perfect may suggest that your marriage is not legit.
  • Practice with your spouse before the interview: You can try stimulating the interview with your spouse before the big day. It will put you in the same line by helping you remember things that you forgot. Sometimes when you have stress, you can forget some simple facts even if you have been in a long-term marriage.
  • Enjoy the whole process: An interview doesn't have to be as stressful as many deem it. You should relax and allow everything to run smoothly. That way, the interviewer will trust you more and approve of your marriage. 

Consular Processing Interview Questions

Below are some of the questions that you should anticipate during your consular processing interview:

  1. What is your full name?
  2. What is your spouse's religious background?
  3. When did you get married?
  4. Where did you get married?
  5. Who were the witnesses at your wedding?
  6. Do you speak and understand your spouse's language?
  7. Does your spouse speak and understand your language?
  8. Do you plan to have children with your spouse?
  9. When do you intend leaving for the United States?
  10. What do you like about your spouse?
  11. Are you currently employed?
  12. What is your spouse's occupation?
  13. Do you have any children together?
  14. What are the names and ages of your children?
  15. Have you met your spouse's family?
  16. Have you ever been to the United States? If yes, what type of visa did you use travel to the United States?
  17. What is your spouse's education level?
  18. What is your education level?
  19. Do you plan to attend school in the United States?
  20. At what address will you reside in the United States?
  21. How did you and your spouse meet?
  22. When did you meet your spouse?
  23. Has your spouse told you about his/her prior criminal convictions? If yes, what was s/he convicted of and what were the circumstances?
  24. What do you like to do for fun?
  25. What are your hobbies and interests?

AOS Interview Questions

Some of the questions you should anticipate during your AOS interview include:

  1. What is your full name?
  2. What is your spouse's full name?
  3. When did you get married?
  4. Where did you get married?
  5. Who were the witnesses at your wedding?
  6. Are you a native US citizen?
  7. What is your spouse's place of birth?
  8. What is your date of birth?
  9. What is your place of birth?
  10. Have your previous AOS applications been rejected? If yes, then why?
  11. Are you currently employed?
  12. Do you pay your taxes regularly?
  13. What is your spouse's occupation?
  14. Do you have any children together?
  15. What are the names and ages of your children?
  16. What is your spouse's education level?
  17. Have you ever been in any judicial testimonials during immigration processes?
  18. How did you and your spouse meet?
  19. When did you meet your spouse?
  20. What do you like to do for fun?

25 Marriage Green Card Interview Questions

These are the most common immigration interview questions for married couples:

  1. How and where did you meet?
  2. Where was your first date?
  3. When did you start dating?
  4. What is your spouse's date of birth?
  5. How long did you date before getting into marriage?
  6. What attracted you to your spouse?
  7. What activities did you do together when dating?
  8. What made you decide to have a long-term commitment?
  9. Who proposed to whom?
  10. Did you live together before marriage?
  11. Where did your wedding take place?
  12. Who attended your wedding on behalf of each family?
  13. What food was served at your wedding?
  14. Did you perform any special rituals? If yes, which ones?
  15. Where did you go for your honeymoon?
  16. What made you decide on your honeymoon destination?
  17. Do you live in an apartment or your own home?
  18. What is daily life like for the two of you in the house?
  19. What is your spouse's favorite food?
  20. What is your spouse's favorite T.V. show?
  21. Who among you is the breadwinner?
  22. What is your current annual income in the U.S.?
  23. How many cars do you have?
  24. What do you do together during the holidays?
  25. Who takes the children to school? If any

What Happens After the Marriage Green Card Interview?

After spouses attend an interview in the USCIS local office, there are two possible results likely to happen. One is when they pass the interview, and the immigrant is granted permanent residence. The other involves getting a notice for the Stokes interview, which seeks further investigation and clarification.

 Stokes Interview

If you raise suspicion when answering marriage-based green card interview questions, high chances are that the officer will ask you to come for another interview. This process is called the Stokes interview. It gives the couple a second chance to convince the interviewing officer that their marriage is authentic.

 Stokes interview is also known as a fraud interview and is scheduled when the immigrant officer doubts the union after conducting the initial status interview. Doubts can arise if you or your spouse hesitate to answer some questions or fail to answer the questions completely. The officer may also have a suspicion if you give different answers. 

In a Stokes interview, the officer places each couple's individual in their interview room and asks them questions separately. They ask the same questions and compare the two sets of answers to see if they match. From there, they can judge and make a final decision.

Usual Reasons to Get Stokes Interview Notice

Spouses can receive Stokes interview notice for various reasons. If you receive this notice, the emigrant officer will inform you why you are called for an investigation at the beginning of the interview. Some of the most common reasons for the Stokes interview notice include:

  • The interviewing officer is not convinced about your marriage authenticity
  • Some information stated in your documents causes suspicion
  • Spouses cannot communicate in the same language
  • Lack of joint accounts
  • Contradicting answers during the interview
  • Incompatible lifestyles, substantial age differences, non-improvable religious and cultural differences

When is the Stokes Interview?

The Stokes interview takes place six weeks after the initial interview. You should bring similar documents as in the initial interview, including original documents stated in the application, identification paperwork, and copies. Financial documents and shared photos also help to provide proof of your marriage authenticity.

How long is Stokes Interview?

Stokes interview takes longer than the initial interview since the officer interviews one spouse at a time in separate rooms. It lasts about 8 hours, recording each spouse's responses to compare them later. If the answers are incompatible, they are brought together to explain the reasons for the differences. Since it is a second chance, even the smallest mistakes are counted. Too many different answers may lead to interview failure.

If the officer is still in doubt after the Stokes interview, they will not approve your marriage-based green card. The proceedings against the immigrant spouse may be removed.

Marriage Green Card Interview Experience: How it's really like

Immigration officers often use intimidating interviewing styles to detect non-authentic marriages. Nonetheless, you should not fear questioning if your marriage is real. While it can be hard to remain confident in such a situation, low confidence makes the officers more suspicious. You should try your best to stay composed when answering all the interview questions.

FAQs about Marriage-Based Green Card Interview

How many interviews are there for marriage green cards?

The number of questions the immigrant officer will ask you varies depending on your relationship with your partner. If the officer detects your marriage is fraudulent, they will ask more questions to dig deeper into the truth. If your marriage is authentic, the number of questions will be much lower, and the fundamental questions will come first.

How long is the marriage green card interview?

If your marriage is bona fide, you don't fall into any inadmissibility grounds, and your documents are in order, the interview will take only as little as 20 minutes. However, if the emigrant suspects something wrong with how you respond to questions, they will ask more questions. That means the interview will take longer than 20 minutes.

What Is The Processing Time To Get The Green Card?

The processing time varies based on where you file the application in the United States. In many places, it takes between 9 to 12 months after you fill Form I-130 and Form I-485, respectively.

What happens if you fail the green card through a marriage interview?

If you fail the green card interview, the USCIS may decide to investigate your case further. It may also give you a chance to provide further evidence; at this point, you might need the help of an immigration lawyer for marriage. Your spouse may also be placed into deportation proceedings.

UpCounsel Can Help you Prepare for your Marriage Green Card Interview

To answer all your immigration interview questions for married couples correctly, you need the help of expert immigration attorneys. At UpCounsel, we connect you with verified immigration attorneys with many years of experience in the legal industry. They have the requisite knowledge to take you through the application process and prepare you for the interview. Visit our website to learn more about our services or post a job describing your legal needs in a few sentences.