When I started the green card application process, the step I was dreading the most was the interview. I’m not sure why, but anything related to immigration tends to be intimidating for immigrants even if everything you are doing is legit and honest. (Note: If you married an American, it will be hard for him/her to comprehend your anxiety level.)
In order to prepare and get some understanding about what to expect, I did what I know to do best…Google it. From what I read, there were five major takeaways:
- Read everything you submitted in case there are any questions
- Your reaction to the questions are as important as the answers you provide
- Bring photos and any other proof of your legitimate marriage
- Make sure you are on the same page with your husband/wife regarding the major dates and your love story.
- If you don’t know something or do not remember something do not lie.
- Get there 30 minutes before the interview. There was a sign saying that you can check-in up to 30 minutes prior to your scheduled time.
- You will go through security. They won’t allow you to go in with your phone or phone charger.
- You will first check-in with your ID and appointment confirmation letter and you will be provided with a number.
- You will then go to a waiting room. We waited around an hour until our number was called.
- You will then go to an office where you will be interviewed. I was a little nervous, but she did not ask anything that we did not know. She was more interested about our relationship time line, our families, our wedding, etc. She also went through the forms and asked us to confirm information, but she did not quiz us on it.
- Once she approved our application she provided us with an approval letter. She also explained that since we have not been married for 2 years, the permanent residence is conditional (for 2 years) and we need to submit another form 3 months before that green card expires to remove the “conditional” status.
- We then went back to the check-in desk and we were provided with another number. Once our number was called, my passport was stamped, and that was it!
- The following week I got the official approval documents, and the week after I received my green card in the mail (so much faster than expected.)
- Even if you submitted proof of commingling assets or bank accounts, bring copies of the most recent bank statements or utility bills.
- She did ask us if we had the airline tickets from our wedding (since we got married in Costa Rica) but we did not have those. I recommend printing and saving the airline tickets of your honeymoon as well.
- I wanted to make my maiden name my middle name and adopt my husband’s last name, but she said I couldn’t change my middle name. This was the one thing that really bummed me so I recommend researching a bit more about this one if this is your plan.
[Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer. Every case is different. If you have any questions please contact a lawyer, I’m not an expert in the field… I’m just sharing my experience.]