Green Card Marriage Interview: What Does the Government Ask?

For international couples, the first test of their relationship might not be doing the dishes or taking out the trash. It is likely that the first hurdle to a happy future is actually permanent residency approval by the United States government for a spousal Green Card.

A spousal or marriage Green Card is necessary for a foreign husband or wife to live in the United States indefinitely and could even be required if you just plan to visit from time-to-time. However, the United States government is tough on sham marriages that are arranged just for the foreign spouse to obtain permanent residency in the United States.

The crackdown on fraudulent marriages makes it tougher on legitimate couples to go through this important immigration process. In particular, couples worry about the Green Card marriage interview that is mandatory before a foreign husband or wife is allowed to enter or remain in the United States as a permanent resident.

Our team at Greco Neyland in L.A. covers several of the questions the U.S. government typically asks in this Green Card marriage interview.

Questions on the Length of Your Relationship

The United States government thinks that one sign of legitimacy of a relationship is time. The longer a couple has been dating or engaged, the less scrutiny over the intent and purpose of the relationship. Therefore, many of the questions in a Green Card interview will focus on how long you’ve known, dated, and wanted to marry your future spouse.

Some of the specific questions asked during your marriage interview will include:

  • How long have you known your future spouse?
  • When and where did you meet?
  • Did you start dating right away?
  • How long have you had a romantic relationship?
  • When did you decide to get married?
  • How long have you been engaged?

All of these questions help an immigration official establish a timeline of your relationship. It is also a way for the government to test the truthfulness of your answers at the onset. Lying about the length of your relationship will not improve your chances of approval for a Green Card. In fact, being deceitful just to increase the appearance of legitimacy will severely hurt your eligibility for a spousal Green Card.

Questions on Having a Serious Relationship

Another series of questions will focus on how serious you are about marriage. The United States government doesn’t have an interest in your religious views, unless there is another reason, but they do want to see that you have made a serious and long-term commitment to your future spouse.

In order to ascertain how and when your relationship progressed from dating to engagement to marriage, an immigration official will often ask about typical milestones in a relationship and when these occurred with your future partner. Some of these questions are:

  • Have you met your spouse/fiancé’s parents?
  • How soon did you introduce your fiancé/spouse to friends and family?
  • When did you buy the engagement ring or propose?
  • How often do you see your spouse’s siblings, parents, and extended family?
  • Do you attend holidays and special events with one another? Describe a recent gathering or event.
  • What is one gift you’ve given your fiancé/spouse?

Questions on How Well You Know Your Spouse or Fiancé

It is easy to prepare for many of the questions an immigration officer asks about timing, events, dating, and your relationship timeline. An immigration lawyer can quickly prepare you for these questions and there is often one definitive answer that is easily learned by the government. However, questions on how well you know your spouse or fiancé are far more complicated.

These are often questions that dive into the specifics of your relationship, the preferences of your partner, and require responses that aren’t widely known to other individuals. It is also harder to predict exactly what questions an immigration official might ask, but here are some examples:

  • Does your spouse have any tattoos?
  • Where does your spouse work and does your spouse enjoy his or her job?
  • How does your spouse get to and from work and how long is the typical commute?
  • Can you draw a diagram of your bedroom?
  • What was your last vacation and what was one activity you did on the trip?
  • What did you eat at your wedding (if it is already past)?

The spans and topics for these questions are seemingly endless and really do require in-depth knowledge of your partner. Answering inaccurately on a single question shouldn’t disqualify you, but it could prompt other, more thorough investigation into your relationship.

Follow-Up for Suspected Fraud

When an immigration official suspects that a marriage is fraudulent, the official can take other steps in the investigation. A government official is allowed to investigate public records to affirm your timeline of the relationship, visit you at home to verify that you live with your spouse, talk with neighbors and friends about your relationship, require photographs and evidence of your relationship, and request a subsequent interview.

Preparing for a Green Card marriage interview is just one step in the application process for an international couple. But it is a step you don’t have to undertake alone. A California immigration lawyer can help prepare you for the interview and handle all aspects of your Green Card application. Want to learn more, contact us at Greco Neyland in L.A.

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