Top Marriage-Based Green Card Interview Questions
There are various ways for immigrants to obtain lawful residence in the U.S. A common path to U.S. citizenship is through a green card. Green card holders, also known as lawful permanent residents, are legally permitted to live and work in the United States.
While green card holders enjoy many of the same benefits as U.S. citizens, there are certain limitations. For example, lawful permanent residents cannot vote or run for political office. They must also renew their green cards on a regular basis (typically every ten years) to retain their lawful residence status.
Fortunately, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows eligible applicants to obtain green cards through a family member (such as a parent, sibling, or spouse). While marriage-based green cards can open doors to a wealth of opportunities for non-citizens, this particular route to citizenship is closely scrutinized by USCIS.
What Is a Bona Fide Marriage?
Whether you’re sponsoring your spouse for a green card or applying for a marriage-based green card yourself, it’s critical to follow each step of the process as meticulously as possible.
From the initial petition to collecting evidence to the green card interview, there are various hurdles a couple must clear to secure a marriage-based green card. These checkpoints are intended to deter applicants from using a fraudulent marriage for ulterior motives, such as evading the U.S. immigration system or entering the country illegally.
In an effort to prevent immigrants from acquiring green cards through a sham marriage, the U.S. government requires applicants to prove that their union is bona fide (Latin for “good faith”). A bona fide marriage is a genuine partnership that was entered into for legitimate reasons.
In addition to submitting a completed application and providing relevant evidence of a bona fide partnership, non-citizens who apply for a marriage-based green card must also pass the final stage: the interview.
What to Expect in a Green Card Interview
The last step to obtain a marriage-based green card is to complete an interview with a USCIS official. It's normal to feel nervous going into the interview stage, as even well-intentioned couples in established marriages aren't immune to the stressors of U.S. immigration processes.
Feeling unprepared or uncertain about what to expect during your USCIS appointment can be anxiety-inducing. Fortunately, there are various ways that couples can prepare for the interview stage. While there is no official list of questions that USCIS will ask, familiarizing yourself with common topics and inquiries can help you retain your peace of mind during the interview stage.
Keep reading to learn some of the most common questions to expect in a marriage-based green card interview.
While the bulk of the interview will revolve around your marriage, don’t be surprised if the interviewer briefly asks you about yourself as well. Common questions about your personal history may include:
- When and where were you born?
- How did you enter the U.S.?
- What are your parents' names and ages?
- Do you have siblings? Where do they live?
- Has your family ever visited the U.S.?
You can likely expect several questions about you and your spouse’s relationship history and development. Common questions may include:
- Where did you meet?
- What did you have in common?
- Where was your first date?
- How long did you date before marriage?
- How did you and/or your spouse propose?
- Did your families approve of your partnership? Why or why not?
- How long was your engagement?
Applicants should also expect to be asked some questions about their wedding. Common conversation starters include:
- Where and when was your wedding?
- How many guests were in attendance?
- What food, if any, was served?
- Where did you go for your honeymoon?
- Did you write your own vows?
- What did the bride’s dress look like?
- What was the wedding theme?
- Did you serve alcohol? What kind?
- What song did you choose for your first dance?
- How late did the guests stay?
Married Life Routines
Couples can also expect the USCIS interviewer to inquire about married life, as this can shed light on how well each spouse understands the other’s habits, preferences, and routines. Common questions include:
- What is a typical “day in the life” for you and your spouse?
- Who does most of the cooking?
- Who does most of the cleaning?
- What is your spouse’s biggest pet peeve?
- How often do you communicate while apart?
- How and when does each spouse commute to work?
- How does your spouse enjoy their alone time?
- What activities do you enjoy together?
- What side of the bed do you sleep on?
- What medications does your spouse take?
- What is a typical breakfast for you and your spouse, if any?
- Is your spouse a coffee drinker?
Family & Children
If applicable, the USCIS interviewer may also ask about your children and family. Common questions include:
- How do your kids get to school?
- Who are their friends?
- What’s their favorite color?
- What is their favorite food? Their least favorite?
- What hobbies do they enjoy?
Questions to Catch You Off Guard
In some cases, your USCIS interviewer may have certain questions up their sleeve that don’t fit neatly into any of the above categories. More often than not, such outliers are easily answered by couples in a legitimate partnership, but may throw spouses off guard nonetheless.
Consider these examples of potential outlying questions to be prepared for:
- Who woke up first today?
- What kind of shampoo does your spouse use?
- What color curtains are in your bedroom?
- What did you do last weekend?
- What was the last meal you shared together?
Best Practices for a Great Interview
While it can be all too easy to feel under pressure during your USCIS interview, it’s important to remain calm when possible.
There’s no reason to panic if you and your spouse miss a question or two (normal couples aren’t immune to occasional forgetfulness or disagreement, after all) so long as the missed information isn’t substantial or suspicious.
When possible, consider following these best practices for a marriage-based green card interview:
- Be prepared. While it may feel silly at first, practicing for your interview with your spouse can help refresh your memory, gain confidence, and strengthen your connection with your partner.
- Be honest. USCIS interviewers don’t expect perfection. It’s okay to speak up and be honest during the interview. If you’re unsure how to answer a question, it’s typically best to just say so, as backpedaling after an incorrect answer is more likely to raise suspicion.
- Be real. For many couples, a green card interview can feel like preparing for a test. It’s important to relax and remember that the interviewer isn’t there to grade you on your answers; rather, they’re there to determine if your relationship is authentic. Occasional blunders are part of being a real human in a real relationship, so don’t be afraid to be yourself.
- Be professional. While there’s no need to dress for a formal event, dressing professionally is a must. If able, opt for closed-toe shoes and neutral colors. Try to avoid distracting patterns, bright colors, and attire that may be considered revealing. If you choose to wear jeans, opt for a dark wash without any holes, rips, or frays.
Reliable Legal Representation Tailored to Your Needs
Hubbs Law, P.A. is proud to serve immigrants throughout Miami-Dade County. Whether you’re applying for U.S. citizenship, defending against a removal order, or appealing to USCIS after your petition was denied, our dedicated Florida immigration attorneys will fight tirelessly to make your American dream a reality.
Our firm is devoted to pursuing justice on behalf of our clients. We strongly believe that all people have the right to seek new opportunities, provide for their families, and pursue their passions regardless of national origin. If you intend to build a new life for yourself and your loved ones in America, you deserve reliable representation.
The road to U.S. citizenship can be complex and tiresome. Many deserving applicants are forced to wait several months or years just to move forward in the process, only to be met with rejection. That’s where our firm comes in. Reclaim control of your life by reaching out to our experienced immigration lawyers today.
If you’re petitioning for a green card in Florida, it’s crucial to have the right legal team in your corner. Call (305) 570-4802 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.