When immigrating to the United States, the green card interview is arguably one of the most important steps of the process. It is crucial that you are prepared for this significant step. Applicants outside of the U.S. will usually attend the interview at a U.S. consulate, whereas applicants from within the U.S. will be interviewed at a USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) office. Regardless of where you are applying from, the green card interview is probably the last step in becoming a permanent legal resident, so take steps to prepare. For help during your immigration process, speak with an experienced green card immigration lawyer in NYC.

What Happens in the Green Card Interview?

It can be nerve-racking to attend an interview of such importance, so it is important to know what to expect before the day arrives.

Your interview will be conducted by a USCIS officer. They will review your application and ask you some questions to verify the information and get to know you. After reviewing your documentation, like birth or marriage certificates or tax information, they will ask you some questions. They want to know information about your background, family, employment, immigration history, and more. These questions are necessary to verify the information you provided in your application and determine if you are eligible for permanent residency. If this still sounds daunting, there are some steps you can take to prepare.

What Should I Do to Prepare?

Before the day of your interview arrives, follow these steps to ensure that you are adequately prepared.

  1. Review your application and evaluate the information you included to make sure that it is accurate and consistent. If anything has changed since you submitted your application, like an address or legal name, make sure you are ready to inform the officer and offer proof through documents and evidence.
  2. Organize copies of relevant documents like birth certificates, identifications, marriage certificates, tax returns, etc. You will have already submitted this information in your application, but bring copies with you to the interview as well.
  3. Research the interview process so you understand what to expect during the interview. Knowing what you are walking into will help you feel calm and collected. Nerves are normal, but being informed can help dispel any feelings of stress.
  4. Practice by yourself or with friends and family. You should be honest during the entire interview, so you may not feel the need to rehearse answers. However, it can help you feel more comfortable and confident if you practice hearing and responding to certain questions you may be asked.
  5. Plan to bring an interpreter if you are not fluent in English. It can be beneficial to help you communicate with the officer more effectively. Your translator should be a neutral party that is only present to offer support throughout the conversation.
  6. Remain calm during the interview. Be respectful and stay calm to ensure you are fully present and answering questions to the best of your ability.