What to Expect at Your Adjustment of Status Interview

Adjustment of Status Interview

I handle a lot of family-based adjustment of status cases. My clients are always a bit concerned about the interview which seems to stem from horror stories about AOS interviews where the applicant is separated from her spouse for an intense interrogation that involves answering embarrassing and intimate questions. In my experience this simply doesn't happen. In fact, I have been practicing law for almost nine years and have never had an AOS case like this. The AOS interview in most cases is fairly routine and the interview is generally more of a formality and rarely lasts more than 20 minutes. However, this is not always the case and some cases which set off certain "red flags" may get a more formal and intense interview. I recently attended an AOS interview with a client at the USCIS Detroit District Office in which the couple was separated and interviewed for more than an hour.

Background of this Case

Before you start worrying about an hour long interview it is important to know a little bit about this case. This case was not exactly routine and had several factors which likely raised a "red flag." The foreign national in this case entered the United States as visitor and later changed his status to a student. While in F1 student visa status he married a U.S. Citizen and she filed a petition for an immigrant visa and adjustment of status on his behalf. The marriage fell apart before the adjustment of status interview was scheduled and the petition was eventually denied by the USCIS because the couple failed to appear for the AOS interview.

After the foreign national learned that his AOS case had been abandoned he filed a Motion to Reopen the case which was granted. Some time in between the denial of the AOS and the filing of the Motion to Reopen, the foreign national was divorced from his first wife and later remarried a different U.S. Citizen. When I became involved in the case the foreign national had just been remarried and the initial AOS case had been reopened. I filed a new AOS petition based on the new marriage and formally withdrew the previous AOS petition on behalf of my client.

Setting and Pre-Interview Experience

This interview took place at the USCIS Detroit District Office. I was present with my clients and one USCIS officer conducted the interview. The interviewing officer was very friendly, professional and courteous. (Some USCIS officers are not so friendly so you should be prepared to deal with someone may not be so nice.) The interview took place in an office and began with all four of us in the room.

The USCIS officer began by explaining the AOS interview process, confirming some general biographical information and collecting some documents from my clients. After her introduction the officer read my clients a list of laws related to immigration fraud, marriage fraud and placed them under oath. She then ask my clients if they were currently living together and indicated if they were not currently living together she may require different documentation. Both responded yes so she proceeded. She then escorted the U.S. Citizen petitioner to the lobby.

Interview of the Foreign National

The USCIS officer returned quickly and proceeded to conduct her interview of my client. She turned on a video camera, stated her name for the record and began the interview. The following is a transcription of that interview (I have provided some answers to the questions as needed so that subsequent questions make sense.):

What is your full name?

And your date of birth?

Where were you born?

When did you come to the U.S.?

When you came to the United States how did you enter the country?

Did you have a visa?

Was it your visa?

Where did you go when you arrived in the U.S.?

[I visited my family in Michigan]

Who did you visit?

How long where you in the U.S.?

[I visited for a while and then applied to change status to a student visa]

When did you change your status to F1?

Where did you study?

What did you study?

Did you graduate?

What did you do after graduation?

What was the date of your first marriage?

What was your previous wife's name?

Did she file an immigration petition for you?

Where you ever interviewed by a USCIS officer?

When did you split up with your previous wife?

When were you legally divorced?

When did you get married to current wife?

When did your meet current wife?

[I met her in 2007 at the University.]

What was she studying?

Where was she studying?

When you first met your current wife what was the nature of your relationship?

When got married to current wife when did you start living together?

Where were you living?

Where was she living while she was going to college?

When did you decide to get marry?

When you traveled to your home country in 2009 what was your immigration status in the U.S.?

When did you depart the U.S.?

Where did you stay when you returned to your home country?

What is your mother's name?

What is your father's name?

Do you have brothers or sisters?

[Yes]

Where they live?

What does brother do?

[He is a student]

Where does he go school?

Where does he live?

Are you currently working?

Have you ever worked since you've been married to your current wife?

[No.]

Does your wife currently work?

[No.]

How do you support yourselves?

Did your wife work before?

[Yes.]
What did she do?

What type of degree did your wife get?

Where does your wife's live?

What is your wife's mother's name?

What is your wife's father's namea?

Does your wife have any brother or sisters?

[Yes.]

What are their names?

Where do they live?

Do you ever visit your wife's family?

When was the last time you visited them?

Does she ever visit them alone?

How long is drive?

Do you and your wife own any cars?

[Yes.]

What kind of cars?

Does your sister have car?

[Applicant indicated that his sister had been living with him as well.]

Does your sister work?

Where does she work?

Do you and wife have bank account together?

Do you have any car payments?

Do you have any insurance policies?

How much is your rent?

Do you have cable?
[Yes.]

Is it cable or satellite? Who is the provider?

[We used to have satellite but now we have cable.]

Do you have cell phones?

[Yes.]

What provider?

[I have Verizon and my wife has At&t.]

Are you looking for work?

Is your wife looking for work?

Have you and your wife gone on any other trips together?

[Yes.]

Where did you go on your trip?

When did you go?

Who did you go with?

Has your wife ever met your ex wife?

Do you or your wife have any kids?

[No.]

Do you want kids?

Are you trying?

Are you using any form of contraception?

[Yes.]

What kind?

At this point the USCIS officer indicated she was satisfied and concluded the interview with the foreign national applicant and escorted him to the lobby.

Interview of U.S. Citizen Petitioner

The officer returned shortly with the U.S. Citizen petitioner and began the second interview. The following is a transcription of that interview:

What is your full name?

What is your date of birth?

What is your husband's full name?

What is his date of birth?

When did your husband come to the U.S.?

What was he doing in the U.S.?

[He was a student.]

What did he study?

Where did he study?

Did he get a degree?

What did he do after he graduated?

[He went back for a master's degree.]

What did he study?

Did he graduate?

When did you meet your husband?

[In 2008 while I was at college.]

What were you studying at school?

Did you graduate?

Did you work after graduation?

When did you and your husband decide to get married?

When did you get married?

Did you live together before you were married?

When did first start living together?

Where did you live while you were in college?

Have you ever visited your husband's home country?

[Yes.]

When?

Where did you stay?

Was that first time you met your husband's parents?

What are your husband's parents' names?

How many brothers and sisters does your husband have?

What are their names?

Where do they live?

What does your husband's sister do?

Are you and husband working?

Do you have any siblings?

What are their names?

Where do they live?

Do you visit them?

When was the last time you and your husband visited your family together?

How long did you stay?

How long is the drive?

Do you and your husband have vehicles?

Do you have any car payments?

Do you and your husband have bank account?

How much is your rent?

Do you have cable or satelite television?

[Cable.]

Have you always had cable?

Do you and your husband have cell phones?

[Yes.]
Who are your cell phone providers?

Have you and your husband taken any trips together?

[Yes.]

Where did you take your trip?

Was your husband still living with previous wife when your relationship began?

Do you and your husband have any reproduction plans?

Are you using any contraception?

The officer concluded the interview and brought the foreign national back into the office. She told the couple that their application was approved and that the foreign national would have his resident card in about two weeks.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see from the transcript of this interview the questions are not unreasonable or difficult. All of these questions are questions that any married couple could easily answer. The officer had to objectives during this interview: 1) To determine if the couple new basic information about each other that most married couples know; and 2) To make sure the couples answers were consistent.

My clients had no problem answering these questions and it was clear during the entire interview that the relationship was legitimate and the case was approved. Although this interview was quite uncommon in my experience it is important for all AOS applicants to be prepared for this type of interrogation.

Phil

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