Many immigrants find themselves applying for the adjustment of their status in the United States. This process entails applying for permanent residence (a green card) from inside the U.S. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) utilizes an interview with the applicant in order to verify information provided by the applicant.

Here are some aspects to remember when preparing for your interview:

  1. Who Must Attend The Interview

In some cases, the USCIS requires the applicant and the petitioner to attend the adjustment of status interview. This is common when the petitioner is a spouse of the applicant. USCIS will schedule the interview for you at an office closest in location to the applicant.

2. Consider Taking A Competent Interpreter

For applicants who are not fluent in English, using an interpreter is allowed and beneficial for the adjustment review. An interpreter will facilitate the interview in an understandable manner for both parties. Many applicants make the mistake of not bringing an interpreter when they should. If you find yourself not being able to speak English reasonably well, confusion can lead to suspicion during the interview. For example, if you do not understand an USCIS officer, or they do not understand your responses, it may appear that you are being dishonest or trying to conceal information.

3. Interpreter Qualifications

Generally, your interpreter should not be a friend or relative. The individual should be a third party, who is responsible for clear communication between the two parties. The interpreter needs to provide a valid government issued identification document in order to qualify as a valid interpreter.

4. What To Take To An Interview

a. Government-Issued Photo ID. Typically your passport (even if expired) but can also be any other government-issued photo ID, like a driver’s license.

b. Appointment notice for your I-485 interview

c. A complete copy of your adjustment of status application packet. In addition to Form I-485, and any other forms you may have submitted.

d. Originals of any supporting documents that you submitted to USCIS with the adjustment of status application. Especially important examples include birth, marriage and death certificates as well as divorce decrees (if applicable).

e. Your passport (unless you are in certain categories such as refugee/asylum).

f. Any other travel documents, for example your advance parole permit if you traveled while awaiting your interview.

g. Doctor’s report from your required medical examination on Form I-693

h. If applying based on employment, an up-to-date employment verification letter, documenting continued employment at a specified salary.

i. If applying based on marriage, copies and originals of documents proving your bona fide marriage.

5. Changes in Circumstances

The USCIS officer will ask if you have any changes in circumstances that will affect the answers on your adjustment of status application. Examples of these circumstances include the birth of a new child, new employer, or a new address. Be sure to take evidence of these new changes, since the officer is always looking for changes that will affect your eligibility.

6. Interview Questions

A typical status adjustment interview is less than 30 minutes. For applicants who filed Form I-485 based on spousal relationships, the questions may get more personal. The USCIS makes sure to verify the credibility of marriage based applicants to ensure that the applicants do not use a fake marriage to evade immigration laws.

Some Sample Interview Questions for Spouses Include:

a. How, when, and where did you meet your spouse?

b. Where and with whom did your spouse live when you met your spouse?

c. Who lives at your address now?

d. What type of work does your spouse do?

e. What is your spouse’s work schedule?

f. How much is your spouse’s salary?

7. After the Interview

If all goes well, the USCIS officer will approve your application, process a new green card, and mail it to the address you provided. However, the officer may tell you that you will receive a decision in the mail. This is not unusual! It is also possible that the officer cannot approve your application if he or she requires additional evidence. Be sure to submit additional documents and evidence on time, before or by the deadline.

Sanjay Sabarwal focuses his practice in the areas of Employment Law, Family Law and Personal Injury Law and provides outstanding service and expertise for your legal right to win cases with personalized attention and insightful counsel. Mr. Sabarwal has been the Co-Owner and House Counsel for Ziba Beauty, member of the American Bar Association, Los Angeles Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association and Orange County Bar Association. He also serves on the Advisory Board for Youth Business Alliance, which connects entrepreneurs to speak at underserved schools in Los Angeles County. He is also a board member for the Artesia Chamber of Commerce. Contact Sanjay at or (562) 250-4471.

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