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Family-Based Immigration USCIS Spouse Interview Part Two

One of our teammates recently went through the USCIS family-based immigration interview with their spouse. In our previous post, we learned what USCIS expects from the couple and what kind of documents to bring with you to the immigration interview. This is the final installment into our personal look of the family-based immigration interview with USCIS.

What kind of documents does USCIS require?

The documentation requirement could vary slightly based on the situation of the sponsor and immigrant. For example, if the petitioner originally entered the United States as a student, you should be prepared to provide evidence of your school attendance such as an official transcript and degree. Another example is if any one of the couples is divorced, that individual must provide evidence that the divorced is finalized.

However, I listed the general documents USCIS officials want to see from everybody below:

Petitioner Documentation:

  1. Birth certificate (if it is in a foreign language, it must be translated by a certified translator)
  2. EAD (Employment Authorization Document)
  3. Passport
  4. Medical check
  5. Notice to appear for your interview

Sponsor Documentation:

  1. U.S. birth certificate or naturalization card
  2. An unexpired U.S. passport
  3. U.S. government-issued id
  4. Last 3 check stubs

Joint Documentation:

  1. An original marriage certificate
  2. Joint ownership of property (this can be a mortgage or lease agreement)
  3. Proof of legal name change (Social Security card)
  4. Combined financial resources (joint bank account, joint credit cards)
  5. Utility bills with both names on it
  6. Joint taxes
  7. Two passport photos
  8. Change of address (Get this done before your interview)
  9. Photographs

One note about the photographs. It seems people think to organize the photographs in albums. That is not enough for USCIS. All the photos should be in chronological order, with dates and the names of important people (such as family members) listed. If you do not submit the photos in this way, the USCIS officer will need to go over the photos with you during the interview.

Does USCIS grant the Green Card in the interview?

Yes, they can, but it is also normal for them to hold your case for review.
If USCIS grants a green card at the end of the interview, they will give you a printout. Later, the official letter will come through the mail. Make sure to keep the print out with you at all times, because it is valid to use with your id as proof of your residency in the United States. No later than three months later, your green card will arrive by mail.

Would you recommend using an immigration service?

Yes, absolutely.

The immigration process as a whole can seem straightforward but there are many details I think people are not aware of until they go through the process. For example, when we were filling out our initial paperwork, we entered the identification number into the wrong area on the form. Fortunately, we hired a lawyer before submitting the paperwork and our lawyer was able to correct that before we sent in the paperwork.

Also, a lawyer can receive any official update from USCIS on your behalf. This is especially useful when you are waiting to receive your EAD card or your notice to appear for your interview because I know of some couples whose EAD card were sent to a previous residence rather than their current address.

A lawyer can enter the interview with you. The lawyer can protect you if for any reason the USCIS officer conducting your interview asks questions they should not, or becomes difficult.

An experienced lawyer will also have a reputation amongst the local field offices, and this can help give you more credibility before you enter your interview.

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