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Family-Based Immigration USCIS Spouse Interview

One of our team-mates just went through the family-based immigration interview for their spouse. We thought it would be helpful for her to share her immigration experience with you.

What was your role in the immigration process?

I was a sponsor, meaning I was immigrating my spouse. It was a little surprising to learn that just because you are the spouse does not necessarily mean you are also the sponsor. Someone can only sponsor their spouse if their income is high enough to maintain themselves, the petitioner and any dependants above the poverty line. So if you are a spouse who wants to be a sponsor, your job and income are very important.

What happens if the Sponsor’s income does not meet the minimum poverty guidelines?

If a sponsor’s income does not meet the minimum poverty guidelines there are a couple of different ways to meet the requirement. For example, you can use the money in your savings account to compensate for the difference between your income and the minimum requirement. You can also ask another individual to be the sponsor of the petitioner. However, the third individual and the sponsor can not split the cost of the poverty guideline. The third individual must meet the entire income requirements on their own.

What is something you think may take Petitioners by surprise?

There are a few things which may take petitioners by surprise. The first that comes to mind is the medical exam. From what I understand, everyone immigrating to the United States needs to do a medical exam. However, some may get surprised to find out they need to take another medical exam if they are applying for the permanent residency through the spouse. The medical exam should be done by a medical professional who says they can provide the official exam for USCIS. The official exam results must remain sealed because the USCIS officer must open it for the results to be valid for the permanent residency. On top of that, the validity of a medical exam is only valid for a year. So do not get the medical exam until after you know your interview date and time. Lastly, some health insurances do not cover the cost of a medical exam for immigration purposes, and it can be expensive.

What are some of the interview questions USCIS asked?

The questions are tailored to your specific situations, so many of the questions can vary. However, there are several general questions that USCIS officers ask of all the couples.

Petitioner Questions:

  • Have you ever said you are a U.S. Citizen? (very important)
  • When was your last date of entry?
  • Have you ever been out of status?
  • Did you commit any crimes?
  • Is this your first marriage?
  • What is your address?

The most important question of the interview for the petitioner is ‘Have you ever said you are a U.S. Citizen?’. This particular question is held to a higher legal standard than the others. If you have claimed to be a U.S. citizen in the past, I strongly recommend getting legal help from the very start of your immigration process.

Sponsor/Spouse Questions:

  • Where do you currently work?
  • What is your name?
  • Is this your first marriage?
  • What is your address?

Some other questions to expect will be related to your relationship with your spouse.

Joint Questions:

  • Tell me about your engagement (very important)
  • What did you do over the holiday(s)?
  • How did you meet?
  • When did your relationship begin?

The question regarding your engagement is the most important. That is because USCIS considers the engagement of the couple is the legal moment when both individuals decided to get married. In addition, it is an important milestone in a person’s life. Therefore the couple should be able to answer questions in detail about their engagement.

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