Immigration Advice – Marriage Interviews Are Changing: Be Prepared

USCIS is changing the way it conducts interviews for those applying for Legal Permanent Residence (LPR) based upon marriage to a United States citizen.  Gone are the days when the married couple would appear for an interview, answer a few questions, how they met, show some documents like joint auto insurance, joint bank accounts, show a few wedding photos and the LPR application was approved.  Under the Trump Administration, LPR marriage interviews are taken very seriously by USCIS.  If you are applying for LPR status based upon marriage to a US citizen, you better be prepared and properly prepared.  Do not leave anything to chance.

Be prepared to explain how you met each other, where you met, did you meet in a dating website?  What is the name of the website, how many emails or personal messages did you exchange before you first met in person?  How long did you date before the proposal?  Who proposed?  Where did they propose?  Who was present for the proposal?  Do respective family members know about the marriage?  Were they present at the wedding?  Where do you live?  How long have you been at that location?  Is it a house, is it an apartment?  In other words, there will be very detailed questions asked and the interviewing officer will keep careful notes.

As for a wedding, you should have plenty of photos.  In addition, your families should all attend the wedding.  If they cannot attend the wedding, there should be a good reason such as they live overseas and could not get a visa and you should have documentation to back this up.  Nevertheless, you should have other individuals at your wedding with plenty of photographs.

Be careful what you post on social media.  UCSIS has vast resources and will check social media as to your posts and opinions.  If there are compromising photos with third parties that would be an issue during the interview.  Be very discreet with your social media use, posts and participation.

Be organized for your interview.  Prepare an expandable binder and put labels on the expandable binder.  Make sure you have originals or certified copies of important documents like proof of US citizenship for the US citizen spouse, the marriage license/certificate, prior divorce decrees, your birth certificates, passport of the person seeking LPR status of the US citizen, proof of lawful entry into the United States.

Compile proof of the validity of your marriage such as documentation showing joint IRS tax returns (USCIS is requiring actual transcripts from the IRS which can be obtained from the IRS website), joint bank account statements, joint savings account statements, family health insurance cards, automobile insurance, joint real estate ownership and/or rental agreements, birth certificates for any child or children born of the marriage.

USCIS is scrutinizing LPR applications based upon marriage more than ever and is denying a record number of such cases under the Trump Administration.  If you gotten married to a US citizen and are thinking of filing for LPR status consult with a qualified immigration attorney before you file for LPR status.

I welcome the chance to consult with you if you are considering filing for LPR status based upon marriage to a US citizen.  I may be contacted via telephone at (305) 648-3909 or via email at [email protected] for a confidential consultation.

About the Author

Oliver J. Langstadt is a Jamaican American attorney
Oliver J. Langstadt is a Jamaican American attorney admitted to practice law in the state of Florida.  He was raised in St. Mary Jamaica, near Highgate. He completed his high school education at the Priory School in Kingston, Jamaica. He attended the University of Miami School of Law and graduated with his law degree in 1985.  He has been practicing law and immigration law for over twenty-five years.   He is well-seasoned in all aspects of immigration law, including family petitions, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, business visas, investor visas, waivers from removal and unlawful presence, naturalization applications, and removal defense.  He may be contacted at 305 648 3909 or via e-mail, at [email protected]   He welcomes the chance to be of service regarding your US immigration cases and matters.

Photo by Désirée Fawn on Unsplash