Common Mistakes Made During an Adjustment of Status Interview
The process of bringing the person you want to spend the rest of your life with into the U.S. from their home country can be stressful, to say the least. If your foreign-born fiancé is here on a K1 visa, you’ve won half the legal battle—but only half. After you get married, you’ll eventually have to go through the adjustment of status process to obtain a green card for your spouse. Part of this process is the adjustment of status interview.
Here’s what you need to know—and what you should avoid—to make sure the interview goes smoothly:
Understanding Fiancé Visas and Adjustment of Status
Fortunately for anyone who has met the love of their life overseas, U.S. immigration law provides a path to bring a foreign citizen into the country to get married. The first step is for your fiancé to apply for a K1 visa, sometimes referred to as a fiancé visa. If approved, this visa allows your fiancé to enter the U.S. for a period of 90 days to get married.
Because no extension is available for a K1 visa, you and your fiancé must get married within that 90-day window. If you don’t, your fiancé will be forced to leave the country. If all goes well and you get married, the next step is to apply for K1 adjustment of status, which essentially “adjusts” the status of the fiancé visa to a permanent green card.
Your immigration attorney can help you and your fiancé through the process, which begins with applying for adjustment of status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is done using Form I-485. In most cases, you and your fiancé will be asked to attend an in-person adjustment of status interview a few months later at a local USCIS office. The interview is one of the most important steps, and preparation is crucial.
Mistakes to Avoid at Your Adjustment of Status Interview
One of the reasons it’s so important to work with an immigration lawyer to prepare for the interview is that the adjustment of status interview can essentially make or break your fiancé’s chances of obtaining a green card. At the very least, problems at the interview stage can seriously delay your fiance’s approval, making it harder for you and your fiance to move forward with your happy life together in the United States. This shouldn’t make you nervous, but it should be a reminder to fully prepare and steer clear of these easily-avoidable mistakes:
- Forgetting to Bring Original Documentation
The documents you submitted with your adjustment of application should have been copies of the original documentation. You will need to bring your original documents to the adjustment of status interview, including birth certificate, passport, marriage and divorce certificates, and criminal records, if applicable.
- Not Bringing Documents Showing Changes in Life Situation
If there has been a major change to your life situation since your original application (such as an arrest, birth of a child, or change of job or income) you must bring supporting documentation to your adjustment of status interview.
- Not Using a Good Interpreter
It’s essential that you bring a reliable interpreter if either you or your partner are not fluent in English. Otherwise, you might misunderstand the USCIS officer’s questions, or they might misunderstand your answers, which can make the whole process more challenging.
- Saying Too Much
It might be tempting to be chatty as a way of appearing calm and friendly, but be careful about volunteering information that the USCIS officer didn’t ask for. Answer questions truthfully and directly, but avoid offering up more than you’re asked; doing so can cause misunderstandings or open up a line of questions you might prefer to avoid.
- Failing to Tell the Truth
Nothing will sink your chances of getting a green card faster than lying during your adjustment of status interview. The USCIS officer will have your original application and documentation in front of them, so it’s almost impossible to get away with any false statements.
- Expecting to Get a Green Card Overnight
Some people expect to walk out of an adjustment of status interview with a green card in their hand. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Even if you are approved, it will likely be weeks or months before you receive your green card. Be patient, and let the process take its course.
Fiancé visa applications can average from 5.5 to 15.5 months from filing to the actual approval date.
At the moment (December 2019) adjustment of status takes anywhere from 8 to 17.5 months on average for family-based adjustment interviews, including for fiancés. As for employment-based adjustment interviews, this can take anywhere from 13.5 to 38.5 months. These timeframes are a measurement from the date of filing for an interview.
Processing times for applications and adjustment interviews can be checked through this government resource: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.
Contact Julie Beth Jouben for Assistance about the Adjustment of Status Interview
When you and your significant other need a great fiancé visa attorney to help with the adjustment of status process, we’re here to help. Contact the immigration law firm of Julie Beth Jouben, P.A. at our office to get started today! We understand that every case is different, and we have years of experience assisting clients with immigration law and adjustment of status interviews.