What to Expect at Your Adjustment of Status Interview

If you're adjusting status to a U.S. permanent resident (green card holder), you'll need to attend an interview with a USCIS official. Here's what you can expect.

If you are have applied for a green card within the United States through the procedure known as "adjustment of status,"  you are likely, as the last step in your application process, to be called in for an interview by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). With proper preparation, this is not something to fear.

Who Gets Called in to the USCIS Interview

Do not worry that being called in for an adjustment of status interview means that your application for adjustment of status has been singled out for extra scrutiny. Interviews are a normal part of the process, allowing USCIS to confirm the information you and your petitioner have provided on the petition and your application for adjustment of status and review all the facts with you present. USCIS skips the interview in some cases, or requires only the immigrant (and not the family petitioner/sponsor) to attend, but only when the case is especially clear-cut and not likely to involve fraud or other complicated circumstances.

The petitioning employer in a work-based application will not be required to attend the interview.

If you applied to adjust status based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you can count on you and your U.S. spouse being called in for a USCIS interview. This is to ensure that the marriage is genuine and not merely entered into for the purpose of obtaining a green card.

How Long the Adjustment Interview Will Last

The typical adjustment of status interview lasts about 20 minutes -- although you may wait in the waiting room much longer than that beforehand. Be sure to have a full meal beforehand, as you are not allowed to bring food into the building. Also, if you're a smoker, be warned that USCIS faciliities are “smoke free.” 

What the Adjustment Interview Will Cover

The USCIS officer who calls you in to his or her desk will begin by swearing you in (asking you to stand and raise your right hand and promise to tell the truth) and checking your photo identification. Then the officer will take a look at your file, asking you questions off your forms in some cases (such as your address and place of birth), simply to confirm that you are the person in the application and that your personal information hasn't changed.

The officer will also ask to see the documents that you brought along, to verify their validity and make sure you are still eligible for the green card. If, for example, you were applying to immigrate as the unmarried son or daughter or a U.S. green card holder, and you stated that you recently got married, the officer would find you ineligible, and deny your application. A similar result might occur if you had recently been convicted of a crime.

If your green card application is employment-based, you can expect to be questioned about your job, your qualifications, and your employer. Family-based green card applicants will generally be questioned about their sponsor and relationship with the sponsor. Generally the officer will want to confirm that you and your sponsor have a genuine relationship and that the sponsor has not sponsored you merely to enable you to get a green card.   

If you are applying based on marriage, both you and your spouse will need to attend, and the officer will ask questions about your how you met, your relationship, and your marriage. For details, see What Happens at The Green Card Marriage Interview?

What to Bring

Review the USCIS interview notice for a list of what it expects you to bring. In addition to assembling everything on that list, make sure to bring along:

  • A complete copy of your visa petition and adjustment of status application. The officer will be looking at these documents, and you will have an easier time following along if you have them as well. Plus, if something is missing from your file, your copies may become an important piece of the total picture.
  • Any other travel documents, for example your advance parole permit if you traveled while awaiting your interview.
  • Your passport, which will contain the nonimmigrant visa with which you entered the U.S. (unless you entered without inspection, but if so, it's very unlikely you are eligible to adjust status).
  • Originals of any documents that you submitted copies of to USCIS, such as birth and marriage certificates, so that the officer can examine whether they look like the real thing.
  • Doctor's report from your required medical examination on Form I-693 (if you did not submit this report with the original adjustment application).
  • If applying based on employment, an up-to-date letter from your employer, documenting continued employment at a specified salary.
  • If applying based on marriage, copies plus originals of documents showing your shared life, such as a joint lease or mortgage, joint bank account or credit card statements, children's birth certificates, and so on.

The officer will want to know if there are any changes in your life since the application for adjustment of status which could affect your status, so bring any documentation to back up these changes (original and copy for the file). Examples include the birth certificate of any recently born children, evidence of the family petitioner's new employer, and so forth.

You can have your attorney accompany you. (The attorney will file Form G-28 Notice of Appearance).

What Happens at the End of the Interview

If all goes well, you will be approved for permanent residence, and an "I-551" stamp placed in your passport. (You don't receive the green card that day -- it will come some weeks later, after you have gone through ADIT processing.)

If the officer cannot approve your case that day, he or she will typically ask for additional documents to deal with whatever the problem is. You will have a deadline by which to submit these. After you do so, the officer will send you a decision on your application by mail.

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
NOLODRUPAL-web3:DRU1.6.12.2.20161011.41205