If you are have applied for lawful permanent residence (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.
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 a few 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; only the immigrant.
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 both being called in for the USCIS interview. This is to ensure that the marriage is genuine and not merely entered into for the purpose of obtaining a green card.
The typical adjustment of status interview lasts about 20 minutes. However, you might wait in the waiting room much longer than that before the USCIS officer calls you in.
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.”
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 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 typically be questioned about their sponsor and relationship with the sponsor. The officer will want to confirm that the immigrant and sponsor have a genuine relationship and that the sponsor has not sponsored someone merely to enable them to get a green card.
If you are applying based on marriage, the officer will also ask questions about your how you met, your relationship, and your marriage. For details, see What Happens at The Green Card Marriage Interview?
Review the USCIS interview notice for a list of what it expects you to have with you. In addition to assembling everything on that list, make sure to bring along:
The officer will want to know if there are any changes in your life since the application for adjustment of status that 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).
If all goes well, USCIS will approve you for permanent residence, and place an "I-551" stamp in your passport. You don't receive the green card that day; it will come some weeks later.
If the officer cannot approve your case that day, he or she will likely 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.