Adjustment of Status Interview Experience: What You Need To know
If you came to the US on a K1 Visa, you probably know that you will need to adjust your status to gain permanent resident status. This is true for anyone that is adjusting from other types of visas such a F1 Visa or HB Visa.
Almost everyone that applies for adjustment of status will be required to attend an interview. Being well prepared for the interview is the best way to get approved on the spot. With the AOS interview, the immigration officer is trying to find out whether you have any legal basis to assist.
For example: If you came to the US on a fiancée visa (K1) and you have gotten married, this gives you a legal right to adjust status as long as you can prove you married in good faith and have a good amount of evidence. Once you have adjusted your status, you will then receive temporary 2 year permanent resident card (also known as a green card). This will allow you to live, work and drive in the United States.
Adjustment of status can be done using a variety of other visa types but we won’t go into that. If you are adjusting based on marriage, all you need to show is that your marriage is legitimate. This is the area that many new immigrants fail in because they do not gather enough evidence during their new marriage.
Gathering Evidence For The AOS Interview
The first thing you need to do is make a checklist of all the evidence that you need to gather for the interview. You must bring all originals of the documents that you have sent in because the immigration officer may ask you for them. If you show up to your interview well prepared and organized, it will make the interviewer’s job easier and they will be thankful for that.
So what type of evidence should you have?
I have listed below the most important evidence that shows that your marriage is genuine and that the immigration officers like to see. Of course this is not an exhaustive list so make sure to bring anything else you think might show a bona fide marriage.
- Marriage certificate – this will show that you are legally married.
- Tax transcripts – make sure that you file jointly even if beneficiary doesn’t work
- Lease/Mortgage – both your names should be on these documents and will prove you live together
- Bank accounts – by having both names on financial documents, it will help prove bona fide marriage
- Insurance documents – include auto insurance, life insurance, health insurance with both names
Other documents that may help your case but aren’t as strong are listed below. However, not all companies will allow both names on the same bill so you can substitute by putting each name on a different bill but having them all come to the same address.
- Utility bills – make sure both names are on them to prove you live together
- Phone bills – best if you both share a plan (such as a family plan)
- Vet bill – both names on any vet bills for your pets
- Gym membership – you both have membership at the same gym
- Cable bill – both names on the cable/satellite bill
AOS Interview Experience and What To Expect
Now comes that most important part of adjusting your status: the actual interview! This is probably very stressful for most couples because they don’t know what to expect and are scared of being denied a green card. This is normal! I was a nervous wreck before my AOS interview (sweaty palms and heart racing) but guess what? It was really well and we were approved on the spot.
I think most of us always think about the worst case scenario and that is what we worry most about. The great thing about being well prepared for the AOS interview is that you have everything you need to show the immigration officer that you mean business… I mean that you marriage is real. Yes, you do have to prove that your marriage is real to a complete stranger that knows little about you.
Yes, they do have the right to deny you but many immigration officers actually want to approve cases and see great couples live happy together. But they do have a job to do and that is to protect the integrity of the immigration system. Every single one of us that has legally immigrated to the US and have paid all the fees probably don’t want to see someone illegally immigrate here for free, am I right?
As long as you follow all the rules and provide all the documents that are required, you have nothing to worry about. Stay calm, be confident and answer every questions honestly.
Adjustment of Status Interview Questions
Many of the interview questions you will be asked will revolve around your marriage. They want to know that you both know each other well and have lived together. This is straightforward and you do not need to study for the interview.
So what types of questions will be asked?
The most common questions revolve around your background, finances, residence and family. These are things that all married couples should be able to answer off the top of their heads and not really have to think about them.
- When did you get married?
- Where did you get married?
- Did you go on a honeymoon?
- What does your spouse do for a living?
- Where do you live?
- What are your spouse’s parents names?
- When is your spouse’s birthday?
- Who pays the bills?
- Has your spouse had any medical procedures?
- What health insurance do you have?
The above questions should be easy for you to answer and if they aren’t, look over everything and confirm with your spouse before the interview. You don’t want to sound like you rehearsed the questions so try to not remember your answers word for word.
Sometimes it can help to break the ice a little with some humor or asking about the weather. This can be put you at ease and many times the immigration officer will make small talk for this very purpose.
Don’t stress too much, the adjustment of status interview will be over in no time and you will be on your way to permanent resident status.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.