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First Question at Your Green Card Interview

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What's the first question you're going to have at your USCIS green card interview? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego and Washington, DC. In this video, we're going to talk about the number one question, the very first question, the question that gets asked first at your green card interview in most interviews.

Now this question, if it is not the first one asked, it will be asked at some point in the interview. Of course, every USCIS officer handles things a little bit differently. When you're there for a green card interview, you're sort of being examined on two different things. One, the I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative filed by the US citizen or green card holder for their foreign-born spouse, and the inadmissibility questions contained in the I-45 application for lawful permanent residence.

Most officers like to tackle the harder things first, in my experience, and that is the relationship. So the very first question you're going to hear at your green card interview most likely will be, "So, tell me, how did you two meet? How did you two meet?" That is the question that is asked at every green card interview based on marriage and, as I said, it's oftentimes the very first question that is asked.

One of the things that our clients sometimes struggle with is, "Jim, how do I answer that question?" Well, the way that I tell people is imagine, if you will, that you met a friend from high school or from college or someone that you knew, say, 10 years ago. They don't know about your spouse. They don't know about your relationship. They don't know how you met. And let's say this, isn't your best friend. This isn't someone who you want to tell every deep and dark detail to. This is rather just someone that you knew back in the day. You like them, and you want to tell them a little bit generally about your relationship, but you're not there to tell them the ins and outs, the highs and lows, all of that. So, obviously, you tell them how did you meet. So for now, a lot of people have met on social media apps, on dating apps and they have met electronically before they meet in real life.

So typically the officer is going to want to know about when you met first face-to-face, and they're going to want to know the history. They're going to want to know the timeline so you got to know your dates. You have to know when you met, where you met, how you met, and if you two give different answers, that's going to throw the officer for a loop, especially if you have been separated in your interview. If they're conducting a Stokes interview where they're asking questions of one spouse and then the other, obviously, the details have to be honest and truthful, and they have to be accurate.

So if you two are not on the same page as to how you met, where he met, who introduced you, why were you there, so let's just take a hypothetical. "So tell me, how did you two meet?" "Oh, we met at a party." "Oh, well, who's hosting the party?" "Oh, that was my friend Jane." "Well, Mr. Applicant, how did you know Jane? Ms. Applicant, how did you know Jane?" So they go back and forth and they sort of drill down on how did you two meet and they want to know how did the relationship progress. That's really where you get to that sort of high-level discussion. "Well, we went on, on a few dates. We really liked each other. We went to a coffee shop and had coffee. We went then played mini golf, or we went to the mall, or we went to see a movie and we had just really liked hanging out with each other."

Then typically is when did you start considering yourself to be a couple, and then you sort of talk about that. Then you talk about meeting family members, those kinds of things.

Then the officer usually wants to know, well, what about when did he start talking about the immigration status of the non-citizen or the non-LPR sponsor, the beneficiary. When did you start talking about their immigration status? What did you know about their immigration status? Did you know that you were going to have to get married in order for them to get a benefit? Why did you get married? Why did you decide to get married? Who did you talk to about getting married? They oftentimes want to know about the proposal. So you can see how it just sort of progressed through the life of the relationship. Some people are together for years before they get married. Some people get married very quickly. So if you've been married very quickly, they're going to want to know about that. So just think of it as a container and they wanted to put all the information in the container about how the relationship started.

Most officers take pretty detailed notes on the story that the couple tells, and so they're also pretty adept at hearing things that sound a little bit funny and they might say to themselves, "Well, this is weird. Why are they talking about that?" Then the officer is going to ask more questions about that. I wouldn't say you need to memorize it, I wouldn't say you need to practice it, but I think it is good to have a conversation a few times before the interview about how the explanation is going to go. We've had people give different stories about the engagement. We've had people give different stories about how they met. So these are the kinds of things that can get you in trouble at USCIS. So plan on it. You're going to hear it. The question is, how did you two meet and you got to be ready for answering it.

If you have questions about this, or if you need help, if you need us to attend a green card interview with you, happy to do it, (314) 961-8200, email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group. It is called An Immigrant Home. If you liked this video, we ask can you please share it out on social and be subscribed to our YouTube channel and make sure that on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you join us at noon Central. Most weeks we'll be answering as many of your immigration law-related questions as possible. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

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