Is USCIS coming to my house?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. It’s sure fun being an immigration lawyer, and you get to learn a lot of things over the years.
One of the things we’ve learned is that in many marriage cases, USCIS comes to visit the house. They want to make sure that the address on file is valid. That the couple has a valid lease there. That the couple is living together as spouses, that each spouse has evidence of staying there.
They’ll come and knock on your door. They’ll say, “Hey, my name is Agent Joe Blow from USCIS, or HSI, or ICE or whoever.” They might say, “Can we look around?”
Now, if you have a pending immigration case, you’re going to have to let them in. But of course, you always probably want to talk that through with a lawyer ahead of time to get good advice and to know when to let them in and when not.
But if you do have a marriage case on file, they’re probably at some point going to come check you out.
Now, the purpose of this video is to talk about when does that happen? So in my experience, USCIS doesn’t come out before the actual interview at USCIS.
So in a marriage based case, you file the I-130, you file the I-45, and you file all the accompanying forms. The foreign national gets fingerprinted. There’s a background check.
And then at the end of the background check, you get that work and travel card and then after that, you get scheduled for an interview. So it’s very unusual for USCIS to come out and do an interview on site, before the interview at the USCIS office, the green card interview.
So that would be unusual. I think I’ve heard of it happening, I don’t know that it’s ever happened to any of my clients, but it does happen from time to time.
But typically, the site visit is going to be after the interview. So in that scenario, you have your interview. You don’t get a decision right away and then your case is pending for a while.
Then at some point, I assume that what happens at USCIS is there are officers who can refer it to the fraud unit and then the fraud unit puts it on the list of cases to investigate.
Then weeks or months later, they’ll come and knock on that door of your house, usually do it at 5:30, 6:00 to catch people sleeping. See if they’re both there.
Then they’ll talk to the couple or they’ll talk to whoever’s home, they’ll look around.
They’ll see, “Hey, does this look like a place where valid marriage is occurring?” If that makes sense. Then things will go from there.
So it’s unlikely that USCIS is going to come visit you at your house before your interview. So that’s the point of the video.
If you have any questions about this or about a site visit, or if you’re thinking about filing for a marriage-based case, things are getting a lot harder.
You might want to give us a call at (314) 961-8200.
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