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USCIS Interview But My Spouse is Overseas

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Will I be interviewed here in the United States for my overseas spouse case? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in San Diego, St. Louis and Washington, DC. We have been seeing more and more individuals who are US citizens or green card holders, who file an I-130 petition for someone overseas and USCIS schedules them for an interview on that I-130 here in the United States. I'm not talking about the interview that happens later as part of the state department processing of the immigrant visa for the spouse. I'm talking about situations where the US citizen is called into the local field office and that they have an interview regarding the marriage. This was almost unheard of say 5 years ago, but I would say in the last 12 months, we've probably seen it 6 or 7 times. And historically this has always ... We've only seen it from two countries, where the petitioner or the beneficiary is either from Afghanistan or Yemen. And I would assume Syria as well.

But we actually saw it back in the old days from Afghanistan and Yemen. And I think that has to do with security concerns, maybe a little bit of racial profiling and the fact that they feel like they can't do full background checks for the beneficiaries overseas. I also think that they use it as sort of an opportunity to get free investigation, that they want to know what's going on in those countries like Yemen and Afghanistan. And if they have someone applying for an immigration benefit, that's one way they can get information that's probably used outside the immigration context to notify and alert US intelligence officials of things that are actually going on the ground in those home countries. But we've been seeing this expanded to countries beyond Yemen and Afghanistan, and to situations that I would say are more conventional cases.

So if you get a notice to appear, an interview notice to come into the local field office, I would say that it's probably a time where you might think about hiring a lawyer. You certainly want to talk through with a lawyer because it's very unusual. The vast majority of I-130 applications where the beneficiary is overseas, are decided at the service center, not at the local field office. It's very unusual. Like I said, 6 out of the last 600 that we filed. So what is that? 1%, are involving an interview at the local field office. The local field office officers usually aren't very well equipped for handling these interviews because when they do a spouse case, they're used to both members of the relationship being there in front of them. But this is a situation where if you do get called in, you're going to have to prove up the marriage all by yourself. So you're probably going to need some help demonstrating marital evidence. And if you've been living apart, that makes it even harder.

So it's really a tricky situation if the US or green card holder gets called in for an interview. If you find yourself in that scenario and you need our help, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and that you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

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