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USCIS Questions About Your Marriage

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What kind of questions will USCIS ask at our marriage-based green card case. Hi, I’m Jim Hacking immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States, out of our offices in St. Louis, Missouri, and San Diego, California. Today’s going to be a little bit of a strange video. I’m actually going to go over the I-130 petition with you to sort of give you a roadmap of the kinds of questions that you might hear at a USCIS interview when your foreign-born spouse is applying for a green card based on their marriage to you. And so I have a empty, I-130, that I’m going to go over little by little with you on this video to sort of give you a sense as to the kinds of questions that an immigration officer might ask when it comes to demonstrating that a relationship is valid.

So, let me go ahead and pull that up. Here we go. All right. So with the I-130 petition, this is a petition for an alien relative. It’s filed by a lawful permanent resident or a U.S. citizen, and it’s for them to … It’s to allow USCIS to determine whether or not a marriage is valid. So, typically in an immigration interview, they’re going to start by asking about the relationship. They’re going to want to know the details of how you met, how the relationship progressed, why you started thinking about getting an immigration benefit for the non-U.S. citizen, and to sort of just hear the general tenor of how the relationship began. We just covered in a couple of other videos, the ins, and outs of demonstrating the marriage. But in this video, we’re going to go over the actual form. So, we’ll start by verifying who you’re applying for. They’re going to want to know who is the petitioner and that’s the U.S. citizen or green card sponsor.

They’re going to ask for your full legal name. They’re going to ask for any other names that you’ve used. They’re going to inquire into where you were born and demonstrate that you are a U.S. citizen or a green card holder. That’s one of the requirements in order to be able to file a proper I-130, is that the petitioner has to already be a U.S. citizen or a green card holder. They might want to know how the person became a citizen if they were born in the United States, obviously that sort of takes care of that. If they naturalize, they’re going to want to know how the petitioner obtained their lawful permanent residence status. Did they get it through asylum? Did they get it through work? Did they get it through a prior marriage? And of course, if it was through a prior marriage, then they’re probably going to want to inquire a little bit more about the circumstances of that.

They’re going to verify your address. They spend a lot of time on addresses. They’re going to ask about all your addresses for the last five years. I haven’t been doing an interview lately where they didn’t ask about that. They’re going to ask about the entire marital history for the petitioner. This I-130 petition is all about the petitioner. And so these questions are all related to the person doing the sponsoring, the U.S. citizen, or the green card holder, who’s trying to sponsor their spouse. They’re going to ask about marriages. They’re going to ask about divorces. They’re going to want to see original documents related to that. Your marriage certificate, your divorce decree. They’re going to want to know the details of your marriage ceremony, where you got married, how it was recorded with the government, who attended, was your family there. Did you make a big deal out of it? They’re going to ask about that.

They’re going to want to know all of your spouses, all of your prior marriages. They’re going to go over all that. They need to make sure that you are legally eligible to marry. They’re going to ask parents about the petitioner’s parents, where were they born? Who are they, the details about that? They’re going to ask about which are you, a U.S. citizen, or a green card holder. They’re going to ask like I said, the details of that. They’re also going to go over your employment history. They want to know about the employment history of the petitioner. They want to know if the petitioner is going to be able to support the foreign national. They’re going to want to know if it’s likely that the foreign national is going to become a public charge. So, they’re going to talk about your employment history for the last five years.

They’re going to get some basic demographic information, height, weight, ethnicity, those kinds of things. And then they’re going to start asking questions about the beneficiary. Who are you applying for? Where were they born? Where they from, what countries are they a citizen of? And a lot of times, as I mentioned on a prior video, they’ll ask the beneficiary questions about the petitioner’s biographic information. And they’ll ask it vice versa. They’ll ask the petitioner to give the details about, so they’ll ask, “Okay, Joe, where was Mary’s mother and father born, or what brothers and sisters does Mary have?” Excuse me. So you’ll see that from time to time that a sophisticated officer might ask questions about the other person. And so when you’re answering questions always take the direction of the officer. They might leave it open for either one of you, or more likely they might ask a question directly to one person. It depends on the officer. It depends on what kind of mood they’re in.

They’re going to want to know about the beneficiary’s prior marriages. So you’re going to have to, again, demonstrate that the beneficiary had the capacity to marry. That’s a really big issue. Now on the I-130, they ask about the beneficiary’s entries into the United States. They want to know what classes of admissions they’ve had, whether they entered on a visit visa, a J-1 visa, or anything like that. They’re going to ask about the beneficiary’s employment information, where have they worked. And of course, if they worked in the United States without authorization, they’re going to want to know about that. And of course, as always, you want to be honest about everything with that, but especially with employment, because that’s someplace where people sometimes lie when they don’t need to. Because if you are married to a U.S. citizen and you’ve worked without permission, then you would be forgiven for that.

All right. So, they’re also going to ask about prior petitions that you filed. They want to know if you’re a serial filer. If you’ve given immigration benefits to another person, they’re going to look at your case more closely. They want to know where the beneficiary is. Of course, the I-130 petition is also used for overseas cases. So, the answers in the structure of the questions are different. Obviously, you don’t usually have an interview on a I-130, if the beneficiary is outside the United States, although we do sometimes have those. They’re going to go over the application itself, they’re going to make sure that that’s your signature on the form. They’re going to show you the I-130 and say, “Hey, is that your signature?” And you’ll probably say, yes, hopefully, and then that should be it on the I-130. As long as they’re satisfied with the petition. That’s usually the range of questions that you’ll hear, the kinds of things that I just talked about. That’s what usually happens at a I-130 portion of the interview.

After that, you’re going to switch over. They might go to the I-130A, which is biographic information about the foreign national, but usually they get all that during the I-45. So, we’ll do another video about the I-45 and about the questions there. We’ll actually probably break it up into a series of videos because that’s a lot, as I mentioned when I first started doing immigration, that was a four-page form or six-page form. Now it’s a 22-page form and it’s split down the middle. So, we’ll go over those questions and those topics in a future video.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, give us a call, 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us on our Facebook group, which is called, Immigrant Home. We’d love to have you in there. If you want to ask any questions, you can come in there. Subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates, whenever I make videos like this one. And make sure that you join us every Tuesday and Thursday on at around noon central time, we usually are going live in both those places, our Immigrant Home Facebook group and on the YouTube channel, answering as many immigration questions as we can. So, we’d love to see you in there, and I hope you have a great day. Thanks.

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