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What Happens After Green Card Interview?

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What happens after the green card interview? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices here in St. Louis, Missouri, and in San Diego, California.

We’ve been doing this little series of videos on what you can expect at your green card interview, and a lot of people, of course, want to know, “Well, what happens after the interview?” Now, in the old days it was routine that the officer would tell you that you’d been approved. Obviously, if you weren’t going to be approved, they wouldn’t say that. They might say that they needed to talk to a supervisor or that the case needed additional review.

But now, more and more often, we’re not getting that kind of an answer after the interview. What we’re getting instead is a statement from the officer saying, “Well, I have reviewed your file. I still have to review it some more. We’re going to think about it, and I’ll probably talk to some of my colleagues about it,” or “I’m going to review it a little bit more deeply. I might need more evidence. And so, if I do need more evidence, I’m going to send a copy of a request for evidence to you and to your attorney, and we’ll give you a chance to respond, and then we’ll make our decision.”

So, it’s very rare now, in green card cases, where they actually say that you’re going to be approved. Now, if I’m at the interview or one of our attorneys are at the interview, we can generally have a good sense. My wife really likes to push them and ask them, “Well, what do you think you’re going to do? What do you think the answer’s going to be?” or “When do you think we’ll hear something?”

I will do that on a case by case basis. It depends if I know the officer. But if I have a good sense as to what’s going to happen, I won’t ask that if I can tell that it’s going to be approved. The way I can tell if it’s going to be approved is if they really grilled the couple, if they seemed to have any stated concerns or questions. But at the end of the day, usually what happens is a few days after the interview, if the case is going to be approved, you’ll see an electronic update that your card is being produced, and that means that your case was approved. And usually we’re seeing that about a week or two after the interview.

Now, of course, sometimes you don’t get that kind of a result. You don’t get that kind of quicker turnaround. And sometimes cases get put back on the back burner, they get delayed. And so, what I always tell my clients is you need to be ready for anything. So, at the end of your interview, if you want to ask the officer what they think they’re going to do, I think that’s fine. It’s always a good opportunity to sort of see where their mind’s at. You can certainly do that, but you’re not going to find out right away what their answer is. You’re going to have to wait a little bit.

Now, maybe under the new administration they might go back to the way more things were under President Obama, where you were sort of getting an answer right away, where officers were empowered to decide cases right there on the spot. Now they’ve baked in so much bureaucracy and oversight and looking for fraud that you’re not getting those answers as quickly. Hopefully, that’ll change. Hopefully, things will go back to sort of a reasonable standard where in most cases you’re going to find out that the case was approved.

But, of course, you could always get that dreaded request for evidence. That’s one thing you always want to worry about. You really want to be prepared in your interview. You want to bring all of your evidence with you. You don’t want that request for evidence, because that’s just going to delay things a little bit further.

Now, one thing mindset-wise that I would say about this is that, you know, your life doesn’t change that much between the day you’re in the United States waiting for adjustment on your EAD, your work card, and the day you get your green card. Now, of course, that’s the start of your lawful permanent residence, and that’s when you can get your citizenship either three or five years later, but at the end of the day, your life’s not all that different. You still have the ability to work. You still have the ability to travel if you obtained advanced parole. So, I understand wanting to get that green card as quickly as possible, but from a mindset standpoint, I would just sort of let it go. Go to the interview, do your best, and then just wait and see what happens.

If you have questions about this, give us a call, (314) 961-8200. You could email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, it’s called Immigrant Home. We would also love it if you subscribe to our YouTube channel. That way, whenever I make a video we can send you an update. And then, finally, every Tuesday and Thursday, usually at noon Central Time, I’ll be live in the Facebook group and on our YouTube channel, answering as many immigration questions as I can in one hour. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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