“Will I have an interview in the United States for my overseas spouse case?” Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. I’m still home on quarantine for a few more days so I apologize for shooting this with my iPhone, but I want to get the message out because I just had a call with someone, it’s actually a client of ours, who we filed the lawsuit for. He’s been trying to bring his spouse here from Yemen, and they scheduled him for an interview at the local field office in Chicago. Now, this is unusual. Usually, when a U.S. citizen or a Green Card holder files to bring their spouse to the United States, the only interview will be at the embassy, and that’ll usually just involve the foreign national.
Usually, the U.S. citizen doesn’t go to the interview at the embassy, and we’ve seen some situations, especially on cases that I’ve filed lawsuits on, and the USCIS, before they rule on the I-130, call the citizen sponsor in to their local field office for an interview. I would say that in the 13 years I’ve been practicing immigration law, I’ve only seen this about five or six times. In all the cases, the beneficiaries were either from Yemen or Afghanistan, and I will say that each of the interviews that followed in that scenario were very long, probably three or four hours. And I would also say that there was something problematic with the cases.
In one of them, it involved a couple of brothers, U.S. citizen brothers who had filed for their spouse, but they filed for their spouse as a fiance, and USCIS figured that out. So, the purpose of the interview was really to break down the fact that the people were legally married. They had made prior filings that indicated that they were married and then they tried to act like they were just fiances because a fiance case, they thought would happen faster than a spouse case.
So, if you get called in for an interview at your local field office for an overseas case, I think you need to be a little concerned. There’s probably something wrong with your case, just based on the fact that it’s so rare that that happens and I haven’t seen it that much, that there’s probably something going on. You probably want to talk to a lawyer about it, but for the most part, most overseas cases, you’re not going to get an interview like you would at a I-130 adjustment case here in the United States.
So, for cases in the United States, you are going to have an interview where you and your spouse go in together, but it’s very unusual for it to happen in an overseas case. I think that USCIS certainly has the power and the authority to do it, they just don’t do it that often because that would create a whole lot of extra work for them, and they really get into the merits of the marriage at the embassy after USCIS has approved the petition.
So, I told my client that he should be a little bit concerned. This is a lawsuit case so he already has another lawyer. So, hopefully he’ll bring that lawyer with him to the interview in Chicago. But I’d be a little concerned if I got a notice saying that I needed to come in on a spouse case for an overseas case.
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