I’ve received a lot of marriage based interview experience in 2019, and in this blog post I want to share my thoughts on what to avoid in an I-130/I-485 bona fide marriage interview. When your spouse petitions for you, you and your spouse will likely have an interview with a USCIS officer. If after the interview, the officer has doubts about whether the marriage is bona fide, they may test you. They will separate you and your spouse and ask you individually a series of questions about your relationship and your knowledge of your spouse. If three or more answers do not match, your case could be referred to the marriage fraud department for investigation.
So, how do you avoid all this mess? Here are three important tips on how to act and talk in the interview. The video featuring these tips for the 2019 interview be found here:
First tip: Do not go off on tangents!
The marriage based interview experience in 2019 is the same as any other time, in that you have to keep in mind the point of the interview: to determine if your marriage is bona fide. The officer wants to know about your relationship. That is it. So, if they ask how you met, stick to answering that question. In life, we would normally fluff our stories with background information. But how you talk in the interview should be different than how you talk with your friends. Avoid responding with more information than what they solicited. They will get annoyed and you will open the door to confusion.
For example, if you met on the job, you do not need to talk about the details of your job. If you were introduced by friends, you do not need to talk about your relationship with your friends. Stick to the day you met and what happened next in your relationship without any backstory.
Second tip: Answer yes/no questions with yes/no
Some of the questions in the marriage interview are yes/no questions. So, stick to answering them with yes/no. The officer will get annoyed if you go into detail. If they want to know more, they will not hesitate to ask. The only time you should add more is for clarification.
For example, they will ask if you exchanged rings at the wedding. What if your cultural does condone men wearing rings? You should clarify that when answering so the officer understands why only the bride received a ring. But make your clarification brief.
Third tip: Do not get frustrated by their attitude
Remember that the interview is more of an interrogation than a conversation. They want to get to the truth. It is not in the best interest of their job to be friendly. So do not take offense at their abrupt and curt manner. Remain calm and never respond in frustration or anger. Their attitude is not usually an indication of whether they believe you or not. Some officers will remain stoic during the entire interview
I hope you read this before your marriage interview so you will be prepared for what comes ahead. Do not feel discouraged! Once you understand the process, you will feel more at ease. If you follow these tips, your marriage interview will go smoother and even if you are given a Stokes interview, you will hopefully pass. (if you
One last thing I want you to keep in mind is that you usually will not receive an approval or denial notification in the interview. The immigration system now has more hoops the officers need to jump through before they can approve your application. So do not walk away discouraged! Waiting is hard but as long as you follow these tips, bring evidence (as described in a previous post here) of your marriage, and remain truthful and consistent, you will be well along your way to an approval.