The Ultimate Guide to the Green Card Interview

April 20, 2023

9 min read

Green Card interview

For many people, the thought of a Green Card interview is nerve-wracking. The Green Card application is a process in and of itself, and the interview is usually the last step. 

To best prepare, we’ve created an insightful guide with everything you need to know about Green Card interviews, including what to expect before, during, and after. You’ll be able to practice with the sample list of Green Card interview questions, too. 

What Is a Green Card Interview?

A Green Card interview is an in-person meeting between the Green Card applicant and someone from the U.S. government. The purpose of this interview is to make sure the applicant’s application information is correct and that they’re qualified to become a permanent resident of the country.

When Does a Green Card Interview Happen?

The Green Card application is a process, but usually, this interview is the last step. After you file your Green Card application, you can normally expect an interview about 7 to 15 months after that. You can also check out Green Card filing guidelines for more details.

Your interview will take place at either the closest U.S. embassy or consulate, or at a USCIS office. It’ll be a location closest to the address you included on your Green Card application.

Who Needs to Go to a Green Card Interview?

On your application, the person whose name is listed on the interview appointment notice needs to go to the Green Card interview. Depending on the situation, there are a few other people who might be required to attend.

For example, sometimes it’s a family-based application. In this case, the beneficiary (AKA the applicant) and the petitioner (the sponsor) have to attend the Green Card interview together. The only exception is if the beneficiary and petitioner live in different countries. 

If your Green Card application is marriage-based, this is usually the case. That’s because the interview is used as a chance for the U.S. government to confirm that your marriage is legitimate. To do so, the representative will need to speak to both people.

If your Green Card is employment-based, only employees have to go.

There are some cases where you don’t need to go with someone who has a Green Card interview. For example, you don’t need to go with someone if you’re filing for a Family Green Card for a family member (e.g., your partner, sibling, parent, or child) as long as you live in the U.S.

Occasionally, the person doesn’t need to go to the Green Card interview, depending on their immigration circumstances. For example, someone who’s seeking or has been granted asylum might not need to attend. 

Luckily, it’s not a guessing game — the government will tell you if you need to come to the interview or not. 

Who Can You Bring to a Green Card Interview?

Aside from the people who are required to attend a Green Card interview, you can also bring others depending on the situation. 

One example is if you don’t speak English. In this case, you can bring an interpreter with you to help translate. Keep in mind that the interpreter can only translate what’s being asked so they’re not allowed to comment or give their opinion. 

If you bring an interpreter, just make sure they bring an acceptable I.D. They’ll also complete a privacy statement and take an interpreter’s oath.

However, if you don’t speak English, there’s also a chance that the USCIS officer speaks your native language, in which case they can interview you in the language you’re fluent in.

You could also bring a lawyer to your Green Card interview. This is usually recommended if your record has immigration or criminal issues that can be explained by a lawyer. In order for them to go with you, they’ll need to fill out and submit a Notice of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (also referred to as Form G-28).

Family members or friends who aren’t involved with your Green Card application usually aren’t allowed to attend. However, a friend or legal guardian can usually come with you if you have a disability.  

For a marriage-based Green Card interview, you and your partner need to attend. The interview format could depend. For example, you could:

  • Be interviewed together, at the same time, with the same person
  • Be interviewed separately with the same person
  • Be interviewed separately with a different person

The interviews are usually Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officers, specifically from the Fraud Detection and National Security Unit. Once you’ve both finished interviewing, the interview analyzes both your responses to make sure they match up. It’s possible that you both will need to return for another interview. 

What to Bring to a Green Card Interview

In terms of what to bring to a Green Card interview, there are some necessary documents and some that might be beneficial to bring. These can vary depending if you’re applying from inside the U.S. through Adjustment of Status or outside the U.S. through Consular Processing.

Checklist for Those Applying from Inside of the U.S. through Adjustment of Status

If you’re applying from inside of the U.S. through Adjustment of Status, you need to bring:

  • Your passport (the exception is if you applied under refugee or asylum status)
  • A copy of the Form I-485 interview appointment notice (Form I-797C, Notice of Action)
  • An I.D., like your driver’s license or your passport
  • A copy of your adjustment of status application packet, including any forms you might have submitted (e.g., Form I-944, Form I-765, Form I-131, Form I864, Form I-130A, and Form I-130)
  • Original copies of the other documents you submitted, such as marriage certificates, divorce papers, birth certificates, etc.
  • Travel documents, such as advance parole
  • And (if you didn’t send it in with your original application) a Form I-693 with the report from your medical exam

For an employment-based Green Card, you’ll need to bring a letter from your employer (on letterhead) to demonstrate salary and continuous employment. 

For a marriage-based Green Card, make sure you bring copies of documents to provide proof of your marriage, such as joint lease or mortgage statements, children’s birth certificates, and joint bank account statements, for example.

Checklist for Those Applying from Outside of the U.S. through Consular Processing

The checklist for people applying from outside of the U.S. through consular processing is pretty similar with a few key differences. Here’s what you need to bring:

  • An I.D., like your driver’s license or your passport
  • A copy of the DS-260 interview appointment notice (Form I-797C, Notice of Action)
  • A copy of your adjustment of status application packet, including any forms you might have submitted (e.g., Form I-864, DS-261, DS-5540, Form I-130A, and Form I-130)
  • Your passport (the exception is if you applied under refugee or asylum status)
  • Travel documents, such as advance parole
  • Original copies of the other documents you submitted, such as marriage certificates, divorce papers, birth certificates, etc.
  • And (if you didn’t send it in with your original application) a Form I-693 with the report from your medical exam

And just like above, for an employment-based Green Card, you’ll need to bring a letter from your employer (on letterhead) to demonstrate salary and continuous employment. 

Similarly, for a marriage-based Green Card, make sure you bring copies of documents to provide proof of your marriage, such as joint lease or mortgage statements, children’s birth certificates, and joint bank account statements, for example.

What Else Should You Bring?

It’s also a good idea to bring some other supporting documents, just in case. During the interview, the official will ask about life chances that could’ve affected your application. Things that could’ve changed since you applied for your Green Card include:

  • Your family, such as if you’ve had another child
  • Your work, like if you’ve changed jobs
  • Your address, like if you’ve moved

If that’s the case, bringing documents related to these changes is a good idea.

Green Card Interview Questions

Becoming familiar with typical Green Card interview questions can help you feel more at ease during your interview. Practicing these potential questions can help even more (see the next section for ways to practice). 

Although this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, here are some questions you might be asked at your Green Card Interview.

You’ll be asked basic questions, such as:

  • What’s your legal name?
  • Where and when were you born?
  • What’s your phone number?
  • What’s your eye color?
  • What’s your race?


Usually, the immigration officer will ask questions about where you’ve lived, like: 

  • Where have you lived in the past five years? (It could be within or outside the U.S.)
  • Where do you live now?
  • When did you start living at that address?

Relationship history is another big category, with questions like:

  • How many times have you been married?
  • Where did you get married? When?

They’ll also ask about your employment history. Immigration history is another common area, including questions like:

  • What’s your nationality?
  • Have you ever been refused or denied a visa for the U.S.?
  • What was your status when you arrived in the U.S. previously? 
  • Has your authorized stay in the U.S. expired? If not, when will it expire?
  • If applicable, what’s your Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record Number? 
  • What is your passport number?

These are just a handful of some of the most common Green Card interview questions, but the questions span across several categories that you can prepare for.

How to Practice Green Card Interview Questions

Practicing Green Card interview questions is a great idea. You (and your partner, if it’s a marriage-based application) can become more confident and comfortable speaking. To practice Green Card interview questions, try using a speech coach app like Yoodli.  

Yoodli uses AI technology to analyze a user’s speech and speaking patterns. So, for example, you can practice answering Green Card interview questions and have your responses evaluated by an AI communication coach. Here’s how it works.

You can upload a video (such as a Google Meet or a Zoom call) or record a video directly on Yoodli. After that, Yoodli analyzes your speaking ability and provides you with personalized insights, such as your pacing, your filler word usage, your word choice, and even your body language. 

A Green Card interview can be nerve-wracking, but practicing with Yoodli can make a difference.

Yoodli will offer coaching comments — such as areas to reword or places you can tighten your language — for improvement as well. 

There’s also a specific interview function that allows you to practice interview questions. You can either choose existing ones — most of which are tailored to employment or acceptance interviews — or input your own questions to then respond to. Yoodli will provide the same insightful metrics.

You can practice Green Card interview questions via Yoodli.

Practice until you feel comfortable speaking and navigating an interview about yourself and your life. 

After Your Green Card Interview

After your Green Card interview, there are a few different scenarios you could face. These situations are:

  1. You’ll get approved. Sometimes, you’ll get an approval at your interview. Whenever you get approved, you can expect your Green Card in the mail a few weeks later. 
  2. You’ll need to come back for another interview. You might need to come back for another interview, especially if the official wants to verify more information.
  3. You’ll need to provide more information. The government could send you a Request for Evidence (RFE) so you can submit some more information.
  4. Further review is needed. If the government needs to review your application further, they’ll let you know and will likely get back to you in a few weeks.
  5. You’ll receive a denial. Although it’s sometimes possible to appeal a denial, you should find an immigration lawyer to help you.

The Bottom Line

Even though Green Card interviews can make you feel anxious, they’re a normal part of the Green Card process. Practicing some sample Green Card questions — especially with the analysis of an app like Yoodli — can help you feel confident and comfortable during the interview.

)

Start practicing with Yoodli.

Getting better at speaking is getting easier. Record or upload a speech and let our AI Speech Coach analyze your speaking and give you feedback.

Get Yoodli for free