One of the most critical steps to living and working in the USA is the interview at the US embassy. But what happens at this appointment, and what do immigrants need to watch out for in the interview? We give five essential pieces of advice for a successful Green Card interview.
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The Green Card interview or visa interview is the last step before your immigrant visa for the USA is approved.
After the completed interview at the US embassy or consulate, your passport will be withheld and, shortly after that, returned to you with your US entry visa and a sealed envelope containing your immigration documents.
To finally receive your physical Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), you need to make your activation trip to the USA, which will kick off the process of printing and mailing your Green Card.
When your "Case Number" becomes current according to the Visa Bulletin, you will need to log on to dvprogram.state.gov to check the exact interview appointment date.
Many potential US immigrants fear that they will inadvertently forfeit their right to a Green Card by giving a wrong answer in the Green Card interview. However, most reports of Green Card winners are in agreement on the point that the interview situation was less dire than feared.
Special training sessions prepare US immigrant visa applicants for the interview situation to ease petitioners' fears. Those who want to prepare for the Green Card interview together with experts can do so, for example, with the winner service of The American Dream.
The Green Card interview will be held in English. However, the officials will understand if you lack a perfect command of the language. Make this clear right at the beginning of the interview so that your deficits can be taken into account.
Would you like to learn some more English before your Green Card interview? Check out the best learning apps here.
Our Green Card winners often report longer waiting times at the embassies. The waiting time at the entrance can be between 30 minutes and an hour.
Before the interview, you will need to submit the visa fee, which you can pay in different ways and at different times, depending on the embassy or consulate. Be sure to follow the instructions of your assigned embassy or consulate at all times.
The procedure on interview day will be something like the following:
Before starting your activation trip to the USA, you must pay the immigration fee. After that, you will receive a "receipt number," which you can use to track the shipping status of your Green Card.
In the GreenCard interview, your personal data will be asked again, and you will have to provide information about your profession and your plans within the USA, for example.
Which and how many questions you will be asked depends, among other things, on the Green Card category for which you have applied. For example, if you are applying for a Green Card through marriage, the interview will be particularly rigorous to rule out marriage fraud.
Typical Green Card interview questions are:
Before you swear to tell the truth, you will be asked to raise your right hand. Usually, the official interview questions are rounded off with a bit of small talk, and the officials quickly come to a decision.
With a little preparation and our Green Card interview tips, your appointment at the US embassy or consulate is sure to be a success:
Although you will be asked to arrive at the embassy or consulate just before your actual appointment, allow enough time to make up for any wait time at the entrance.
You should arrive at least half an hour before your appointment to join the queue. Security checks after the first queue also take additional time.
Security checks at the US embassy are strict and roughly comparable to airport security screenings. Not every embassy implements all rules in the same way. Nevertheless, prepare for the highest level of security and leave all prohibited items at home.
Generally, the following items are not permitted to be brought into US embassies and consulates:
If you have baby food or necessary medications with you, make sure to bring it to the attention of security personnel.
Your assigned US embassy has published or sent you specific instructions on assembling your documents for the Green Card interview.
Make copies of all documents whose originals you wish to keep. Remove all papers from any sleeves or envelopes and have them ready as a loose stack (no stapling).
You should bring the following documents to the interview:
It is no longer necessary to bring a stamped envelope to return your passport. Instead, you provide your return address during your online registration and bring the confirmation to the consulate.
The evidence must be submitted as original documents or certified copies in English or the consulate's language. Follow the instructions carefully.
Because of the large number of documents, the two-folder principle has proven itself over the years with our Green Card winners:
|Documents for the Green Card interview|
|Folder 1:||All documents that are mandatory to present
(e.g., passport, passport photos, proof of payment, the confirmation page of your electronic immigration application)
|Folder 2:||All documents that might be asked for spontaneously
(e.g., school reports, education certificates, bank statements, divorce certificates)
The top three documents in Folder 1 should be your passport, your interview invitation, and proof of your visa fee payment.
Practice makes perfect! In conversation with a friend, family member, or Green Card counselor, you should practice the interview situation. If your English is less advanced, learn any immigration-related special terms that may come up beforehand.
In your test interviews, be prepared to answer questions about your life story, career, and plans in the United States.
Try to answer in short and precise sentences. Usually, you will have limited time at your Green Card interview, so you should use every minute to convince the consular officer of the legitimacy of your Green Card application.