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Adjustment of Status Interview Checklist

Let's face it, you have a lot riding on your application to adjust your status in the United States. Having made the move to the US, either alone or with your family, securing your future with permanent residence is a key step in your journey. With permanent residence, your next step will be to reach the ultimate goal of citizenship. If you have recently applied for 'adjustment of status' to gain lawful permanent residence in the US (also known as applying for your Green Card), it is important to use your time wisely to prepare for your adjustment of status interview with USCIS. In this article, we will provide a checklist you can use to prepare for your adjustment of the status interview in the US.

An Interview For Adjustment Of Status Is Not Always Necessary

Whether you need to attend an interview with a USCIS official will depend on the circumstances of your case. Not all applicants will be invited for an interview. Despite this, we always recommend preparing on the assumption you will be. The USCIS guidance on adjustment of status interviews states, "USCIS officials will review your case to determine whether an interview is necessary. If we schedule you for an interview, you will be required to appear at a USCIS office to answer questions under oath or affirmation regarding your Form I‑485".

There are several reasons that an interview may be required, including where:

  • USCIS need to confirm the identity of the applicant
  • USCIS need to validate the applicant's immigration status
  • The applicant entered the United States without an inspection, or there are other unresolved issues regarding the applicant's manner of entry
  • There are known criminal inadmissibility or national security concerns
  • There are fraud concerns
  • The applicant's fingerprints have been rejected more than once
  • The applicant has a Class A medical condition
  • The applicant answered "Yes" to any eligibility question on the adjustment application
  • USCIS has not been able to obtain an applicant's A-File, T-File, or receipt file (when the applicant has multiple files).

Where possible, the USCIS service centre will send a request for evidence (RFE) if they have specific questions which are outstanding, but where this does not resolve the matter, they will typically request an interview.

If USCIS decide you will need to attend an interview, you will receive a letter of notice confirming this, which will include the date, time, and location.

Getting Ready For Your Adjustment Of Status Interview

It is recommended that you start getting ready for your interview as early as possible. Doing so will alleviate any pressure if you receive a short notice interview request and will ensure you are ready in any event. We recommend taking the following steps:

  • Secure the services of an interpreter who can attend the interview with you if necessary. Even if you speak some English, having an interpreter with you will ensure that you understand the questions being asked of you, and you can be confident that the USCIS officer has a full understanding of your answer. An interpreter can make the difference between a successful outcome and one which results in refusal. Your interpreter should be a fully neutral third-party (i.e. not a friend or family member). If the officer has concerns the interpreter is not neutral, they may refuse their entry into the interview. Your chosen interpreter will need to take their government-issued ID with them to the interview.
  • Prepare the documents you will need to take to your interview:
    1. The letter of notice requesting your attendance at an interview Appointment notice (I-797C)
    2. Your government-Issued Photo ID – i.e. passport or driver's license
    3. A hard copy of your I-485 application, including any additional documents you have completed and provided to USCIS. These may include a form I-130, I-130A, I-864, I-131, and/or I-765.
    4. Originals of all documents you provided to support your application for adjustment of status, including your long-form birth certificate, marriage certificate, and divorce decree.
    5. Your advanced parole permit if you have one
    6. Your doctor report with the results of your medical exam
    7. A letter from your employer confirming you are still employed and your current salary – if applying on the basis of your employment in the US.
    8. Any documents relating to any change of circumstances since you initially applied – e.g. proof of a change of address or marriage or birth certificate.
  • Practice answering questions you are likely to be asked – there is a wide range of sample questions relating to adjustment of status interviews available online. We recommend finding as many as you can and practicing your responses. This will ensure you can provide full answers to the questions you are asked and will help you to feel relaxed on the day. Remember, the questions you will be asked depend on the reason for changing your status. For example, if your adjustment request is based on your relationship, you can expect questions such as how, when, and where you met your partner. USCIS is known for asking very specific and detailed questions, so you should prepare for this – as a case in point, they may ask you to describe certain aspects of your house in fine detail, your wedding day, and what you know about your partner.

What Happens At The End Of Your I-485 Interview?

In many cases, applicants will receive a decision on their adjustment of status at the end of the interview. Where they cannot reach a final decision, this will be sent after your interview. They may stamp an I-551 status in your passport as temporary evidence of your permanent residence.

Final Words

It cannot be overemphasised how important it is to prepare for your adjustment of status interview. Being prepared will make sure that you are confident in your ability to satisfy the USCIS officer that you are eligible, and your case is genuine. Given the importance of receiving a positive decision for you and your family, every hour you invest preparing for your interview will be time well spent.

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