The I-485 Interview Explained

The 1-485 interview preparation process may require the help of an attorney. Manji Law, P.C. attorneys are prepared to help you. Call us today.

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Atlanta Immigration Attorney Jameel Manji

Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.

Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: September 11, 2023.

Manji Law is your complete immigration solution. If you are seeking assistance with the Atlanta Immigration Court, please give us a call. Manji Law can provide valuable insight, assistance, and a guiding hand to help you achieve your goals.

Overview of the I-485 Interview

 

The I-485 interview is an essential step in the process of obtaining lawful permanent resident status. To apply for a green card in the United States, you must file Form I-485. Form I-485 allows you to adjust your status from temporary to permanent residence. This is also known as a green card.

During the I-485 interview, the applicant must appear at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. They must attend an in-person interview with an immigration officer. The purpose is to verify the information provided in the I-485 application. The officer assesses the applicant’s eligibility for the green card and ensures they meet all the requirements.

The I-485 interview is a crucial part of the green card application process. Applicants need to be well-prepared. A successful interview will result in the approval of the green card application, allowing the applicant to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

For additional information and resources, contact an immigration attorney at Manji Law, P.C.

How an I-485 Interview Works

 

The average processing time for I-485 applications is between 12 and 39 months. Therefore, you may receive the interview notice anytime within this period. After receiving your Form I-485 application, the USCIS will send you an interview notice. They may also request that the petitioner attend the interview. Carefully reading the Form I-485 Instructions for your interview is essential.

The interview USCIS usually schedules the interview at one of its offices close to you. The I-485 interview enables a USCIS officer to assess the validity of your application. The immigration officer will ask questions about the applicant’s background, family, employment history, and other relevant details to determine whether the applicant is eligible for permanent residency. The officer may also request additional documents or evidence to support the application.

Generally, the interview takes 30 mins but may vary based on the circumstances.

 

Who Attends Adjustment of Status Interview

If your name appears on the I-485 interview notice, then you must attend the interview. In some family-based applications, both the applicant and petitioner must attend the interview. This is usually the case for marriage green cards. The interview ensures that it is a bona fide marriage and not merely entered into for a green card.

For other family green cards, the U.S. citizen does not need accompany their parents, children, or siblings. The USCIS waives the interview in cases not likely to involve fraud or other unlawful circumstances. The petitioning employer for your employment green card is not obligated to attend the interview.

 

Who May Qualify for an I-485 Interview Waiver?

The USCIS may skip the I-485 interview for the following people:

  1. The minor child of a U.S. parent included in the original filing
  2. The parent of a U.S. citizen included in the original filing
  3. The fiance of a U.S. citizen or child of the fiance
  4. A Cuban native or citizen applying with the November 2, 1966 Act
  5. Someone employed with the petitioner who initially submitted the employment-based visa petition
  6. Someone qualifying for a green card after approval for an alien exceptional ability
  7. A researcher or a professor
  8. Someone providing medical services that has a national interest waiver

Documents Checklist for I-485 Interview

 

It may be beneficial to consult with a reputable attorney before the interview. They can advise you regarding steps you can take to prepare. For example, you may be required to bring the following documents to your I-485 interview:

  • A government-issued photo I.D. (e.g., passport, driver’s license)

  • A Form I-797C appointment notice for the interview

  • A copy of the I-797 approval notice for Form I-130

  • A complete copy of your adjustment of the status application packet

  • A complete copy of any other forms submitted (e.g., I-130, I-864, I-131, I-765)

  • Originals of supporting documents submitted with I-485 application

  • Travel documents, e.g., advance parole permit

  • Employment verification letter documenting continued employment and salary (if applicable)

  • Marriage certificate or divorce decree (if applicable)

  • Two passport-style photographs

  • Birth certificate

  • Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), only if required

  • DS-260 appointment notice, otherwise known as I-797C, Notice of Action

  • Medical examination results 

  • Proof of your marriage life together (e.g., joint lease, joint bank account, children’s birth certificates)

Typical Spouse I-485 Interview Questions

 

The USCIS officer has the responsibility of verifying your claims through questions. In cases of a marriage green card, the officer will ask personal questions about your relationship. They will review the documents provided and compare them with your responses. It is always advisable to be honest, even when you are unsure of the answer.

Some examples of questions for Form I-485 spousal interview include:

  • How and where did you meet your spouse?

  • What is your spouse’s daily routine or work schedule?

  • Where did your spouse live when you met them?

  • What is your spouse’s date of birth?

  • Where was your spouse employed when you met?

  • Where does your spouse work?

  • How much is your spouse’s salary?

  • Did your spouse have a car when you met?

  • Did your spouse propose? When and where?

  • Do you live together?

  • When did your spouse decide to move in with you?

  • When did you get married?

  • Did you go on a honeymoon? If yes, where?

Interview preparation can help applicants feel more comfortable and answer more authentically. Skilled immigration attorneys can help you prepare.

Can an I-485 Be Denied After an Interview?

 

An I-485 interview does not guarantee that the USCIS will approve your green card application. The USCIS may deny your application for other reasons, such as:

  • You do not have lawful immigration status

  • You get a divorce

  • You lose your employment offer

  • The petitioner dies before the completion of the application

  • You commit certain criminal offenses

  • You entered the U.S. through the visa waiver program

 

What Happens After Adjustment of Status Is Denied?

 

If the USCIS denies your application, you may appeal the decision. You can file an appeal by requesting the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). You must make the request within thirty days of the decision. You may have to re-file your green card application if your appeal is denied. 

Speak to a Qualified Immigration Attorney

 

Even if your marriage or job offer is genuine, the immigration officer can deny your application if you do not provide convincing answers regarding your application. Before attending an interview, it is important to be prepared and familiar with the process.

Our top-rated immigration attorneys in Atlanta are familiar with the green card interview process. We know the likely questions the immigration officer may ask based on your circumstances. We can also help you gather the necessary documents for the interview. Having a skilled immigration lawyer present at your interview can help boost your confidence.

Our team can request a notice to attend your interview as your attorney or accredited representative. If the USCIS denies your application, we can file a motion to reconsider your case. We can also assist you in filing a new green card application.

Contact our law office today to get more information about the I-485 interview process.