How to ACE a marriage based Interview at CIS
DO-Dress professionally. As in any interview, the interviewer forms an initial impression, which if negative is hard to shake. The clothes do not have to be expensive But have proper respect by wearing clothes that cover. This is a serious interview, not a dance club
DO- Tell the truth. There are no right or wrong thing in a marriage and making up lies really complicate matter. Apart from the fact that the officer places you under oath to “tell the truth” and lying to a federal officer is a felony, it does actually hurts your case. The officers are supposed to judge whether you are married or not under state law. Most state law defines marriage as:
1. Intent to be married
2. Having a ceremony of some sort for the marriage
3. Holdingout to others as man and wife
Marriage is ultimately a social declaraion of the intent of one man and one woman to be together and no other societal rules govern marriage.
In a separate interview once, for my clients, the husband was asked where he took his wife on the last date. The wife had already answered Mc Donalds. The husband did not want to say that he was that “cheap.” So he hesitated, and ultimately said “a nice restaurant.” We had trouble with that case, although the couple was happily married.
In another case, the male client had gone back to his village in Tanzania, while his pregnant wife stayed in the US. The question was whether when he was in Tanzania, did he call his wife. The man answered no. His village had no phones. His wife thought it would “look bad” that he never called his pregnant wife, so she answered yes. The nest question was how many time, and she answered three ties a day. One lie leads to another. We had to wait for the birth of the child for the officer to actually believe that the couple was in fact living together.
Do -Take all the documents with you. For instance:
Proof of Cohabitation – As many of these as you can get:
A. Copy of birth certificate of child together
B. Copy of joint mortgage documents
C. Copy of joint rental agreement
D. Copy of life insurance where the spouse is the beneficiary
E. Copy of joint health insurance
F. Copy of joint car insurance
G. Copy of joint bank account
H. Copy of joint stock certificate
I. Copy of joint credit card bills
J. Copy of joint purchases, example car or furniture or appliances
K. Marriage album and pictures
a. Marriage certificate
b. Birth certificates of both spouses
c. Naturalization certificate for petitioner
d. Divorce decrees for both spouses, if applicable
e. All other documents submitted to the INS, like EAD card, or travel document like advance parole
f. Passport, driver’s license and SS Card for both spouses
Do– Be short and sweet. Just answer the specific question asked, nothing more. The officer has many interviews to do a day, and does not have time to hear your life story. Besides going off on tangents derails the officer, and make their job harder. If they forget something, they can ask you to come back later, delaying the time you have to get your green card.
DON’T -Prepare for the interview other than collecting the documents. Very often clients ask me what type of questions are asked, with the intent of starting to memorize the answers. When one of my clients asked me that, I had told him that they may ask him questions about his wife, like her birth date, etc. At the interview, he told me he had memorized everything about his wife. I dont know whether that endeared him more to his wife, but for the interview purpose it was a complete waste of time. Again, since there are no rules in a marriage there is no rule as to what you should now. If you dont know, say “I dont know.” Dont make up an answer. A client was once asked what perume the other spouse wears. This couple knew the answer. But dear readers, I have been married for 22 years, and have raised two kids with my husband aged 21 and 20. And frankly I dont think my husband wears a perfume. My husband certainly does not know what perfume I wear. I dont know what perfume I wear, since they come from little bottles on my dresser that I get as presents. So, if you dont know, say “I dont know.”
DON’T-Act overly amorous or lovey-dovey. The officers are trained to recognize frauds and being overly amorous raises the suspicion as to whether you are really married. Act normal. You are always liked best when you are your natural self.
And above all DON’T file false petitions! That is a crime and will get you deported. If you are actually not living together as man and wife, immigration officers do find out. These officers are trained and do nothing but marriage cases about 7-8 a day for years!