Immigration Interview

Immigration Marriage Related Interview at 26 Federal Plaza, New York City

In general, there are two marriage related interviews that are ordinarily scheduled at 26 Federal Plaza, New York City by Immigration – DHS.

When a married couple files a family petition (also known as an I-130 application) in conjunction with a green card application, the couple is generally scheduled for an interview to determine whether the marriage was entered for legitimate reasons.

In support of such application, the couple is expected to bring documents which would corroborate and prove that they reside together.  Naturally, in certain circumstances a couple may have to reside apart, perhaps due to jobs in different cities.  These documents ordinarily are presented for purposes to prove that they share a residence and that they have commingled some assets.  Again, although this may be a general rule of thumb, Immigration cannot force a couple to commingle their assets.  I’m sure everyone is aware that some couples strategically make sure that each retains their own separate assets in order to avoid a nasty divorce proceedings, should the marriage fall apart.  As such, although immigration officers may expect to see these documents, in certain cases, one can and should perhaps educate officers about one’s rights to plan their family and financial structure in a way that works best for them and not in a way immigration assumes they should.

Another type of interview usually conducted in a marriage based petition is an interview that is scheduled to determine whether a marriage is still a valid and viable marriage.  An applicant usually receives conditional permanent resident status if at the time the status is granted, two years have not passed since the marriage was entered.  In such cases, the status is granted for two year and within 90 days of the two year anniversary of being granted the status, the applicant must file an application to remove the conditions (also known as an I-751 application).  When these applications are filed, Immigration may approve the case based simply on the documents presented, or an interview may be scheduled.  These interviews are usually scheduled either because the documents were not convincing or due to a random computer audit.

Do applicants need an attorney for these types of interviews????

My opinion on these interviews is that an applicant should be represented by an attorney.  Why?  These interviews must be conducted fairly and should not be adversarial.  All too often, I will walk by an Immigration officer’s room during an interview and can hear an interviewing officer speak to applicant’s in a condescending manner.  This is inappropriate and in fact a violation of their own manual of how interviews should be conducted.  If there is no other reason, this alone is enough reason to be represented by an attorney during these interview.  Of course, there are many other just as important reasons.