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Preparing for the Green Card Interview

Preparing for the Green Card Interview

The final step of obtaining a green card is the interview, which is scheduled by the National Visa Center (NVC) if the green card applicant is living abroad or by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if the green card applicant is living in the United States. The interview may be months away, but knowing what to expect will help you feel confident and prepared when that important day arrives.

Whether the interview will take place abroad or in the United States, the interviewing officer’s primary goal will be to determine if there are any grounds of inadmissibility into the United States. The green card applicant bears the burden of proof as to admissibility. The principal beneficiary of the green card petition “must appear in person.” The main exception is that “the personal appearance of any child under the age of 14 MAY be waived at the officer’s discretion.” Failure to attend the interview may result in termination of the registration.

The field officer may administer “skills tests” at visa interviews. It is important to be prepared to demonstrate skills within your particular profession. Before the interview, make sure you are knowledgeable with the terminology and procedures of your profession. The officer will make every effort to conduct the interview fairly and sympathetically. Applicants will be given sufficient time to answer questions without interruption.

Things to Prepare Before the Interview

  • A folder containing your resume; certificate of employment; and/or any award or accomplishments pertaining to your professional career.
  • Practice your English speaking and writing skills, because English competency is required for the job duties.
  • Complete other pre-employment protocols – nurse licensure in the state of intended employment, obtaining the reconfirmation of the job offer.
  • Register a delivery address, your passport and visa will be mailed to you upon approval. You can register online by clicking on the “Select Document Delivery Address” link http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph/ph-iv-documentdelivery.asp

Document Checklist (Required Documents to Bring to the Interview)

  • Passport
    Must be valid for at least six (6 months).
  • Immigrant Visa Electronic Application
    Complete the Form DS-260 available at https://ceac.state.gov/ceac, print the confirmation page containing the barcode information, and bring it on your scheduled visa interview appointment.
  • Medical Examination Results
    You must undergo the required medical examination at St. Luke’s Extension Clinic and bring the results at the time of your visa interview. Refer to www.slec.ph for more information regarding the medical examination.
  • Police Report
    Applicants aged 16 years and older must have a valid Philippine police (NBI) clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). For immigration purposes, an NBI clearance is valid for one year from the date of issuance.
  • Fees
    Immigrant visa application fees may be paid in cash or major credit cards at Embassy’s Consular Cashier if these have not been paid at the NVC.
  • Birth Certificate/Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
    Must be issued on security paper by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Please visit http://www.census.gov.ph for further information.
  • CENOMAR – Certificate of No Marriage Record (if applicable)
    Applicants who are single and have never been married (18 years and older) are required to obtain a CENOMAR from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). To request a CENOMAR to be directly submitted to the U.S. Embassy (recommended), you may do so here: https://www.ecensus.com.ph/Secure/Terms.aspx
    This is also required for a petitioner who was born in the Philippines and lived in the country for at least one (1) year upon reaching the age of 18.
  • Proof of Termination of Marriage (if applicable)
    Annulment decree, death certificate issued by the PSA, a foreign divorce decree or foreign death certificate.
  • Military Records
    Applicants who served in the military or police should present certified copies of their military or police service records.

What Kinds of Questions Will Be Asked?

  • Questions pertaining to the applicant’s eligibility for the immigrant visa, including:
    • the applicant’s U.S. immigration history,
    • employment history,
    • marital status,
    • family,
    • income, and
    • criminal history.

Tips

  • Try not to reschedule your interview
    It may be rescheduled, however, “there may be a significant wait for the next available appointment.” Rescheduling causes administrative backlogs, which, in turn, result in lost time answering correspondence and responding to telephone inquiries.
  • Attend the interview
    Even if you fail to present all of the required documentation (visa screen, updated passport, etc.), pay the processing fee and the officer will instruct the applicant or family members to return at a later time with the missing documentation. The visa(s) will be issued immediately if the documentation is found acceptable.
  • Remember to breathe
    Take your time answering questions. It is okay to not quickly respond to a question. The officer is not trying to trick an applicant, but it is key to make sure you have stated your response correctly.
  • Be honest and open
    This is your opportunity to give the officer a window into your professional career and education background. If you do not know the answer to a question, say so, do not make up an answer.
  • Speak your mind
    Some interviewing officers will ask very personal questions. If you find a question too offensive, you can let the officer know, and you can decline to answer. Most officers will understand and move on to the next question.
  • Dress to Impress
    Dress neatly, professionally, and even conservatively. Don’t wear T-shirts or jewelry with slogans or symbols that might make the officer wonder about your lifestyle or morals.
  • Be prompt
    Do not arrive more than 15 minutes before the interview appointment time.

Once you have completed your interview, you will be informed that your immigrant visa has been approved (applications are rarely denied on the spot). Now you can prepare to enter the United States.

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