Adjustment interviews for spouses:
Once you’ve filed your I-485 package to adjust your spouse’s status to that of a permanent resident of the U.S., in about 8-10 months (ideally) you should be receiving an adjustment interview appointment at 300 N Los Angeles Street, room 8540 (rooms may vary), Department of Homeland Security Immigration Service building in downtown Los Angeles (intersection of Temple and Los Angeles streets). Our immigration attorney is available to accompany you and your spouse to the adjustment of status interview and prepare you for that interview to increase your chances of passing the interview. Below are some helpful pointers regarding certain details that are often overlooked by many applicants:
answer a question or certain unique figures of speech that can only be appropriately conveyed to the immigration officer through highly accurate interpretation by a professional interpreter. We can recommend a number of interpretation/translation services that specialize in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian and other languages. Both the citizen petitioner spouse and the beneficiary non-citizen spouse must be present at an interview.
PROMPT ARRIVAL TO THE ADJUSTMENT INTERVIEW
Both must arrive promptly: If you are late, your case may be closed based on abandonment! If your case WAS ALREADY CLOSED because YOU FAILED TO APPEAR AT YOUR ADJUSTMENT INTERVIEW call (213)534-1827 to consult our immigration attorney Dmitry Paniotto on whether you can file a MOTION TO REOPEN your case if you had a good excuse for not appearing for your interview (such as serious illness ; major accident or death in the family).
When planning to attend an interview , make sure you have ENOUGH TIME to beat the morning traffic and arrive promptly at 300 N Los Angeles – if you don’t already know this, downtown Los Angeles is a crowded place and is extremely busy during the morning rush hour , especially freeway 5 , freeway 10 , freeway 110 and freeway 101. You don’t want to undergo unnecessary stress of being delayed by traffic when you and your spouse are heading for possibly the most important interview in your non-citizen spouse’s life that’s hoping to get a greencard in the U.S. Just imagine how frustrating it might be to have your case closed for non-appearance and abandonment simply because you did not leave your house early enough to arrive promptly.
Also , remember that parking space near the immigration building is scarce! Even if you arrive timely, you still need additional time to find parking. The cheaper parking is located at the intersection of Los Angeles street and Second Street, near “Little Tokyo” and “Otani” hotel. However, if you park there, you need additional 10 minutes or so to walk along Los Angeles street to the immigration building. More expensive , but closer parking is available about ½ block down on Temple street and at the Los Angeles mall right across the street from the Immigration building.
Sometimes /or should we say frequently there are long lines of people lined up along the immigration building. Just like you, they are all trying to get into the building and jamming the entrance. Waiting time to get in may take 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes – you never know how long; therefore again try to allow as much extra time as possible to arrive promptly, to find parking and to stand in line!
CELLPHONES AND ID’S
Camera cell phones are not allowed inside the immigration building and a picture ID must be displayed to the immigration officer at the entrance in order to allow you to enter the building.
WHAT TO BRING FOR MY INTERVIEW?
Bring your spouse, interview notice, any and all immigration paperwork related to your case, evidence of having been fingerprinted if necessary, but most importantly BRING ANY AND ALL EVIDENCE THAT YOUR MARRIAGE IS BONA FIDE REAL MARRIAGE AND NOT A MARRIAGE FRAUD! Specifically, bring joint bank account statements, rent receipts with names of both spouses, joint income tax returns, joint health insurance evidence, your pictures taken at different times in different places that evidence the wedding ceremony and the existence and stability of your marital relationship, bills with both spouses’ names, letters that you’ve written to each other before marriage if possible, declarations of witnesses such as your mutual friends/neighbors who have witnessed your relationship grow and/or who can confirm that you live together. Of course, if you had a child together, bring his/her birth certificate or even display your child to the officer. One of the best kinds of evidence of the validity of your marriage is that you had a child together.
WHAT DO WE HAVE TO PROVE AT THE INTERVIEW ?
The immigration officers that conduct adjustment interviews based on marriage to the U.S. citizen are trained to investigate marriage fraud. They presume /assume that every marriage between a citizen and a beneficiary of an I-130 petition was entered into for the purposes of evading the U.S. immigration laws, that every marriage is fraud designed to get a greencard in exchange for money. Your job is to overcome this presumption. It is your burden to prove that your marriage is a true marriage based on love and affection and not on love of a greencard by a beneficiary spouse and love of money by U.S. citizen spouse.
If you are applying for greencard/adjustment of status based on marriage and you are the beneficiary of a citizen spouse’s petition – you have to show to the officer that you fell in love with your spouse and married him/her to create a happy and healthy family and not to fake your feelings in order to deceive your citizen spouse just to get a greencard and then leave him/her as soon as you get what you want (that’s in cases where conspiracy between the citizen spouse and immigrant spouse is not suspected)
The most important element of a true marriage is cohabitation – in other words, real spouses normally live together! Any and all proof of your life together must be brought to the interview. Also most of the questions at the interview are designed to elicit testimony from both spouses regarding your cohabitation – you both must prove that you live together and have lived together since you got married.
These questions vary depending on the persons being interviewed. Also the duration of interview and the interview “set up” may vary greatly depending on the couple involved.
In some instances, where marriage fraud is suspected, the immigration officer might interview both of you separately and then compare your answers and deny your case based on discrepancies in your answers.
While preparing you for the interview, our immigration attorney will go over the most typical questions with you to give you an idea of what the officers normally ask at the interviews. Also we will give you basic instructions not contained in this article on how to behave during the interview and on the format of the interview itself.
One of the most common reasons for denial of adjustment based on marriage to the U.S. citizen is allegations of marriage fraud based on lack of mutual cohabitation. The DHS investigators may initiate investigation of marriage fraud based on their suspicions that may be triggered by the conduct of the immigrant and his/her citizen spouse during the interview ; by discrepancy between answers to officers’ questions between an immigrant spouse and a citizen spouse; or by a field investigation conducted by the undercover immigration officers who may search couple’s premises; talk to the neighbors and/or landlord or actually place the couple under surveillance to collect incriminating information to impeach the couple’s efforts to establish a bona fide marriage. Sometimes, members of the community may tip the DHS regarding spouse’s suspected marriage fraud by writing to:
MARRIAGE FRAUD UNIT
Office Director, Attn: Investigations,
U.S. Department of Homeland Security,
300 No. Los Angeles St., Room 6676,
Los Angeles, CA. 90012
Or calling ICE unit at: 213-632-6200
If your case is under investigation or had been denied based on marriage fraud and you are given an opportunity to appeal, contact this office to obtain assistance in preparing an appeal of a denial of permanent residency based on marriage fraud.