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Parviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq.

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  • Writer's pictureParviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq.

Our Toughest Green Card Interview (Mini Case Study) 

By Parviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq. 

My clients were sweating going into and coming out of the interview


A few years ago, I had my hardest marriage-based adjustment of status (green card) interview to date. This was in the downtown Los Angeles USCIS field office, and my clients had some difficult facts.


Here's what happened.


Tough Facts For a Green Card Interview


First, the couple had four combined divorces (from other people) between the petitioner and the beneficiary. 


Second, all four previous marriages had an immigration petition filed in them. In a pair of those petitions, the green card application (I-485) had been filed as well.


Third, the petitioner and beneficiary had known each other for only a few months before getting engaged, and only a couple more months before marriage. 


Fourth, the beneficiary was currently out of immigration status in the United States. This is bad for our case because it makes him look more desperate to enter into a non bona fide marriage in order to secure immigration status. 


But, despite these really tough facts, I could tell that the marriage WAS real and based on love. As an immigration lawyer dealing with hundreds of cases personally, you get a sense for what's real and what's fishy. I could see that from dealing with the couple in the months leading up to the interview. 


Our Strategy


We prepared extensively for the interview.


I told them to expect a Stokes interview, in which the husband and wife are questioned separately and then their answers are compared to one another later for inconsistency. In our preparation, I zeroed in on the facts that I thought would look the worst, and I went over them several times with the clients. I told them to answer “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” when faced with a question they don’t know the answer to.


I also had a few practice sessions with them in which I asked them uncomfortable, unexpected questions to get them more comfortable with facing an unexpected question. Lastly, I sent them links to some of my articles and youtube videos talking about how to answer questions well in a green card interview.


The Results


Fast forward to the day of interview and the adjudicator was rather gruff at first. As predicted, he separated the clients to give them separate Stokes interview. I was present, representing the clients in person and I stayed with the client being interviewed at all times. The clients did a fantastic job listening carefully to questions, asking for clarification when necessary, and using qualifying language when they were unsure of their answers (i.e. “about a few months”). 


At the end of the interview, the adjudicator announced cryptically “Ok, I think I have an idea of what’s going on here.” We received notice a few days later that the adjustment of status application was approved, and naturally the clients were elated. 


Each immigration and citizenship case is particular and you should consult with a qualified immigration and citizenship lawyer about your case before taking any steps. The Law Office of Parviz Malakouti does not guarantee the accuracy of information presented nor assume responsibility for actions taken in reliance of this information. The information in this page could become outdated. Attorney marketing.

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