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  • Writer's pictureParviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq.

What Actually Happens in an I-485 Interview?


This stock photo shows an office that's pretty similar to what many USCIS interview rooms look like


If you're going to an I-485 adjustment of status interview, it means you have already filed your I-485 application to adjust your status and obtain a green card.


Article Outline:

  1. Arrival and Check-In

  2. Preparation

  3. Entering the USCIS Adjudicator Office

  4. Administration of Oath

  5. Questioning

  6. Interview Results

  7. Video Explainer

  8. What Comes Next?

Here's an easy-to-read breakdown of what usually happens during an I-485 adjustment of status interview.


Arrival and Check-in


You should arrive at the USCIS district office at least 15-20 minutes before the scheduled interview time. You use your interview appointment notice to gain access to the building. If you have an attorney, you may meet them outside or inside the building in the USCIS waiting room.


You should be dressed formally, and be carrying all the documents requested of you in your interview appointment notice.


Once you enter the USCIS waiting room, you typically “check-in” by walking to a counter and showing your a) interview appointment notice, and b) photo identification. Once you’ve checked in, wait until your number is called.


Note: the moment you enter into the USCIS waiting room, you should be comforting yourself as if you may be observed by your USCIS adjudicator, because you may be!


If you are speaking to your lawyer, or a spouse, keep your voice low for confidential communications.


Preparation


Your attorney, if you have one, will hopefully have helped you prepare you for the interview.


They will go over likely questions you will face, with a focus on sensitive topics, and how to respond to questions related to sensitive topics. Interview preparation is not just a formality. It’s an extremely important part of an I-485 adjustment of status case, especially if it is marriage-based.


Entering the USCIS Adjudicator's Office


When your number is called, stand up with your attorney, interpreter (if applicable), and possibly the petitioner (if your case has a petitioner). Usually the adjudicator that will be interviewing you is the one who enters the waiting room and calls your number. You follow the adjudicator to their office where you will be interviewed.


Note: anything you say to the adjudicator at all, even when walking to or from the article can and will be used by them in their evaluation. Your guard should be up, and you should be talking only with care.


Administration of Oath


The USCIS officer will administer an oath to anyone who will be providing answers during the interview. This is a formal commitment to tell the truth.


Questioning


The officer will ask questions, typically not covering all the questions on the I-485 application. However, it is crucial for you to know all the questions and be prepared with the answers, because you don’t know which ones the adjudicator will choose to ask you.


The purpose of the interview is to verify the information provided in your application, obtain verbal evidence from you, and assess your eligibility for adjustment of status. You answer all the questions, hopefully truthfully, and wait for your interview results.


Interview Results


At the end of the interview, you will typically be informed of your interview results.


The outcomes can be:

  • approval,

  • denial, or

  • the case being held for further review.

If your case is approved, you will receive a sheet stating that your green card will be mailed to you within a specific timeframe.


If your case is being held for further review, it means the adjudicator wants to spend more time with the evidence before making a decision.


If your case is denied, then something went wrong. If you don’t have a lawyer already, you’ll want to contact one right away to determine whether your denial was legally justified, and what options you may have.


Video Explainer


What Comes Next?


After receiving your interview results, the interview process is complete. If your case is successful, you can anticipate receiving your green card in the mail. At that point, you’re a legal permanent resident (i.e. a green card holder).


What comes next after getting your green card? It could be petitioning for family members, preparing to apply for naturalization. Check out this article for more information on what to do after you become a green card holder.


Attending an adjustment of status interview is a crucial step in the process of obtaining a green card. Being well-prepared significantly increases your chances of a successful outcome. If you want professional help, you can request a consultation with Malakouti Law here.


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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