One of our clients described his meeting with CIS as a “Roller Coaster Interview”. There is no doubt that an interview with a CIS officer is extremely stressful for everyone, including couples who have a genuine relationship and who have nothing to hide. Even the most honest couples might misunderstand the officer’s question or suffer a momentary lapse of memory, causing them to give an unacceptable or incorrect answer.
Assuming there is true love, the couple is also aware of the expiration date of the Visitor or Student Visa, so a lengthy courtship is not an option. This is something that the CIS officer often forgets.
Any marriage that does not fit the popular American pattern of love and courtship, is sure to attract the CIS officer’s suspicion. In a way, the CIS officer is put in the position of deciding what “love” is and whether or not the couple married for love or for immigration benefits. Most officers disregard the fact that in America, marriages have less than a 50% chance of survival, even among couples who have courted and married according to the American customs.
Trying to expose sham marriages by intensive questioning at a Green Card interview is quite unfair. But that is the officer’s job.
At interviews, a common question asked by CIS is, “Which side of the bed do you sleep on?” But which side of the bed is the Right side and which is the Left? That depends on where you are when you view the bed. The answer is different if you are standing at the foot of the bed, lying in bed or viewing the bed from above.
Sample marriage interview test questions that are meant to discover fraud among Green Card applicants, are “Does your spouse have any tattoos?”, “Which side of the bed does your spouse sleep on?”, “When did you last have sex?”, “What was the last movie you went out to see together?”
The only way to avoid problems with CIS is to prepare extensively for an interview. Don’t rely on the fact that you and your spouse know your relationship is real. You must be ready to provide sufficient proof to CIS that your marriage is a bona fide, genuine relationship.
A CIS officer interviewed a couple separately for the husband’s Green Card application. The officer asked the husband about the color of the curtains in their bedroom. The husband answered “Green”. His wife answered the same question by saying “Blue”. On the basis of those conflicting responses, the officer tried to find more reasons to deny the adjustment application.
Was the officer being too strict, or was he just not aware that many Asian languages do not have separate terms for “blue” and “green”? Instead, they use one word that could mean either blue or green, such as the Vietnamese word xanh. Obviously, this could present a problem when it is translated into English at a Green Card interview.
Do most CIS officers know about these language problems when they conduct an interview? No, they don’t. They expect applicants to be able to give satisfactory answers in English and a small mistake about blue/green can be very damaging.
A couple is called for an interview because CIS feels there may be some reason to believe that they have a sham marriage. So, the CIS officer is going to be hostile, not helpful, and he is going to ask questions that are designed to get conflicting answers from the couple.
Even the most honest couples might misunderstand the officer’s question or suffer a momentary lapse of memory, causing them to give an unacceptable or incorrect answer.
Most couples go to the Adjustment interview without sufficient preparation. That is a mistake. They really need to rehearse their answers. Without doing that, it is almost certain that they will provide conflicting answers. Everyone remembers things differently. For a CIS interview, it is essential that both husband and wife remember things the same way.
The couple should recall and discuss important dates in their relationship. Even the unimportant dates might be important, such as how they spent the last weekend, what they watched on TV.
The couple needs to review their household routine, such as who does what chores. It’s also important for each of them to be able to provide the same description of the interior of their home.
The Green Card application costs around $1,000. That fee is for CIS processing; it is not for buying a helpful service from CIS. The purpose of the interview is to prove that you are not entitled to adjustment. It is up to you to be sure that both husband and wife give the same answers to all questions from the CIS officer.
Q.1. If the officer denies the Adjustment application because of some misunderstandings at the interview, is it possible to request another interview to set the record straight?
A.1. The only way to overcome a denial would be to submit additional evidence that would disprove the officer’s reasons for denial. A second interview is rarely allowed.
Q.2. If my wife fails the interview for a permanent green card because of suspected marriage fraud, will she have a chance to appeal?
A.2. Normally, an appeal is not possible. The couple can only wait until the alien spouse has a removal hearing. Then they can provide more evidence of relationship, or try to rebut the denial. For the CIS interview, don’t rely on the fact that you and your spouse know your relationship is real. You must be ready to provide sufficient proof to CIS that your marriage is a bona fide, genuine relationship.
Q.3. Is there any way to make sure that the couple shares the same memories of household features?
A.3. Create a photo album so that you and your spouse can review it together to avoid conflicting answers at a CIS interview. Include photos of each room in your house. Also include body photos of tattoos, birthmarks, etc.