Best Evidence for Your Marriage Green Card Interview

  • POSTED: February 23, 2024
  • CATEGORY:
  • POSTED BY: LawrenceGruner

Marriage green card interviews, at least in northern California, but likely in most other places, are being held much sooner now that we are post pandemic.  During the pandemic these interviews were taking a long time to occur.  It was not uncommon for an interview to take a couple of years after the initial adjustment of status documentation was filed.

Today we expect to have our marriage green card cases completed in 6-8 months after they are filed.  We recently had a case conclude 32 days after the initial filing.  That was a new record.  Our previous record was about 3 months of wait time which occurred at the end of 2023. Wait times are definitely trending in the right direction. 

At the interview there will come a time when the immigration officer will ask for evidence showing that the marriage is legitimate.  They may call it “marriage bona fides” but this is what they are looking for you to present to them.

I believe that the strongest piece of evidence in this type of case is a good photo album.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this is true.   I ask my clients to bring two albums to their interview.  One will have photos of their wedding, reception and honeymoon.  The other will have photos showing the lives of the couple.  The photos in the album will show the couple with family members, and friends as well as photos of the couple on vacation etc.  

The photos with family members are the most valuable,  They seem to carry the most weight in the eyes of most interviewers.    Photos with friends seem to carry the second most amount of weight and finally photos of the couple doing things together is third most valuable.

One time I was handling an interview with clients and it was not going well.  The clients were completely prepared but they started struggling with a few of the questions.  However, things changed once the photo albums were brought out.  The clients had been in the movie business and their pictures showed them with some of the biggest names in Hollywood.  The key thing was that they were together with various stars in the photos.  In addition, they had many photos of them with family members.  

The interviewer’s whole demeanor towards them started to change and the green card was approved shortly thereafter.  Everyone went home happy.

Another time I was in an interview with a couple who did not have any photos.  In fact, even though I knew they were married, their co-workers did not know.  It turned out they had had a very small wedding and they had no photos of themselves with family members or friends.  They were both introverts, both software engineers,  and they hadn’t told hardly anyone about their marriage.  They told nobody at their work that they were married as they believed it could affect their careers. Social media did not exist at that time, but I am sure that even if it did, their social media would not have reflected that they were married.  The interview went poorly and they had to have a second, much more intense “Stokes interview”.  

In the Stokes interview the immigration officer will separate the couple and ask all sorts of uncomfortable questions.   The interviewer looks at both sets of answers and makes a decision as to whether the case will be granted.  If it is not granted the immigrant is likely looking at a removal (or deportation) matter before an immigration judge.   

Happily, with lots of preparation,  they passed this second interview and a green card was granted.  A strong photo album full of pictures of them with family and friends , at the first interview, would have likely made all of the difference.  It would likely have saved them from a very intensive and very uncomfortable Stokes interview.

In conclusion, many pieces of evidence are important in your case.  In fact the more the better.  Let the interviewer sigh and say something like: “ok that’s enough evidence”.  Rather than say: “did you bring anything else for me to evaluate?”.  However, of all of the pieces of evidence the photo album is the most valuable.  Make sure yours is full of pictures that paint the story that you are happily married and that your family and friends know about your marriage.


Lawrence Gruner is an immigration attorney with over 25 years of experience.  His office is located in downtown Sacramento and handles fiance visa cases, marriage green card cases and other immigration matters.  We handle cases throughout the world.  You may reach us at attorneygruner@gmail.com or 888-801-6558.  Our initial consultation is free and confidential.  We would be happy to help you with your immigration matter.

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