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How Valid Is My Marriage For U.S. Immigration Purposes? – Immigration Lawyer New York
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How Valid Is My Marriage For U.S. Immigration Purposes?

By Michael H. Markovitch, Esq. on February, 06, 2014

To maintain family unity, many countries, including the United States, will give immediate relatives priority when applying for permanent residence privileges. In the United States, this permanent residence card is called a green card and spouses of U.S. citizens enjoy this preferential treatment during the application process. You can apply for a green card if you marry a U.S. citizen, regardless of whether you are inside or outside the U.S.


Once your I-130 marriage petition has been filed you can expect to receive an interview notice.  The notice is sent typically 3-5 months after the filing.  You then need to prepare for the  marriage-based green card interview?  Having attended more than a thousand interviews during my 30 year career as an immigration attorney, I have developed a sense of what to expect at these interviews.  Below are sample questions to help you prepare.


Remember, there is no guarantee that the interviewer will ask you all or any of these questions (though many of them are drawn from actual interviews). But these should get you and your fiancé or spouse started on the process of testing each other’s memory.


We've divided the possible questions into thematic groupings. Again, these do NOT come from any official list created by U.S. immigration authorities.


Development of Your Relationship

  • Where did you meet?
  • What did the two of you have in common?
  • Where did you go for dates?
  • When did your relationship turn romantic?
  • How long was it before you decided to get married?
  • Who proposed to whom?
  • Why did you decide to have a [long, short] engagement?
  • Did your parents approve of the match? Why or why not?


The Wedding

  • How many people attended your wedding?
  • Did each of your parents attend?
  • Where was the wedding held?
  • Was there music or other entertainment?
  • What kind of cake (or other food) did you serve?
  • Who were the bridesmaids/groomsmen?
  • How late did the guests stay?
  • Did the bride change clothes for the reception?
  • Did you serve liquor? What kind?
  • Did anyone get drunk or otherwise embarrass themselves at the reception? Who? Describe.
  • What time did you and the [bride or groom] leave the reception?
  • Did you go on a honeymoon? When did you leave? How did you get there? What airlines?


Regular Routines

  • Who gets up first? At what time?
  • How many alarm clocks do you set in the morning?
  • Who makes breakfast?
  • What do each of you eat for breakfast?
  • Does your spouse drink coffee in the morning?
  • What time do the working spouse or spouses arrive home?
  • Who cleans the house?
  • What day is your garbage picked up?
  • Who takes care of paying the bills?
  • Do you have a joint bank account? Where?
  • Do you have a cat, dog, or other pet? Who feeds it? Who walks it (or cleans its kitty litter box, cage, etc.)?
  • Do you and/or your spouse attend regular religious services? Where?
  • Where do you keep the spare toilet paper?


The Children

  • Who picks up the children at school?
  • Who packs lunches for the kids?
  • What are their favorite toys/activities?
  • What are their least favorite foods?
  • Which children (if any) still use a car seat?
  • What is your usual babysitter’s name?


The Cooking

  • How many times a week on average do you eat out?
  • What is your favorite restaurant for special occasions? For weekly outings?
  • Who does most of the cooking?
  • Who does the grocery shopping? Where?
  • Is there a particular food that you eat every week?
  • What is your spouse’s favorite/least favorite food?
  • What color are the kitchen curtains?
  • Do you have a barbecue grill? Do you use it?


Other Family Members

  • Have you met each other’s parents?
  • How often do you see each other’s parents?
  • When was the last time you saw them? Where? For how long?
  • On important holidays, do you buy individual gifts for your parents-in-law? Do they buy individual gifts for you?
  • How do each of you get along with your parents-in-law?
  • Which other members of your spouse’s family do you see frequently? When was the last time you saw them? What did you do together?


Home Technology

  • How many land-line telephones are in your house? Where are they?
  • Do you have an answering machine on your home telephone? Who checks the messages?
  • How many televisions are in the house? In which rooms? Do you watch shows together, or separately? Name one show that you always watch together.
  • Do you record any television shows?
  • Do you subscribe to a DVD rental service?
  • Does your spouse listen to the radio? What station?
  • How many cars do you have?
  • Do you have a garage? Who parks in it? Do you use a garage door opener?
  • Do you have a camera? Who uses it most often? Who takes pictures at important family occasions?


In the Bedroom

  • What size is your bed (Twin, Queen, or King)?
  • Do you have a regular mattress, futon, or waterbed?
  • How many windows are there in your bedroom?
  • What color are your spouse’s pajamas?
  • Who sleeps on each side of the bed?
  • What form of contraception (birth control) do you use?
  • When was your wife’s last menstrual period?
  • Where do you keep your toothbrushes? What kind of toothpaste, soap, and shampoo does each of you use?
  • Do either of you read or watch television before going to sleep? Do you have lamps next to your bed?
  • Have you ever had an argument that resulted in one of you sleeping in another room? Who, and which room?


The Rest of the House

  • Do you live in a home or apartment? Who pays the mortgage or rent? How much is it?
  • Is there a carpet in your front hallway? What color? Is your sofa a regular one or does it have a pull-out bed?
  • Have you ever had houseguests sleep there?
  • What type of curtains or window coverings are in your living room? What color?
  • How many staircases are in your house?
  • How many sinks, toilets, and showers are there in your house or apartment in total?
  • Do you leave any lights on when you go to sleep at night?



  • When is your spouse’s birthday?
  • What did you do for your spouse’s last birthday?
  • How did you celebrate your most recent wedding anniversary?
  • What religious holidays do you celebrate together?
  • What’s the most important holiday of the year in your household? Where do you typically celebrate it?
  • Have you and your spouse gone to see a movie or other form of entertainment lately? When, and what did you see?
  • What did the two of you do last New Year’s Eve? Fourth of July?


The key for successfully representing clients in marriage-based green card cases is to properly submit the marriage petition and related forms and preparing the clients very carefully so that there are no hidden surprises at the interview. 


Please feel free to contact The Law Offices of Michael H. Markovitch if you have any questions or would like to schedule an in-person, Skype or telephonic consultation.

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