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What Are Common Immigration Interview Questions?

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on May 30, 2022

During an immigration interview, an immigration officer will ask a variety of common questions, including those touching on topics such as personal information, relationships, family history, and military history. Knowing these common immigration interview questions may help you prepare answers to them and make the interview process smoother.

Preparing for Your Immigration Interview

All immigrants must go through an interview process before obtaining their green card or visa. Each interview will be different and involve U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers asking various questions. While it’s impossible to learn every question the officer will ask, some common immigration interview questions can help with preparing for your USCIS interview.

Depending on the interview and the interviewee, there are many questions that a USCIS officer might ask.

Common Immigration Interview Questions About Personal Information

The USCIS officer is likely to ask you a series of personal questions. These would largely consist of questions covering basic details about your identity and life. They may ask your spouse or fiancé these same questions before passing your K-1 visa interview or receiving a marriage-based green card.

Some of these questions may ask for details about your full name, country of origin, date of birth, and current place of residence. The officer may also ask about your daily routines, including how you begin your day and how you go through a typical day. Additionally, other questions may relate to certain personal needs, habits, and rituals. 

Other questions that the interviewer might ask include those regarding physical appearance. For instance, they may ask about your height and weight, along with your hair and eye color.

The officer may ask, “Do you want to become a U.S. citizen?” This would help determine the type of status the immigrant wants to obtain.

Common Immigration Interview Questions About Your Relationship

When entering the country based on marriage, or if you are married, the USCIS officer will likely ask about your spouse.

First, the officer will ask about your marital status to confirm if you have a spouse. The officer will then likely ask about the name of the spouse, along with details about your relationship with him or her. These questions may cover how you both met, the date and place you got married, who proposed before your marriage, and details about your wedding. 

The officer will also ask about the spouse’s personal information, such as their date of birth and country of origin. In addition, the officer may ask about the spouse’s occupation and place of employment. 

The goal of these questions is to gauge whether your relationship with your spouse is legitimate and not simply a means of getting a green card. Spouses need to be able to prove during the interview that they have a genuine relationship, which they may also support through documentation during the immigration process.

Common Immigration Interview Questions About Your Family History

The USCIS officer will also ask certain questions about the interviewee’s family history. 

If you have children, the officer will likely ask about them, including whether they’re your biological, step, or adopted children. They may want to know the children’s names, how many you have, and their current places of residence. 

Questions may also inquire about your parents, such as their names and citizenship status. The officer may also ask about when both parents got married.

Common Immigration Interview Questions About Your Military History

If you are serving or have served in the military, the officer will want to learn more about your military background. 

Questions in this area could cover which military you served in. For example, did you serve in the U.S. military or that of another country? The officer may then ask whether you ever deserted the U.S. military at any point or evaded the draft by leaving the country. They may also ask about when you started and ended your service.

If the interviewee is male, the officer may also ask about if and when the interviewee registered with the Selective Service. 

Common Immigration Interview Questions About Foreign Travel

The immigration officer may ask certain questions about any trips that interviewees may have taken outside the U.S. They may ask about which specific countries you have visited within a certain period, the length of your trips, and the date of the most recent trip. 

The reason for this is to determine whether the interviewee has visited any countries that possibly indicate bad intentions when entering the U.S. You may need to undergo more investigation if you visited a country that the U.S. government perceives as hostile.

Common Immigration Interview Questions About Legal History

The immigration officer will likely ask about your criminal record. Specifically, they may ask if you have ever committed a crime and if you’ve ever been under arrest. They may also ask about any connections with gangs, vigilante organizations, or police. 

If you have a criminal record, it’s important to disclose this information in Form I-485 before beginning the interview. 

Common Immigration Interview Questions About Ethics

Before passing an immigration interview, individuals must be able to show that they have personal ethics indicating that they wish to enter the country with the intent to remain lawful residents or citizens.

In the process, interviewers may ask whether you have ever falsely claimed to be a citizen of the U.S. Other questions may cover whether you’ve ever exhibited prejudice toward others based on ethnicity, gender, nationality, or other grounds. 

The immigration officer will also want to know whether interviewees promise to obey the laws in the U.S. and uphold the constitution. If you show that you plan to support the country and its government, this may go a long way in gaining the officer’s approval.

Prepare Answers for Common Immigration Interview Questions

When preparing for an immigration interview, it’s best to have answers prepared beforehand. By going through the different questions and knowing which answers to give, the interview process will likely go better. 

There are some specific steps that interviewees can take to make sure they do well during their interviews. These steps include:

  • Rehearse your answers — Individuals can rehearse their answers before the interview, potentially with family or friends. Practicing the interview beforehand can help calm the interviewee’s nerves leading up to the interview. While many may naturally be nervous ahead of their interview, staying calm and properly answering all questions will help with the process.
  • Remain honest — Interviewees must be honest during their interview and answer all questions truthfully. In some situations, interviewees may want to minimize certain aspects or otherwise modify their answers, but USCIS could discover if the individual lied at any point upon further investigation. 
  • Only answer relevant questions — If an interviewer makes the individual feel uncomfortable with answering certain questions, the interviewee may be able to decline to answer them. For example, the officer may ask a deeply personal question that won’t likely affect the results of the application. Officers should only ask necessary questions that help them understand the interviewee better.

Knowing the Questions in an Immigration Interview Will Help the Process

Taking some time to consider the common immigration interview questions may help you and other immigrants to sufficiently prepare. You may look at all the categories involved, including personal history, ethics, relationships, military history, and more to determine how best to answer them during the interview. This kind of preparation may help secure approval from USCIS and increase the chances of obtaining residency or citizenship in the U.S.