As you approach the two-year anniversary of your conditional green card status related to your marriage to a lawful permanent resident or citizen, you may have already submitted your petition for the removal of your conditional status. Those conditions were in place to assure the government you had not married just to obtain immigration privileges in the U.S.

If you have received a letter from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office telling you to report to the Nebraska fraud unit for an interview, you may be shocked. After all, you may have been expecting to have your interview waived or, at the very least, to be called for a regular interview as a formality. An interview with the fraud unit indicates that immigration officials suspect your marriage is not genuine, and you are at risk of deportation. This is a serious matter.

What can I expect?

Even if your marriage is true, you have much to fear if USCIS summons you for a fraud interrogation. Interviewers in this agency use tactics that are more severe than in regular interviews. For example, you and your spouse will go to separate rooms for questioning. Agents will then compare the answers you give to identical sets of questions. An agent may try to convince you that your spouse has already confessed to fraud or intimidate you into signing a confession by threatening jail or deportation.

If you have no reason to fear accusations of fraud because your marriage is genuine, you would do well to remain calm, to not lose your temper and reply respectfully to all questions. If you hear any questions for which you are unsure of the answer, you should not guess, but simply admit you do not know. If questioning turns to threats or intimidation, you have the right to stop the interview and request legal counsel.

How can I prepare for the interview?

Expect your interviewer to ask very personal questions about your marriage, including how your relationship developed, your wedding day, your respective families and your home life. If there are any irregularities in your relationship, be prepared to defend them and show documentation for them if necessary. For example, if you are separated, having corroboration from a marriage counselor would be helpful. If educational pursuits require you to live apart, bring documentation to prove this.

At any time in the process, from your first notification that your marriage is under question, you have the right to legal counsel. Seeking the advocacy and advice of an attorney may improve your chances of a positive outcome.