Adjustment of Status (I-485) Interview
For most people applying for adjustment of status, the interview is waived, but in some cases, they are called for an interview.

If your interview is waived and your case is adjudicated then you will get the approval letter from the USCIS office handling your case. You can go to your local USCIS Office and get your passport(s) stamped. You need to take all the I-94s & EAD Cards when you go. Getting I-485 approval does not really make you a permanent resident until you get your passport stamped with temporary green card. If your case is already approved, the tamping procedure is purely clerical and there is no decision making involved.

Sample approval letter

If you are called for an interview, you should preferably take your attorney with you to the interview, which is conducted at the local USCIS Office. You need to take all the I-94s & EAD Cards when you go.

The purpose of the interview is to make sure that all the documentation in the application is correct (change the address if the applicant has moved etc.) and correct it if isn't. If any other unintentional mistakes are discovered, they may be corrected at this time.

Review all your paperwork before the interview. Review the questions and answers on all the forms and documents that you and your sponsor have submitted so far. Review the dates of your visits to different places, the financial figures, and your immigration history. If there have been any changes or if you have noticed any errors since filing out the forms previously, be prepared to explain the changes and provide documents confirming the new information, as appropriate.

Dress neatly, professionally, and even conservatively. Don't wear T-shirts or jewelry with slogans or symbols that might make the officer wonder about your lifestyle or morals. However, don't overdo like wearing a tie covered with American flags or keep making comments about how great USA is, how you would be a member of a great society.

Take your passport to the interview as your green card will be stamped in the passport and it is also required as photo identification.

Carry the originals of the documents you used to enter the U.S., and any other documents you have received from the U.S. consulate or USCIS such as Advance Parole. If you have mailed copies of documents to USCIS such as marriage and birth certificates, carry the originals.

If anything important in your life has changed since filing the adjustment of status application, bring appropriate documentation. If you or your spouse have a new or different job, bring a new employment letter and copies of recent pay stubs. If a tax year has passed, bring a copy of your latest tax returns or IRS transcript. Even if nothing has changed, it is recommended to bring latest pay stub to prove that you are financially stable.

In case you are going for an interview for marriage based green card, and if you and your spouse have reached the 2-year anniversary of your marriage since filing the application, make sure to remind the officer so that you will be stamped for permanent and not conditional residency.

On the day of the appointment, reach the place 15 minutes early. You will have to go through security check similar to the one at the airport. You will be asked to sit in the waiting room. You may have to wait for a long time. Interviews are held in the offices of USCIS officers that are quite similar to any office cubicles (unlike the bullet proof windows at the consulate). The interviewing officer will call you by name. Once at the officer's desk, your identification will be checked. Everyone attending the interview (you, your spouse in case of marriage based green card and your interpreter if any) will have to stand up, raise your right hands and take oaths to tell the truth.

The officer might want to satisfy himself/herself by asking some questions or asking for some documents. If you don't know the answer or don't remember something, say so rather than guess the answer. Your medical and fingerprints will also be reviewed to determine whether you are ineligible for the green card. For an employment based green card, he/she may want to check the job opportunity for which this green card was filed is still available, the person is still admittable to the U.S. as permanent resident, maintenance of lawful non-immigrant status etc. He/she may also ask for recent pay stubs, tax returns etc.

At the end of the interview, the officer will place a temporary "green card" stamp (I-551) in the applicant's passport. This stamp is the equivalent of the permanent "green card" and is given to new residents so that they may travel immediately and not have to wait until the permanent card arrives in the mail few months later. Permanent green card looks just like driver's license or credit card.

If any documents are missing/incorrect, the officer will ask you to get those, and mail them within a specified time and then hopefully the green card would be issued after that. Applications are rarely denied on the spot.

You should not postpone the green card interview until your dependents can join you. It may take a long time to get another interview and dependents may be refused visa/admittance into the U.S. if they are arriving merely to adjust status.

Interpreter
If you are not comfortable in English, you need to bring a friend, relative or hire an interpreter to help. The interpreter must be over 18 and fluent in both your language and English. The interpreter must be a legal resident or U.S. citizen.

Interpreter is not provided by USCIS at the interview in the U.S. Even though some officers may speak either Spanish or other languages, you may not get such officer and you can't request one.

For a marriage based green card interview, your spouse won't be allowed to be an interpreter as it reduces USCIS's ability to compare the answers and detect marriage frauds.

Marriage Based Green Card
The U.S. sponsor spouse should carry photo identification such as driver's license or passport and proof of legal status such as a birth certificate, naturalization certificate, passport, permanent resident status (a plastic green card or the stamp in the passport).

If you have common children, USCIS is much less likely to question whether your marriage is bona fide. You will be approved for permanent residence or conditional residence (if you have been married for less than 2 years or entered the U.S. on a fiance visa.)

You may be asked questions about your married life such as where you met, when and why you decided to get married, how many people attended your wedding, or what you did on your most recent birthday or night out. You should be ready to back up your answers with documents that illustrate bona fide marriage, such as rental agreements, joint utility bills etc.

Bona fide marriage documentation

If the officer suspects that your marriage is fraudulent, you will be meeting the fraud unit. An officer will interview you and your spouse separately and intensively. The officer will compare the results of your two interviews. Sometimes, truly married couples also get suspected because of their personal characteristics or lifestyle and may have to go through fraud interview. People who do not seem to share a common language, have large differences in age, class, cultural, religion, educational background or who don't live at the same address may be called for fraud interview.

Fraud interview details

If you have serious marriage problems, you can mention them and the detailed steps you are taking to deal with them such as meeting with a marriage counselor or religious leader on a regular basis. In some cases, it can be a strong evidence of a real, bona fide marriage. If the officer is not satisfied with that, request that your interview be rescheduled and reappear with an attorney.

If you have received a court ordered legal separation or filed for divorce, your green card will most likely be rejected.
Exception: If your U.S. spouse is abusive (physical or emotional cruelty), you may be able to file a self-petition on Form I-360 even if you are divorced. You must file I-360 before the final divorce, or within 2 years of the final decree if you can prove that the divorce was connected to the abuse. You don't need your U.S. spouse's help or signature or any support any more in such cases.