After you send your family-based adjustment of status application packet to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency will eventually schedule you for an in-person interview. This interview take place at one of its local offices, hopefully near where you live.
In the best of times, that interview can take months to schedule. What's more, following the March 2020 start of the COVID-19 epidemic, USCIS closed its offices to all in-person interviews. Even after they reopen, you can expect long waits as the agency catches up; and possible changes in procedures to minimize personal contact.
If the adjustment interview goes well—your family relationship is obviously the real deal, you don’t fall into any of the grounds for inadmissibility, and your documents are in order—the interview can take as little as 20 minutes.
The appointment notice will tell you what to bring, so read it carefully for details. For example, you will be asked to bring a photo identity card such as a driver's license.
Also read what the USCIS appointment notice says about who to bring—your U.S. petitioner might or might not be required to attend (but definitely will if it's a marriage-based case). You can bring an attorney to represent you, if you wish. You, not your attorney, will have to answer the questions, however. Your attorney's role will simply be to discuss any legal issues and perhaps clear up procedural misunderstandings.
USCIS does not provide interpreters at adjustment of status interviews in the United States. A few of its officers speak Spanish or some other language, but you cannot count on getting a bilingual officer, nor can you request one.
If unsure of your ability to understand questions and express yourself in English, by all means bring a friend or hire an interpreter to help. Even if your petitioning U.S. family member is capable of interpreting for you, the USCIS officer might not allow this, particularly in a marriage-based case. Having all their questions go through the same person reduces their ability to compare your answers and detect marriage frauds.
The interpreter must be over the age of 18 and fluent in both your language and in English. Some USCIS officers also require that the interpreter be a legal resident or citizen of the United States. (Of course, a person in the U.S. illegally would be taking a huge risk by walking into a USCIS office.) Also see Rules for Bringing Interpreters to Immigration (USCIS) Interviews.
Thousands of different immigrating family members are normally interviewed each day across the United States. Regardless, these interviews tend to follow a pattern. Here’s what will probably happen at yours.
At the end of the interview, if you are approved, you will be given a letter stating this. The letter is just for your records and cannot be used like a green card to travel in and out of the United States.The officer might also ask you to turn in your work permit (EAD), on the basis of the fact that you are no longer an applicant for adjustment of status, but a permanent or conditional U.S. resident, such that your existing EAD is no longer valid. This should not interfere with your life much, however, because several weeks later, your actual green card will arrive by mail.
If you receive conditional residence (because your marriage was still less than two years old on the day USCIS approved you for residence), you will have to file an I-751 petition about 21 months from your approval date in order to progress to permanent residency.