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EB1A interview experience

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Posted by helsin05 (26) 14 Dec 2017#1
I did not find any specific thread for people's experience with their EB1A interviews, so thought of creating this new thread. All the EB1A applicants who have already gone through the interview phase, we would greatly appreciate if you would please post your interview experience here. It will be huge help to other EB1A applications like me who are now scheduled for I-485 interviews.

Thanks a lot in advance.
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Posted by a1be (69) 14 Dec 2017#2
to helsin05:

I'm sure this will be fairly standard, and I wouldn't be worried about it at all. If you're an expert, be confident in what you know.

Have you actually been scheduled for an interview? If so, what's the date (roughly)?

My case was received Jan 11th 2017 at Nebraska and I'm still waiting for approval. Worried about medicals, and I really don't want to have to shell out another $600 ($300 each for myself and dependent).
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Posted by NickLove (34) 14 Dec 2017#3
to helsin05:

Certainly, it would be very helpful! Especially to hear from those people who don't work for a particular employer like musicians, artists etc.
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Posted by Barley1 (104) 14 Dec 2017#4
to helsin05:

Good thread. I was about to start the same today. I am scheduled for interview on Jan 11th.
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Posted by helsin05 (26) 14 Dec 2017#5
to Barley1:

Mine is scheduled for January 3rd. Hoping to hear what others have to say about the kind of questions they were asked during the interview.
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Posted by NiluB (64) 14 Dec 2017#6
to helsin05:

Thanks for creating the thread, my interview is for Jan 3rd at the SF field office.
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Posted by Barley1 (104) 21 Dec 2017#7
Any updates Guys?
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Posted by june82 (29) 23 Dec 2017#8
to Barley1:

Any idea on Form I-864 for the interview. EB1-A are applications independent of the employer. Do we need to provide this?
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Posted by june82 (29) 23 Dec 2017#9
to helsin05:

Thanks for the tread. Mine on Jan 8 at NYC office and I created similar threads but no responses. Considering the long, frustrating wait times, no one really wants to come back to this website once the interview is over.

From what I found so far, EB1-A interviews are staring forward. Merely verification of identity and employment status.
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Posted by NiluB (64) 09 Jan 2018#10
to june82:

Sharing my interview experience at the SF field office:

EB1A India (primary + derivative beneficiary)
I-485 RD: 04/10/2017
EAD/AP: 06/15/2017
Transfer to NBC: 10/26/2017
Interview notice date: 11/28/2017
Local office: San Francisco, CA
Interview date: 01/02/2018
Approval Notice: 01/02/2018 (received: 01/08/2018)
Card received: 01/09/2018 (mailed: 01/05/2018)

The officer called our names and escorted us together to her office. Before I describe my experience, I want to mention that the USCIS officer interviewing us was super nice. In general, all officers at the SF office seemed very polite – something I noticed while waiting as officers were personally coming to everyone to where they were seated and welcoming them. Honestly, I expected more stern professionalism, similar to what I experienced at visa interviews by consular officers.

It started off by us taking the oath and signing a waiver that our lawyer would not be attending the interview. She had our entire file with her on the desk – like all of ~400 pages of the EB1A petition, but she had it opened at the very end, specifically at my I485. She started the conversation on a very friendly note, asking what we did for the Holidays – we didn’t do anything, to that she said ‘I bet that you cancelled your plans for this interview’ (which is true actually!) and then added ‘at least you are going to start the New Year by taking care of this paperwork.’

Then she confirmed ALL information in the submitted I-485 and G-325A, some cases she asked us for the info (what it is your date of birth?), other cases she confirmed the info provided (so, I see that you were married on XXX, is that correct?). She did this to both me and my spouse; my spouse had a new job, so she updated her form as well. Then she asked a few questions about my position, my fellowship, how long it will last, what do I like most about my job, etc. and some related discussion ensued. Finally, she asked some of the YES/NO questions from I-485 – this was done together with my spouse, she would ask one question and wait for the both of us to respond. For one question, “were you ever arrested, incarcerated, ‘cited’, etc...?”, before I answered, I clarified if parking citations are counted, and she smiled and said ‘no, only real stuff’.

We had carried a bunch of photos, which the officer went through, she asked a few questions about our parents, our wedding, honeymoon, and the trips we have taken since. Want to specify that this was not intimidating at all. She seemed genuinely interested in Bengali wedding rituals, food, people, etc. At the end, she selected a couple of pictures from the lot (interestingly, the ones where our parents and family were present) to keep with our file (asked first, if we had copies and wouldn’t mind her taking them).

Then she requested documents showing bona fide marriage; we were carrying a hell lot of stuff like joint tax returns, joint credit card statements, joint car loan, joint car registration, joint car/renter’s insurance, leases going back 4 years, etc. – She was clearly impressed and said that this is a lot, while she normally wouldn’t take all of them, just because we cared to make copies for everything, she would keep them in our file. Actually, we started off by giving her our marriage license, but she said that she already has that one (submitted with our petition).

After all these, she spent a good 10 min rifling through our file, looked at her computer a bunch of times, in between confirmed our SSN, Alien regn, and DOB once more - if I have to guess, she was making sure that we both have received proper security clearances. Then she asked if we were aware if our priority dates are current (also added that it should be for EB1); in any case, we were carrying the Jan 2018 visa bulletin. At the end she said that as of today you are both permanent residents; H1b, I94, etc. will be automatically cancelled, and from now on, we would only need our passports and perm resident cards to travel. Also, we should receive an approval notice later this week or early next week and the physical cards in 2-3 weeks. That was it.

In reality, we received the approval notice on 01/08/2018 and the physical cards on 01/09/2018 (all within 7 days).

Here are some specific pointers for the interview that I gathered (disclaimer: please don’t consider any of this as legal advice):

1. Be truthful. If you have any doubts, clarify with the officer and do not hesitate to ask questions – they will have everything on you with them anyway. For example, I-485 asks for any membership, etc. – I had initially reported one organization in the form. During the interview, she asked about any additional organizations I am/was part of; I clarified that I am a fellow of another organization and went over the details and the nature of my association – she accepted that it does not need to be in the list. But she seemed happy that I clarified with her.

2. Be organized. My spouse did an excellent job of assembling everything we carried with us. We also made sure to carry photocopies for every original document (with all relevant info highlighted). This helped immensely – we were able to produce anything the officer asked within seconds and she did not have to leave her seat even to copy anything. This also rubbed positively with the officer and several times she mentioned that she is going to keep stuff in her file, just because we cared to make copies for her.

3. It would not come as news to anyone that EB AOS interviews are a new thing for field officers and will likely remain so for the next few months. So, be prepared to face questions and carry supporting documents to establish bona fide marriage, i.e. generally prepare as if this is a FB AOS interview (we did that and it helped). In any case, for the spouse, even for EB cases the eligibility is still based on marriage, so related questions are fair game. There is a ton of material on the internet regarding this, including hundreds of YouTube videos to help out. Also carry photos of major life events, some should preferably be those with family.

4. For the primary applicant, specifically EB1 cases, prepare a 5-10 sentence lay audience summary of your work and what makes it extraordinary. While this was not directly asked, it sort of came out during the conversation. I assume the same should be true for EB2, 3 cases as well, be prepared to answer questions that makes you eligible for the underlying I140. Also, be prepared to answer questions related to continued engagement in the field of extraordinary ability – this may be specific for EB1. Again, while not directly asked, however, during the conversation, it generally came out what I am currently working on, challenges I face, my future plans, etc. I was also carrying copies of my recent publications, reviews, employment verification letter, etc... everything that happened after I140 submission, but goes to show that I am still working in the same field.

If your spouse is employed, she should also be prepared to talk about her job, duties, etc.; the interviewer asked a few related questions to my wife, however, they may simply be out of curiosity.

5. I have seen a lot of people ask this: is there a dress code? No, there isn’t, but I have read it in many places that one should dress appropriately for this. No need to wear full formals, but it is necessary to come off as respectful in your attire and grooming.

6. Know your petition well. This is true for both the I140 and 1485 - know exactly which documents were submitted. I had to specifically request my lawyer to send a scanned copy of the final I140 for this.

7. Carry related documents such as Information related to I-864 and/or Suppl J. In my case, it being EB1A, they were not required, but our lawyer suggested we carry the official instructions to show the officer, if requested. We also carried the most recent DHS visa bulletin and did show it to the officer that our priority dates are current.

This forum has been very helpful throughout the process and I want to stay back a few more weeks to answer questions about my experience. Good luck everyone and Happy New Year!
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Posted by EB1Aartist (19) 10 Jan 2018#11
to NiluB:

thank you so much; this is such big help!
i wish you and your wife the most wonderful "green" life!! :)
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Posted by Pinnacle19 (18) 10 Jan 2018#12
Hi All,

I and my dependent had an interview in San Jose recently. Sharing my experience:

Background: EB1A/India

The officer came to collect us. She was a very respectful, great and jolly person. She had our files opened in her office. We started by oath. She then took our passports and DLs. She went through our visas, pausing at US visas. She then saw our EADs and took photocopies of EADs and DLs from us. She then told us that she would first verify my information and then my spouse's.

Step 1: My I-485 verification

Verbally verified all I-485 information, point by point. Updated the address, Last US entry and made a note that we don't have children. She took my updated I-94. She updated my address herself from my Interview notice.

Step 2: Few yes/no questions:

She asked few I-485 yes/no questions from me and dependent together.

Step 3: My G-325A verification

Again verbally confirmed all the information. Didn't ask random questions like parents DOB, only relevant. She added my latest address to the list of residencies. She then asked if my employment history is same. I told her that I have changed my employer. She asked me to add that employer to that list which I did (No questions on employer, roles, responsibilities or anything).

Step 4: My spouse's I-485 verification

Same as mine: verbally verified all information. Updated the address. She also updated my spouse's occupation from "Student" to "software engineer" as she had graduated and was now working.

Step 5: My spouse's G-325A verification:

Same as mine: verbally verifies all information. Added the latest address and employer in the appropriate lists.

Step 6: Marriage verification:

Asked to show the original marriage certificate. Then asked about our story where we told her how/when we met, proposed, got married. She was making a note while we were telling the story. She then asked if we wanted to submit any documents. So we gave her copies of joint insurances, registration of the co-owned car. She kept the copies. We also had photos - and she asked us to give any 5-6 that we would like to submit. So we gave a few including our first meet, with our parents and friends. We had written date, place and occasion at the back of the photos prior to the interview, so she took them as they were. She then happily saw the photos and kept them.

So documents asked:
- Original: passports, DLs, EADs, marriage certificate
- Copies: DLs, EADs, latest I-94, marriage documents

At the end, she gave us the standard sheet which had "held for review" checked, and told us that we would hear back soon. She then escorted us out.

Update:

Today (9th Jan) got 2 status updates for both of us:

In the afternoon: "Case has been approved"
In the evening: "Card Was Mailed To Me"
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Posted by Titalee16 (136) 10 Jan 2018#13
to NiluB:

Thanks for your detailed answer.Can you tell me what questions they asked to your wife specially about her work? What documents she took with her? Mine also new job. Can I take my salary slip?
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Posted by NiluB (64) 10 Jan 2018#14

Thanks for your detailed answer.Can you tell me what questions they asked to your wife specially about her work? What documents she took with her? Mine also new job. Can I take my salary slip?

to Titalee16:



Regarding my wife's work, the officer asked about the company, when she started, what she did, etc. The company is reasonably well known, but her division is new, so she asked about when they started, timeline for products, how many people work in her team, etc. - mostly generic questions. As for work related documents, she took salary statements (past 3 months), offer letter, and an updated HR support letter as proof of employment - though, none of these were requested.

Yes, you are supposed to take recent salary statements for the primary applicant - I took for the past 3 months. I tend to remember another person describing their EB1A interview experience getting some pointed questions about their new job (which was a startup and the officer was concerned that startups often don't make it for long, which may force them to change fields). Just be prepared to explain that you are in the same field of extraordinary ability, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
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Posted by eaton (128) 10 Jan 2018#15
to NiluB:

Did you get the approval notice from the Field office or NBC ?
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Posted by NiluB (64) 10 Jan 2018#16
to eaton:

NBC - I was surprised actually, thought that SF field office has jurisdiction over the case.
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Posted by eaton (128) 10 Jan 2018#17
to NiluB:

Thanks..congrats on your approval...
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Posted by omfprof (69) 10 Jan 2018#18
Hello everyone,
We did our 485 (EB1A) interview on January 4th at Houston and yesterday status changed to " Your interview for your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, Receipt Number SRC179XXXX, was completed, and your case must be reviewed. We will mail you a notice if we make a decision or take further action. While for my wife status has changed to "Name was updated". Guys do you have any idea what these status means? Did anyone out there receive similar online status. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks
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Posted by nirav8383 (33) 10 Jan 2018#19
Hey Guys,

Those who are waiting for the interview just hang in there. I have had my interview this morning in Greer, SC. It was very pleasant experience. The officer was extremely friendly and nice. Me and my wife were interviewed together despite of different scheduled times. Also, we were about 40 mins early, yet they took us in and our interview was over in less than 25 mins. Only thing officer asked me from me is explanation of name difference in my father’s first name (name alone Vs. name+kumar). I would suggest anyone with a similar situation, to make a notarized affidavit that both name alone vs. name+kumar etc. is the same. I am glad that I had that. He took that put it in the file and moved onto standard Yes/No questions. He said that there is quite a lot of back log for green card production, however after 1 hr. of interview, I got the update on both me and my wife’s status online “New Card Is Being Produced”. Does that mean I should receive the cards next week? Can anyone with similar status pitch in!

Nirav
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Posted by Barley1 (104) 11 Jan 2018#20
Guys,

We had our interviews today at Tampa. Waited for about 45 minutes from the interview time to be called in. I guess the Immigration officer review files before calling applicants. It was a good experience. All questions were related to I-485. Asked for employment letter, pay stubs and birth certificate. Asked my spouse for birth certificate and my son's birth certificate. Immigration officer was very nice and told us that everything looks complete and we will hear within 30-40 days. Therefore, we did not ask whether we are approved. I have now few followup questions:

1. How long will it take from now to get GC?
2. Do they update online status or directly send approval and card without online update (our status is still transfer to another office).

Thank you
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Posted by Pinnacle19 (18) 11 Jan 2018#21
Got both our GCs in the mail today :)

Thank you everyone!
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Posted by Barley1 (104) 13 Jan 2018#22
Guys,

Got an update today, "New card is being produced"

wait over except for the card.
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Posted by muthuTN (62) 13 Jan 2018#23
Very good information guys.

Is anyone raised a SR between "case transferred to NBC" to "case scheduled for interview" stage? I haven't heard anything after my case transferred to NBC.
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Posted by Barley1 (104) 13 Jan 2018#24
to muthuTN:

Yes, I raised an SR and it was assigned to an officer but after few days it was unassigned. I dont think raising SR will help at this point because they are almost there to finalize the case when it gets moved to NBC. The whole original packages i-140 and i-485 gets transferred to local office for interview. You will hear soon about your interview depending upon how busy the local office is. I hope this answers your query.
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Posted by muthuTN (62) 13 Jan 2018#25
to Barley1:

Thanks for the details, Barley1. Then, I will wait for my turn.
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