Will USCIS visit us at home?
May 4, 2007 4:43 PM   Subscribe

I'm a 2 Year Green Card holder married to a US citizen (I came on a K1 Visa). Now we're filing I-751 - Removal of conditions on permanent residency. Will USCIS visit us at home to see if there's

I came to the US to be with my wife two and a half years ago on a K1 fiancee visa, and now have a 2 year conditional Green Card. The card expires in 90 days, and we're filing to have the conditions removed and get my 10 year Green Card. We are familiar with the process, have all our ducks in a row and papers in order, and know there may be an interview. Our question is whether USCIS will/may visit us at home without warning.

I read a couple of immigration newsgroups and I don't see any discussion of the possibility of a surprise 'marriage proving' home visit. However, I do see the odd anecdote, often almost in passing. I can't find anything to point to right now, but a poster will say something like "He was very nice, as was the gentleman who came to our house without notice early one morning to check we were really married..." I'm worried this is common, as the rare, scary stuff that happens to folks gets discussed ad infinitum.

So how likely is this? Our marriage is totally, awesomely genuine, but that doesn't mean we have nothing to hide! We don't have kids and tend to leave porn and various interesting sex related items around. I don't know exactly where 'passionately married' stops for USCIS and 'bad moral character' begins. Some of these items might also be 'gender non-traditional'. Please don't say 'why not just hide the porn?' unless you think it is likely they will come; I'm not going to sanitize our lives for a year plus unless I have to. I also work away from home often, potentially for a week or two at a time. I know that's not going to look so good to a marriage inspector. So does this really happen? What will they do if they come?

I would also love to hear I-751 interview experiences, but I guess that's straying into chatfilter...

Please respect that I have legitimate reasons for posting this anonymously (that are not fully covered above) and we are NOT trying in any way to defraud the immigration process.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
FWIW They didn't visit us, or even interview us, though they took an age in processing it. I was a bit disapointed really, I was hoping to get grilled on what colour toothbrush my wife uses etc... as per the movies. I'm just guessing here, but given the immense backlogues these guys always have I'm thinking unnanounced housecalls are probably a bit unlikely.
posted by Artw at 5:07 PM on May 4, 2007

My friend Theresa was visited - by surprise, twice within one week - in a process that took more than a year, but was never visited again afterwards, despite having a "bad feeling" about the visits. Her husband was approved and is now a citizen. Oddly, she married a UK guy. (I'd have assumed that they'd be more suspicious of those marrying people from wildly different cultures.)

I have another friend (also from the UK) who was called in for interviews three times (but never visited) and the interviews were pretty intimidating and "personal," despite photodocumentation of a huge, expensive wedding and the fact that he and his American wife dated for two years before marrying. But he was successful too.

A Brazilian friend was visited and ultimately denied, but the marriage *was* fraudulent (he was trying to avoid military service) and he ultimately went home. He and his 'friend' (they weren't ever a couple) were fairly careful - but obviously not careful enough - and didn't think the validity of their marriage would be questioned too much. It was!

That "toothbrush" question is a classic - personally, I think it's *more* bizarre if you know your partner's toothbrush color than if you don't. I know where my toothbrush is and I use it often, but off the top of my head, I can't recall the color.

But to get back to the question - if you don't have really compelling "evidence" that your marriage is real, there's a good chance you'll get a visit. Putting away the porn seems a small price to pay, considering - especially if the porn and sex toys would raise questions about things.

I think big factors include your age(s), nationality and location within the US. Why don't you provide these (in general, if you're worried about being identified) and I'll ask around . . .
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 5:25 PM on May 4, 2007

My understanding is that home visits are very rare. Like they're not short staffed enough as it is? Unless you've given USCIS good reason to be suspicious, I very much doubt you'd get a visit. Worst thing about I-751 is how long it takes them to get around to processing it. They took over two years on mine.

My I-751 Interview, more or less:
"Do you swear everything stated on the form is correct?"
"Still married?"
"Still at [address]?"
"OK, thanks."
posted by normy at 5:53 PM on May 4, 2007

We were approved without an interview. No kids. Both of us are on the lease here, we have joint financial stuff, and she gets her health insurance through my work.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:40 PM on May 4, 2007

My sister and her husband are going through this. They have been told by their attorneys that interracial couples routinely, as a matter of policy, receive much higher levels of scrutiny than same race couples, and they (an interracial couple) have been subjected to multiple interviews, extra screenings, etc. that other couples haven't gone through. If you're an interracial couple, you may find the process more difficult than same race couples do, so you may want to take extra precautions, whatever that means in your life.
posted by decathecting at 7:43 PM on May 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

Never heard of being visited at home, I think it's just movie BS. We are waiting on my wife's permanent greencard right now - did biometrics little over a month ago. Doubt we will be called to interview. We interviewed for the 2 year conditional and they just had us swear we were legit and the guy took a wedding photo of ours for the file. Like you, we always have all our ducks in a row. Nothing I've ever read in USCIS info says anything about potential surprise visits but movies like to stretch the truth. Not once have I ever heard anyone say they were visited - just questions like yours that they heard someone say or ask on a newsgroup etc but never first hand experience and I'm gonna call BS on that little myth.

Good luck to you guys though!
posted by clanger at 8:06 PM on May 4, 2007

Our attorney has told us that we'll probably not be interviewed when my wife comes up for hers in a little over 8 months. I would imagine you will fall under the same thing, but as people have pointed out, it does happen. I, myself, tend to discount anything that isn't' sworn first-hand knowledge. While I know that DHS is not the best group of people in gov't, I have never heard anyone say anything about their experience that involved a real, honest to god horror story unless they were trying to 1) enter into a sham marriage, or 2)had some serious problems like criminal records or being from a terrorist watch-list country.

I want to say, though, thank you for reminding me to re-check my dates on my calendar regarding this, and how cool it is that we've got so many people on here who have either gone through this or are going to go through this. Makes me feel better and not so much like a freak for falling in love with a foreigner.
posted by plaidrabbit at 9:33 PM on May 4, 2007

We were also approved for the I-751 without an interview. I think the trick was submitting TONS of paperwork with the application. Like about an inch and a half of copies of bank statements, bills, credit card statements -- everything we could find that had both of our names on it. Piece of cake. Good thing, since I don't even know what color MY toothbrush is.
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 2:45 AM on May 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

normy has it correct. I asked the interviewer during my wife's interview and he told us point blank that we would never see anyone at our home and that only the super suspicious couples get that kind of scrutiny. They are massively under-staffed and can't comb through every case.

Good luck, but I doubt you'll need it.
posted by wile e at 5:53 AM on May 5, 2007

I went through this too, as have many of my friends. It took forever, that's true, but none of us had a surprise visit. It was honestly something I'd never even heard of until this question.

In my case, they just interviewed us separately, for about 15 minutes each, with some very detailed questions about things like where we met and about each other's families. In itself, reading normy's response, that would seem to be more in-depth than some people.

I wouldn't worry too much unless there is something else that would raise a red flag.
posted by gemmy at 10:24 AM on May 5, 2007

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