The USCIS Home Visit: What to Expect and How to Prepare

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What To Do When an Immigration Officer Visits Your Address

It’s essential to know what a home visit from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) entails. Being ill-prepared and not knowing how to handle such a visit might ruin one’s chances at permanent residency or citizenship. Moreover, these visits help legitimize you in the eyes of the law.

Whether or not you are expecting a visit from the USCIS soon, this article hopes to be of immense help. Read on to learn about the basics of USCIS home visits. Its purpose, process, and preparations are outlined here, as well as your rights and what to do after a visit.

For more information and specific questions about immigration, contact Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law.

What Is a USCIS Home Visit?

Immigration officers from the USCIS may pay you a visit at home to verify certain things you declared in your application for a green card. If there is doubt as to your application, or there is substantial evidence of fraud or deliberate breaching of immigration law, home visits will also be conducted.

Home visits could also be conducted to verify the truthfulness of information presented during an interview. These site visits are routine and shouldn’t cause anyone alarm. 

If an immigration officer visits you, you should cooperate with them by providing them with any information or documentation they may require

Understanding USCIS Home Visits

The Purpose of Home Visits

A home visit from immigration authorities is one of the ways the USCIS conducts further investigation for marriage-based petitions. This is conducted before granting an adjustment of status petition. An administrative site visit is also usual in cases involving work-based immigration petitions. The home or site visit may be conducted before or after the petition is granted.

One of the quickest ways to become a green card holder is to marry a U.S. citizen. However, it can also be abused and fraudulent.

Some individuals marry U.S. citizens only to obtain immigration benefits. The American citizen may be doing the would-be immigrant a favor or are paid to proceed with the marriage. In certain instances, an immigration officer may suspect that a couple is committing marriage fraud even though they are genuinely in love. This is where home visits come into play.

If marriage fraud is suspected, the case may be forwarded to the USCIS’s Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) section. This usually entails visiting the couple’s home to verify their legitimacy after the USCIS interview.

The USCIS Home Visit Process

To verify details on an application for immigration benefits, the USCIS may pay a house visit. When making an unexpected site visit, FDNS officials will introduce themselves by giving their name and badge number. In immigration proceedings involving family members, this visit is standard procedure.

When conducting a home visit, USCIS agents will:

  • Ask permission before entering the house.

  • Inquire about the relationship.

  • Ask questions to ensure you are telling the truth.

  • Request to see certain rooms and spaces within the house.

  • Verify the lease’s validity.

  • Record their observations in writing.

  • View specific items within the home

  • Confirm that the couple is residing together.

  • Check the address.

  • Confirm your identity.

The USCIS may also:

  • Examine the applicant’s credit history.

  • Interview people associated with the applicant.

Your Rights During a Home Visit

In the event of a home visit by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS, you may:

  • Only respond to inquiries when an immigration lawyer is present.

  • Give your consulate a call.

  • Refuse the immigration officers’ entry to your house.

  • Obtain copies of all the records that pertain to your immigration case.

  • Refuse to respond to inquiries on your immigration status.

  • Refuse to present identification documents bearing your nationality.

  • Refuse to sign any documents before consulting your immigration lawyer.

  • Remain silent.

However, you have to exercise your rights respectfully. This is because you do not want to ruin your chances of immigrating by lack of cooperation. Remember that being resistant can harm your case, so proceed with caution.

Preparing for a USCIS Home Visit

Documentation and Evidence

During a home visit, it’s better if you’re ready to show the following when asked:

  • Marriage certificate

  • Adoption certificate

  • Birth certificate

  • Birth registration documents

  • DHS Arrival/Departure Record

  • Passport

  • Permanent Resident Card

  • Proof of family relationship

Make sure to keep all your needed documents in a place that is easy to reach. It will also help if your papers are arranged neatly. Proper storage for your documentation may ease the stress of a USCIS home visit.

Household Readiness

Expect immigration officers to do a lot of things during the interview. If you allow them, they might look through the entire house. They may also observe spaces where you eat, sleep, and where you keep your things. These are also known as “bed checks.” These are done to confirm that you are really living together as a couple. You can legally refuse, but suspicions may arise.

After the Visit: Next Steps

To identify any signs of fraud or noncompliance, USCIS will examine an officer’s Compliance Review Report. In that case, the FDNS will forward the matter to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for an investigation.

The USCIS takes three to four months to assess an application fully. The agency could need more time if any paperwork is missing or some things need to be sorted.

If any discrepancies are found, your application could be rejected. If the USCIS denies an appeal, you may have to correct a mistake before you can apply again.

You must complete and submit these papers to the USCIS. Usually, you will visit the USCIS field office closest to your location for your scheduled biometrics appointment or interview. For example, if you are in Texas, the nearest office to you might be the USCIS office in Dallas or San Antonio.

What To Do If Issues Arise

In case of disputes or misunderstandings arising from a USCIS home visit, it may be best to speak with an immigration attorney. Trying to resolve things on your own might exacerbate issues. On the other hand, an immigration lawyer would act in your best interest. Do some research to find an attorney who will fight for your rights to the end.

In Texas, it is best to contact the USCIS office in San Antonio or Dallas. You can obtain additional information by visiting a USCIS office, especially if you run into trouble.

Reach Out To an Experienced Immigration Attorney For Help

Preparing for a USCIS home visit is essential in your path toward becoming a green card holder. If things go awry, you may need more help to set things right.

We at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, are happy to assist our clients with immigration matters. Our goal is to help clients obtain legal status by skillfully navigating the difficult U.S. immigration system.

To speak with a competent and compassionate immigration lawyer, contact us to schedule a free consultation!