Immigration Interview: What To Do and What Not To Do

Many, but not all, immigration procedures require an interview with a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) official.

If you are prepared and do not raise suspicions, the immigration interview with the USCIS agent will be as pleasant as possible. Since the tone of each discussion depends on the personality of the USCIS immigration officer you meet with, it is virtually impossible to be fully prepared.

However, it is important to remember that it is up to the USCIS officer to determine any factors about you, your background, or your current circumstances that prevent you from obtaining the immigration status you want. The officer has a job to do and the law to follow.

TO DO

  • PREPARE for the meeting. Bring copies of all your forms and all original documents. You will need your permanent residence or green card (if you have one), your social security number, etc. You should be able to answer questions about your forms without taking too long and without a lot of confusion.
  • HIRE an immigration attorney to accompany you if the thought of going to the interview alone makes you too nervous.
  • BE PREPARED to answer personal questions if the interview relates to your marriage to a U.S. citizen.
  • FOLLOW all directions of the USCIS officer.
  • LISTEN carefully and answer only the question asked by the officer.
  • BRING an interpreter if you do not understand English.
  • DRESS appropriately for the occasion. It’s an important meeting, and it never hurts to make a good impression.
  • KEEP CALM. If you don’t understand the question, ask the officer to repeat it in another way. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it is better to admit ignorance than to make up the answer. It is also helpful to be prepared if you know that parts of your request may raise suspicions and practice an honest response.
  • BE ON TIME. USCIS officials are difficult to contact, and requests for changes to interview schedules do not make a good impression. If you do not show up for your appointment, you may have to go through a lengthy process to get another one.

WHAT NOT TO DO

  • DO NOT joke with the USCIS officer. Especially avoid jokes or sarcasm connected with the sale of drugs, contagious diseases, bigamy, or the illegal trafficking of people into the country.
  • DO NOT argue with your spouse or other family members in the middle of an interview. Agree in advance on what you will do if a disagreement arises during the interview.
  • DO NOT argue with the USCIS officer. If the USCIS officer says that part of your application is incomplete, ask for an explanation and try to remedy the situation using the documents and forms you have brought.
  • DO NOT lose patience with the USCIS officer and do not refuse to answer questions. Some questions may seem inappropriate or insignificant to you but are probably within the limits of USCIS policies. Remember what the reward is for completing the interview.
  • DO NOT lie to the USCIS officer. If you think there is something that would be difficult for you to explain, hire a lawyer. The lawyer will be able to handle difficult situations during an interview.

Speak to an Experienced Immigration Attorney Today

When it comes to immigration and whether you can live and work where you want, every detail matters. When the slightest paperwork error or missed deadline can mean years of delays, it is essential to do things right the first time. An experienced immigration lawyer can address your particular needs with immigration, and put you in the best position for a positive outcome. Take the first step now and contact a local immigration attorney to discuss your rights and specific situation.

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