Immigration Interview Do's and Don'ts
Dealing with immigration law can be challenging, particularly with essential steps such as visa interviews. During this process, the applicant will come face to face with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer. The interview will dramatically impact the visa application's success.
Although not all immigration applications require an immigration interview, most of them do. The following immigration processes ask an applicant to attend an interview:
- Application for lawful permanent resident (LPR) or green card application
- Adjustment of status
- Application for U.S. citizenship or Naturalization
- Family-based immigration petition
The Office of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services usually conducts the immigration interview process. Whether it's a marriage-based green card interview or any other type of visa interview, it is always best to come well-prepared.
Knowledge of the application process will also help give you an idea of what may happen. It's important to remember that the interview process could also depend on the personality of the immigration officer. The USCIS officer will evaluate your eligibility based on various factors which include your personal background, immigration history, and other details relevant to your application process.
The USCIS officer may also examine your medical history and/or criminal records, affecting your visa application's outcome. For marriage-based green card interviews, USCIS officers will examine whether the marriage was bona fide. Being prepared will help make the USCIS interview more favorable.
It is the USCIS official's job to determine whether there is anything about your background or present circumstances that may preclude you from obtaining immigration status.
Do prepare for the meeting. Bring copies of all your forms along with their corresponding original documents. You should be able to respond to interview questions about your forms without extensive referencing and confusion.
DO be prepared to answer personal questions if you are at an interview related to your marriage-based green card interview.
DO follow the directions at the notice provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. It is essential to review the notice sent to you. Use the notice as a checklist of required documents you should bring to the USCIS office during the interview.
DO listen carefully and answer only the question that the officer asks you.
DO bring an interpreter with you if you do not understand English.
DO dress appropriately for the occasion. Remember that first impressions matter. This principle applies during the interview with a USCIS officer.
DO remain calm. If you don't understand the question, ask the officer to rephrase it. If you do not know the answer, admitting ignorance is better than making something up. It also helps to be prepared. If you know there is a part of your application that will raise suspicion, practice a truthful response.
DO show up on time. USCIS officers are notoriously difficult to reach. Requesting to reschedule or change the interview times may be challenging. USCIS offices are often busy, which could cause a delay in your immigration process. If you fail to attend your appointment, you may have to endure a lengthy process to get another interview.
DO hire an immigration lawyer to accompany you if going through an interview alone is too overwhelming.
DON'T joke around with the USCIS officer. In particular, avoid joking or sarcasm about drug dealing, communicable diseases, bigamy, or smuggling people into the country.
DON'T argue with your spouse or other family members during an interview. Agree beforehand on what you will do if a disagreement arises during the interview.
DON'T argue with the USCIS officer. If the USCIS officer says part of your application is incomplete, ask for an explanation and attempt to remedy the situation using the documents and forms you brought.
DON'T lose your patience with the USCIS officer and refuse to answer questions. Questions that may seem inappropriate or unimportant to you could be within the boundaries of what USCIS policy allows. Be patient and try to stay calm throughout the process.
DON'T lie to the USCIS officer. If you feel you have something difficult to explain, hire an attorney. Your attorney should be able to defuse difficult situations during an interview.
Get in Touch with an Attorney to Learn More About Immigration Interviews
While immigration interviews can be stressful, you don't have to face the interview alone. You can contact an immigration lawyer who can assist you with processing your immigration case. They can provide you with valuable legal advice. It is crucial to seek legal help, particularly for those processing their immigrant visa through consular processing in a U.S. embassy or other U.S. government offices such as the National Visa Center.
Immigration attorneys can also assist in collecting the documents for your interview date. For instance, some interviews may require the applicant to bring an affidavit of support or a copy of the medical exam. Due to these varying requirements, it is best to seek legal assistance from an immigration lawyer. They can help you process your immigration application and attain the peace of mind you need as you go through this daunting process.
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