Immigration Interview Tips: Dos and Don’ts
You’ve prepared and submitted your application packet with the upmost care. You gathered every document (making sure each one was certified!), filled out every question, and organized the materials meticulously. You might have even garnished your packet with a nice cover letter or a table of contents.
Your case is now scheduled for an interview, and you’re feeling pretty confident. What could possibly go wrong? Here’s a few helpful Immigration Interview tips to help you prepare.
If you think that your immigration interview for Lawful Permanent Resident status or Citizenship is to merely “rubber stamp” your previous eloquent responses, you are in for an unpleasant surprise. In reality, your immigration interview is the government’s second chance to ask questions, request updated documents, and look for inconsistencies. Your performance during your Lawful Permanent Resident or Citizenship interview is just as important as your responses on your application.
Now that you know what to really expect, here are some immigration interview tips to assist you in succeeding at your interview:
√ DO: Bring a copy of your entire application and supporting documents, even if not requested on the interview notice. This will help you refer to your original responses when asked a question, reducing the chance of giving inconsistent answers.
⊗ DON’T: Provide information or documents to immigration that were not requested. Sometimes unnecessary elaboration will cause confusion or concern with immigration officials.
√ DO: Arrive 20-30 minutes early to allow time to pass through security and check in.
⊗ DON’T: Leave the area where numbers are being called. If you leave the waiting room and your case is called while you are gone, you might miss your interview.
√ DO: Bring a translator if you aren’t fluent in English. The interview will be entirely in English, and any misinterpretation as to the immigration officer’s questions or your responses could be fatal to your case. Understanding is key.
⊗ DON’T: Answer questions without being entirely sure what was asked. It is okay to ask the immigration officer to repeat the question. Take your time.
√ DO: Bring legal representation if you believe there is anything unique, confusing, or concerning about your case. An experienced immigration attorney can help keep the immigration officer in check, preserve a record of the interview by taking notes, and clarify any legal issues.
⊗ DON’T: Rely on your attorney to conduct the interview for you. An attorney’s role during your immigration interview is to provide protection and clarification – not to become the interviewee. Overreliance on your attorney during your interview tells your immigration officer you are unprepared or unsure of your own answers.
√ DO: Relax and clear your mind. Worrying will only diminish your focus. If you prepared for your interview, you are likely to do a good job.
Your level of preparation can make the difference between an approval or denial. Do not take your immigration interview lightly. If you have any doubts at all, contact an experienced immigration attorney in Palm Beach County. Attorney Casanova is an immigration attorney in Palm Beach County with years of experience in immigration interviews with USCIS, Customs and Border, and ICE. Moreover, her background in criminal law is an added bonus for those who seek an immigration benefit but suffer from a penal record.