For some immigration matters, you may be called to sit down for an interview conducted by an official of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS). While these interviews may be sources of stress and anxiety (especially if you are not fully fluent in English), if you take some time to prepare for them and follow the tips laid out in this blog (and the upcoming second and third parts of this blog), you can ensure that your immigration interview will go as smoothly as possible and, in turn, that your immigration case can be resolved as favorably and efficiently as possible.
Immigration Interview Tips: What Not to Do During Interviews
The following is a list of some things that you should avoid doing when you sit down for a formal interview with a USCIS officer. While avoiding doing the following things can help you reduce the chances that your case will be unnecessarily delayed, it can also minimize the chances that your application (for permanent residency, a visa, etc.) will be denied or rejected altogether.
During the immigration interview, AVOID or REFRAIN from:
- Making jokes – Your immigration interview is a very serious matter. While jokes can be misinterpreted as you not taking this interview or the entire process seriously, in the worst cases, they can lead to USCIS thinking that you may be involved in criminal behaviors (such as if, for instance, you joke about smuggling drugs or people into the U.S.).
- Being argumentative or overly aggressive – While means that you do your best to not argue with your partner and/or family members during an immigration interview, it also means that you should avoid at all costs arguing or being aggressive with the USCIS officer who is conducting the interview. If a disagreement arises, do your best to stay calm, try to use the documents you have to back up your claims or refer the matter to your attorney.
- Lying – Lying about your criminal background, your intentions for coming into the U.S. or anything else on your application/immigration documents can be grounds for an immediate denial of your requested status change; in fact, depending on what you have lied about, it could permanently bar you from ever being able to get the status change you are seeking.Therefore, do your best to honest about everything the USCIS officer asks you; if you are unsure of answer, do not be afraid to say that you don’t know and that you will consult a lawyer to help you clarify the answer.
When you sit down with a USCIS agent, you SHOULD:
- Bring all of your immigration documents – The USCIS official will likely ask you a series of questions, and you may need show these documents to the official to back up your answers (or simply to refer to clarify your answers). Having these documents on hand to reference can help the process run smoothly, will show that you are serious about this interview and your requested status change and ultimately can help reduce the chances that your immigration matters will be delayed.
- Be ready to answer some personal questions – This is especially true if your requested status change involves a fiancé visa or other family matters. While you may be sensitive to such questions, it’s important that you remember that the more honest you are in providing answers, the more smoothly your interview will go.
- Be prepared to sit down for the interview one-on-one – In some cases, USCIS officials may request to interview you separate from your family members, your fiancé, etc. When this is the case, be ready to comply with these requests, and be honest when you are asked questions regarding your relationships to others and your intentions for the requested status change.
- Remain calm and collected – Although you may be nervous, anxious or stressed out about sitting down for the immigration interview with the USCIS agent, do your best to stay calm, not get agitated by any questions you are asked and provide honest answers. Your demeanor can go a long way to the USCIS agent’s impression of your honesty and intentions, so don’t sabotage yourself by being aggressive or doing anything that may make you look suspicious or untrustworthy.
- Be on time to the interview – Showing up late for a USCIS immigration interview can start off the process on a negative foot and may put you in an agitated or anxious state of mind before the interview even starts. To make sure you are on time to the interview, it’s a good idea to plan to be at the designated interview location about 30 minutes ahead of time. That way, you will be prepared and calm when it’s time for your interview.
- Bring an interpreter if you may need one – If you, your spouse, your fiancé or your family members are not fluent in English, be prepared by bringing an interpreter with you to the immigration interview. This will help the whole interview process run as smoothly as possible; it can also give the USCIS official the impression that you are serious about your requested status change and that you are prepared to answers his or her questions.
- Bring your immigration attorney to facilitate the interview – Ultimately, one of the smartest things you can do to prepare for a USCIS immigration interview is to bring an experienced immigration lawyer with you to facilitate the interview. Having a lawyer there to help you answer questions (and to help you prepare for the interview beforehand) will give you optimal chances of achieving the best possible outcome to your immigration matters in the most efficient manner possible.
Los Angeles, California Immigration Lawyers at the Hanlon Law Group, P.C.
At the Hanlon Law Group, P.C., our Los Angeles immigration attorneys have more than 15 years of experience successfully representing clients in various types of immigration cases, including those that involve the most basic immigration applications to those associated with extremely complicated federal court litigation.
To learn more about our citizenship, immigration and deportation defense services contact our Los Angeles immigration attorneys today by calling (626) 765-4641 or (866) 489-7612 or by emailing us using the form at the upper right-hand side of the screen. From our office in Pasadena, we serve clients throughout the Los Angeles area, across the state of California and from around the world.
We offer free, confidential initial consultations to provide potential clients with expert advice regarding their immigration law needs. Additionally, we are able to provide immigration legal services in various languages, including in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Bahasa Indonesian, Tagalog and Fukienese.