When going to an interview with the local United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, you need to be prepared and prepared well. There are many important facts that the interviewers will carefully observe and take into account, and you as the interviewed party will have to be prepared for every occasion.
When we say every occasion, we mean it. Some answers may seem appropriate but are actually the worst things you can say during an interview. We have prepared a sort of guideline for the most important things to know when you are going to an interview with an immigration officer. Being prepared is very important so take some notes of all the points outlined below and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Important Tips To Help You Pass Your Immigration Interview
These are not the only tips we have, but some of the basics that you must keep in mind. If you’re going through the process of obtaining citizenship here in the United States.
Dress To Impress
The phrase “dress to impress” is not just for the models and public personas. Unfortunately, people judge the character of people largely based on their initial impression, which depends largely on the way they look and dress. So short skirts, shorts, and flip flops are in no way appropriate dress attire when going to your immigration interview. Instead, dress in formal wear, as the immigration interview is a very serious matter and your attire should be appropriate. Dressing in clothes that are clean and fit you nicely is key.
Be On Time
Tardiness is a negative trait, and you should do your best to never be late for any type of appointment. This is very important when going to your interview at the immigration office, as being late usually means that you will lose your spot and have to reschedule your interview altogether. You should note that the immigration offices are usually crowded and you will certainly end up being late for your appointment if you come in the nick of time. Instead, try to come at least 30-40 minutes earlier than your scheduled interview.
Carry The Absolute Necessities
The immigration offices are usually inside of government buildings and are well guarded, so you will not be allowed to carry some objects inside. You are not permitted to carry lighters, matches, knives, or any other type of sharp object, any type of liquid including perfume, pepper spray, and the like. When you get searched by the security officer at the entrance, you will be asked to remove all these objects. You can throw them away or go back to your car outside and store them.
Either way, you will lose your place in the entry line and can potentially end up being late to your meeting. Check everything in advance, as sometimes not even cell phones are allowed in some immigration offices. In such a case, leave your phone in your car or have a friend waiting for you outside with your things. That way, you can enter the offices only with the necessary documents and not be subjected to lengthy searches.
Bring Your Immigration Attorney
You have the right to have professional legal representation present during your immigration interview. That means working with a local immigration attorney. You should never waive this chance, as the attorney can advise you and protect your rights. Also, do not sign any documents saying that you forgo this right. If your lawyer is not present, you can politely ask to wait a few moments for them to arrive for your interview.
Arrange All Your Documents
Prepare all the necessary documents for your immigration interview. Bring the originals and make copies beforehand. The immigration officer usually examines the original documents and asks for copies to hold in the file. Be prepared in advance, as you will not have time to run to find a copy machine quickly.
Have An Interpreter Present
If you are uncertain of your English language skills, then you must bring an interpreter to your immigration interview. It is a requirement for an interpreter to be present on all meetings between foreigners and US officials. The interpreter needs to be objective and translate the questions and answers concisely, so you cannot ask a friend or a family member.
Prepare Quality Evidence
As the marriage-based application for an immigrant visa is the most common way of getting a US residency, we’ll cover the most common mistakes people make in such cases. It takes a lot of time to collect all the necessary information, photos, and documents that will act as sufficient proof that you are your spouse have a proper marriage. The immigration officers will check everything from bank accounts to living arrangements to photos.
Please note the importance of the following actions. Do not wait until the last minute to open a joint bank account, as you would like to have as many joint bank statements as possible. Also, add both yours and your spouse’s name on the apartment lease and change your legal documents like a driver’s license to match the mutual living address. The same goes for tax returns. Make sure that you inform your CPA of your marital status so they can prepare the proper tax returns. All of these aspects will be checked by the immigration officials, and you do not want to jeopardize your chance of obtaining an immigrant visa over one of these things.
Do not shy away from taking photos with your spouse. You will also be asked to provide photo-evidence of your marriage. Every married couple makes photos of their lives together, and these serve as excellent proofs that the marriage is not in-name-only, but is a truly normal relationship. The more photos you have with your spouse, family, and friends, the better chances of proving you are in a bonafide marriage. If you like to show up with boxes of photos of your life together, you will have a better chance of success.
Be Truthful (Always)
When you are in your immigration interview, you need to have all your attention focused on listening to the questions and providing direct answers. The best thing you can do is provide a direct, logical answer to every question.
A proper example for this is when the officer will one question and you give them the answer to another one. Like in the instance “When did you get into to the USA?”, and you tell them what kind of visa you entered with. Or when the officer asks when you did meet your spouse, and you answer that you’ve met at a party. See the pattern here, right? The direct questions are all given evasive answers, which the immigration officers do not condone.
Here is a very common question during an immigration interview. The officer will surely ask a question of the type “when was your wedding?” If the spouse is nervous and can’t remember the correct date, they should not guess. Guesswork does not work with the immigration officials. But if the spouse admits of nervousness and clearly state that they are unable to recall the exact date but leave out the guesswork, then they are giving a true answer.
The importance of being truthful with simpler questions means that you will not try to give a false answer and try to funnel it as the truth. Since the immigration authorities do their homework very thoroughly, you need to be prepared for any eventuality. Look for a good immigration attorney that will prepare you and provide quality advice while also informing you of your rights during the application and immigration interview.