7 TIPS TO PREPARE FOR YOUR IMMIGRATION INTERVIEW
These tips can be useful for both immigrant visas at USCIS offices and interviews conducted at U.S. Consulates abroad.
- 1- Dress Well - The first impression always makes a difference. Immigration officers pay attention to how you dress and how you act. Think of the immigration interview like it’s a job interview. Try to impress the immigration officer. Having a good attitude is just as important as dressing well. Avoid being overly excited or irritated. Be assertive but kind. Try not to anger the officer conducting the interview.
- 2 - Plan to be on time - Visit the location before your interview. Be at the interview at least 15-30 minutes before your scheduled time. You do not want to be late to your immigration interview.
- 3 - Bring as many documents as possible - When it comes to immigrant visa interviews, the more documents you bring the better. Many applicants show up to interviews with not enough documents. The two times you should be gathering documents is 1. BEFORE you file your application 2. Immediately AFTER you submit your application. If you are filing a marriage-based application, start collecting documents to prove that your marriage is legitimate and that you reside together. Start to gather as many documents as possible early on in the process. For example, you may submit a 1 month joint bank account statement when you first apply, however by the time the interview comes around in 8 months, you should have an additional 8 statements showing numerous transactions. Make certain that all ID’s and driver licenses addresses match for both couple. Finally, remember to bring photos to the interview from numerous events you ad your spouse attended, not just selfies. Other documents you may include to prove a bon fide marriage can include:
- Joint life, health, and car insurance
- Lease or mortgage contracts
- Birth certificate of any children
- Joint credit card statements
When you go to the interview, make sure the documents are easily accessible and you bring 2 copies of each document.
- 4 - Get an Immigration Interview Prep Session with an attorney at The Odeh Law Group Even if you did not hire an attorney to submit your applications, it is extremely important to hire an attorney to accompany you to the interview. Our attorney will protect you from inappropriate questions or badgering. Help resolve any discrepancies that may arise and clear up misunderstandings. The attorney will observe the officer and step in if he or she feels the interview is taking a down turn. If you are attending your interview at a U.S. consulate, you really should have an attorney review your application and all the documents you submitted, just in case you missed something.
- 5 - Take your interview seriously Put it on your calendar and plan for the interview. Make sure you take time off from work, so you don’t have to reschedule the interview. Only reschedule in case of an emergency. Rescheduling can cause a long delay in your case, as most USCIS and Consulate offices are backlogged.
- 6 - Think about your past Think about your past and remember if there is anything you may have forgotten in your application that may arise during your interview. Try to remember if there are any criminal records in the U.S. or any other country that may be discovered by the U.S. government. In some cases, a decades’ old arrest that was never closed may come up during an interview
- 7 - Make sure to keep your story straight Try to remember what you stated to an immigration officer in the past or wrote on all your applications ever submitted to USCIS. Keep your story straight to remain credible.
- 8 - Practice your interview When you are asked a question during your immigration interview, give straightforward and concise answers. The longer and broad your answer, the more likely it will lead to more questions. Answer the question being asked, it’s very irritating when someone answers a question that was not asked. For example if you are asked “when did you get married?” just give an exact date, do not the “where” and “why” of your marriage unless asked directly. The only time you should expand on your answer is when a direct answer will give the wrong impression. Practice listening to the question completely and attentively, do not begin to answer until the interviewer finishes asking the question.
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