6 Simple Steps to Help You Handle Your Interview Like a Pro
When applying for a US green card, some cases may require an interview with US immigration officials. This interview greatly influences whether you’ll be approved or denied a green card, so it’s not something to take lightly. Some interviews are quick and painless, while others require extensive questioning. No matter the circumstance, this can feel like an intimidating step in your journey to permanent residency — but the experience doesn’t have to be one you should anticipate with fear.
Interview Day Checklist
So, it’s the day of your interview and stress levels are at an all-time high. Before you let the nerves take over, take a deep breath and follow these 6 simple steps to help equip you for the experience to come:
- Review Your Application: Immigration officials will base some of their questions off of the content of your application. Make sure you look over all forms, including Form I-485, so you don’t have to reference them when answering questions. Take copies of these forms, such as your I-94 and document originals as well.
- Be Truthful: Providing false information during your green card interview not only has potential to ruin your chances of obtaining permanent residency, but you may be facing a much harsher consequence if caught. Answer all questions truthfully and don’t over-inform. Divulging potentially negative information when unnecessary can also hurt your chances of passing your interview. If you feel as if a particular question or response in your application is too difficult to explain, hire an attorney to help address these difficult situations.
- Be On Time: Punctuality is extremely important when attending an interview of this magnitude. It’s also extremely difficult to reschedule, so you’ll have to endure a lengthy process to obtain another interview if you miss your appointment. USCIS officers are not receptive to tardiness or no-shows, so make sure you arrive to your interview at least 30 minutes early.
- Follow the directions of the USCIS officer: Some of the questions you’ll be asked may sound unnecessary or inappropriate, but are within the boundaries of what USCIS policy allows. Do not refuse to answer these questions, as this can sabotage your chances of passing your interview.
- Interviewing with a Spouse? Beware of Separate Interviews: Some marriage based green card interviews require that spouses interview separately—this would usually occur in cases where the USCIS officer suspects that the marriage in question is not real. If this happens, do not fear; answer questions to the best of your knowledge and, most importantly,
- Stay Calm: It’s perfectly understandable to be nervous during your interview, which is why it’s imperative that you avoid scenarios which could rattle your nerves while facing an officer. If you don’t understand a question, you can ask the officer to rephrase it. If you do not understand English, bring an interpreter with you. Don’t know the answer to a particular question? Admit ignorance rather than making up a response (see tip #2). If there is a part of your application you believe will result in additional questioning, practice your response beforehand (see tip #1). Keeping a clear head during your interview exudes confidence, and confidence yields a greater chance of success.
Increase Your Odds by Hiring an Attorney
In 2014 alone, the US government issued more than 13,000 immigrant visas. Hiring an immigration attorney for your interview can increase your chances of being one of these 13,000 people. At Hermanni and Lorenzo Law Group, we can help you prepare for your green card interview and get you one step closer to permanent US residency. Why go through this daunting process alone? With the guidance of a Coral Gables immigration attorney, you can be well equipped to handle any situation that stands in the way of obtaining a green card. Contact HLLG to start preparing for your green card interview today.
Norma Lorenzo, Esq., is the managing partner at Hermanni & Lorenzo Law Group, an Immigration law firm established in Miami since 2008. Ms. Lorenzo has helped hundreds of immigrants with a variety of cases obtain legal status in the United States. She also teaches at Florida International University School of Law.