How to Get Ready for an Immigration Interview

By chrismeloni, 24 November, 2015

Immigrating to the U.S. is a complicated and lengthy process. There are tons of forms to fill out and information to turn in. Every detail must be perfect or you could run into some serious problems and a delaying of your case. And, of course, there is the all important immigration interview to worry about. Here are some tips that you can use to help you prepare for your interview with your immigration case worker:

Get Your Documentation Together

You are going to have to present both original documents as well as copies of those documents at your interview. Make sure you have all of that paperwork together (with several extra copies, just in case) before you sit down with your interviewer. Accurately translate your immigration documents so that both you and your interviewer can understand them, entering your interview disorganized and unprepared is never a good way to start.  

Find Your Interview Location

Make sure that you know where you’re going for your interview. If you are moving here from overseas you’ll most likely have an interview at a consulate office. If you live within the U.S. already and are applying for an “adjustment of status,” you’ll mostly likely meet with someone in a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. Take the time to visit the office ahead of your interview so that you will know exactly where you are going. Plan ahead to deal with traffic delays, transit issues, etc. 

Go Over Your Application

It is important that all of the answers you give during your interview match the information provided in your application and your supporting documentation. This is particularly important for matters of income. Know those details by heart before you sit down with your interviewer. Discrepancies--even minor ones--could hold things up for you.

Be Prepared to Get Personal

Immigration interviews are likely to delve into your personal life, especially if the reason you’re applying for a green card is so that you can marry someone who is already a U.S. Citizen. Many of these questions will feel offensive and like they shouldn’t be any of the interviewer’s business, but (unfortunately) you don’t get to simply not answer them or wave them off. Answer them honestly, even if it is embarrassing to do so. A lot of these questions will be spontaneously thought up by the interviewer; they are not bound by a set list of what they can and can’t ask. Your interviewer, when interviewing for a marriage visa, can ask whatever he or she pleases.

Consider Working with a Professional

The immigration process within the United States is complicated and drowning in minutiae. Every detail must be perfect or the process could take a really long time (or you could even be denied!). This is why it is a bad idea to try to navigate the system yourself. Consider hiring an attorney not just to help you mind your details but to run through the interview with you. Practice interviews can do quite a lot to help you stay calm and collected when you do the interview for real.

Stay Calm, Stay Honest

Answer everything honestly. Do not generalize, joke, or fudge your information. Don’t try to gloss over anything. Remember: discrepancies in your answers (even small ones) are bad, and discrepancies will happen if you don’t tell the whole and absolute truth when you answer your interviewer’s questions. Try to take some deep breaths if you start to feel anxious. The calmer you are, the easier the interview will be for both you and the person conducting the interview.

Remember: the process is long but if you are determined, you will get through it. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Ask for help and use these tips to help you smooth out your interview.