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Typically, applicants go through an interview to get a green card or nonimmigrant visa to enter and stay in the US. If the applicant is outside the US, the National Visa Center schedules the interview at a US consulate in the applicant’s home country.
For a temporary resident applying to gain permanent residence or adjust status, the immigration interview takes place at a USCIS field office close to their home. For example, Houston, Texas residents will have their interview scheduled at the USCIS Houston Field Office.
Also, if a US resident is applying to enter a foreign country, their interview would be conducted in the country’s consulate near them, such as the Mexican Consulate in Houston for Houston, Texas residents who want to travel to Mexico.
The visa interview is a critical step in the application process. Often, it determines whether the application can be accepted or rejected.
Continue reading to discover some tips to help ace your immigration interview.
Arriving before the scheduled time is essential, as your green card or visa interview may be canceled and only rescheduled if you give a valid reason for your lateness. You will be scheduled for an interview at a particular time and date, so you should make every effort to keep the time and date.
Embassies and field offices usually specify how early you can arrive. In most cases, you can arrive between 15 to 30 minutes early for your immigration interview. Also, you should notify the office ahead of time if you will miss your interview due to uncontrollable circumstances.
Researching the venue allows you to learn about the rules and any other information that can help you avoid problems. The office may have guidelines on how you are supposed to dress and what COVID protective measures you need to take.
Knowing the rules of conduct beforehand will prevent you from being turned away on arriving at the venue. Also, having other information about the venue will make you more mentally prepared to answer questions.
Additionally, research the venue to determine whether parking spaces are available, what security checks you will face, etc.
You can make a checklist of required documents in advance to make sure you remember everything. Among the required documents are your passport if you live outside of the U.S., your appointment letter, and documents supporting the application.
If you were specifically asked to bring additional documents to provide extra information, you must remember to take them. Neatly arrange your documents in a file and take them along.
Immigration officers who conduct interviews review applications. Many of the interview questions may be based on the answers you already gave in your application. If there are discrepancies between the information you give at the interview and what is in your application, it could lower your chances of success.
This is especially true for spousal immigration visa applications. Typical interview questions for a marriage green card interview aim to discover how genuine the marriage is. As such, answers may be subjected to more scrutiny to prevent fraud.
The most important tip is to be truthful during your interview. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will reject applications that they perceive to be fraudulent. The chances of getting your application rejected rise dramatically if you lie during an immigration interview.
It is best to consult your lawyer if you are uncertain whether to disclose certain information at your interview, such as certain criminal records. Also, if circumstances have changed since submitting your application, be prepared to explain them honestly.
One thing that can help you with your interview is being composed; mental composure comes with preparedness. Therefore, you can research common immigration interview questions and practice them with your lawyer.
For marriage-based green card interviews, this could help you understand the kind of information you may need to provide. It could also help to have a mock interview with your spouse. By so doing, you may share more information between yourselves and have conversations that will strengthen your interview answers.
If you need a visa, i.e., an immigration candidate living outside the US, you will likely be requested to complete a medical exam by an embassy-approved physician. You must attend your medical appointment and complete the necessary examinations before you go for the interview. You will need to present the results at the interview. The embassy usually specifies a timeframe before your interview during which you should attend your medical exam.
Last but not least, it would help to consult an immigration attorney before you attend your interview. Skilled immigration lawyers are very familiar with the immigration process. They have clients they have helped gain lawful permanent residence or other immigration benefits during their years of practice.
They can advise you on how to navigate difficult questions. If you are going for a naturalization interview, consulting a lawyer beforehand could increase your chances of getting your certificate of citizenship.
We are an immigration law firm dedicated to helping families and businesses together through our legal services. Our Texas-based firm has experienced teams of attorneys and offices in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Fort Worth. Regardless of your immigration issue, our team at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, can assist you.
With decades of experience, you get to work with a team that is knowledgeable in all aspects of immigration law.
Whether you speak English or Spanish, we have you covered. Call us for a free consultation today!