One of the most important moments in the legal process of immigrants in the United States is the final interview with the adjudicators of the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), one of the steps that causes the most anxiety due to the fear of a denial.
Almost all applications for immigrant benefits require this dreaded interview, whether for naturalization citizenship , affirmative asylum , adjustment of status , permanent residence and green card through marriage , among others.
This interview in person at a USCIS headquarters must be very well prepared, because a bad move can cost you your legal stay in the country or force you to start the process again.
In an effort to help immigrants, AccesoMiami.com consulted with immigration attorney Elina Magaly Santana , the daughter of Cuban exiles with their own law firm in Miami and a board member of the South Florida chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) .
Here are their top 10 tips for interviewing with USCIS officials:
1 – BRING YOUR OWN INTERPRETER
USCIS does not provide an interpreter and your case may be rescheduled if you do not bring a translator and an adjudicator who does not speak your language interviews you. You must record the interpreter’s presence for the interview using Form G-1256 , Statement for Interpretation of the USCIS Interview, in the presence of the official who will conduct the interview. But remember that if the interview is for citizenship, it will be done in English .
2 – FIND PARKING AHEAD
Parking at USCIS branches is free, but parking is not always available, especially on days when naturalization ceremonies are held . So make sure you get there early enough to park or find out if there are other parking lots nearby.
3 – ARRIVE ON TIME
Immigrants can register at the entrance 30 minutes before the scheduled appointment time, so they have enough time to go through the security check and not miss the interview due to lack of punctuality.
4 – AVOID CARRYING PROHIBITED OBJECTS
For security measures, you cannot enter a USCIS headquarters with weapons, lighters, matches, scissors or other dangerous objects. Remember to turn off the phone during the interview, not take photos and follow the code of conduct .
Read more: Learn English for free online. Government agencies make it easy for you
5 – DRESS PROFESSIONALLY
Don’t forget that first impressions are always important and an immigration interview is a formal procedure. Your goal is for the officer to know that you are taking the interview seriously. So dress like you’re going to a job interview and never wear shorts or flip-flops.
6 – THOROUGHLY STUDY YOUR APPLICATION
Please review your application well before going to the interview, since most of the conversation will be related to the information you provided in the papers, so you should be familiar with its content and prepared to update any data that has changed since You submitted the form.
7 – KEEP THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS
Depending on your particular case, you may need to submit the original documents of the photocopies that you attached with your application. So it is better to carry all original materials including passports and identity documents.
8 – BRING COPIES OF EVERYTHING
Take copies of the documents that you do not want to leave with Immigration. For example, if you process the green card based on the marriage and show your wedding album, also bring copies of the album so that the immigration agency official does not have to keep the original photos.
Read more: These are the worst mistakes when filing immigration papers. And how easy it is to avoid them
9 – UPDATE YOUR IDENTITY CARDS
Both your driver’s license and other state-issued identification cards must reflect your current address. USCIS officials will require updated cards.
10 – PLAN TO SPEND THE ENTIRE DAY AT USCIS
Most interviews take no more than an hour, but sometimes the wait times are long. Don’t make any other plans for that day and advise at work that you’re going to be absent, so you don’t feel any additional pressure outside of the interview itself.
Finally, keep a positive attitude and have faith that the interview will go well if you are well prepared.
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