Preparing for an Immigration Interview

Immigration interviews are stressful, because the decision of the officer conducting the interview can have huge consequences on families and individuals.  It is important to remember that one of the issues that the officer looks for is fraud, therefore inconsistencies – even small inconsistencies – can negatively affect your case.  Hearing officers are different, and the interview experience is often dictated by who is interviewing you.  Here are some general suggestions to help you through the process.
FIRST – Make sure that you hire an experienced immigration attorney to represent you.  Don’t take chances on decisions that can effect you, your family, and your employment.  The attorney can advise you of risks involved in the process, and develop a strategy to improve your chances of success.  The attorney can advise you as to the hearing officer, and questions that they may ask.
SECOND – Be prepared.  Know what the paperwork in you file says.  Make sure you memorize all the facts of your case.
THIRD – Make sure you understand the legal issues and standards of proof before the interview.  Hiring an experienced immigration lawyer, such as attorney Sufen Hilf, will help you with this.
FOURTH – Have all necessary original documents ready for your interview.  Make copies of all original documents and have them with you in case your paperwork gets lost.  Make sure that you have any paperwork that is requested by the hearing officer, if the officer specified to you in a letter to bring certain documents.  If you don’t have all the necessary documents, inform your attorney prior to the interview.
FIFTH – Make sure that you have a competant, impartial interpreter for the interview if you do not speak English fluently.  Make sure that you can properly communicate with that interpreter prior to the hearing.  The interpreter is not allowed to coach you on your answers, or to supplement your answers in any way.
SIXTH – Arrive at your interview early.  Sometimes you get delayed because of traffic, or security issues entering the building.  The hearing officer is not likely to be simpathetic to these, or any other excuse.
SEVENTH – Be respecful of the hearing officer.  Keep your composure.  Don’t express anger if a question is asked that is insulting or critical of you or a family member.
EIGHTH – Be honest.  Lies can get you in more trouble.  If you are truthful with your attorney from the beginning, the attorney can properly advise you as to how you should proceed.
NINTH – Listen to the question that is asked before you answer it.  Make sure that you understand the question that is asked.
TENTH – Answer only the question that is presented to you.  If you answer rambles on, it might appear that you are being evasive.  Do not offer any information without being asked about it, especially any information that your attorney does not know about.
ELEVENTH – Dress appropriately.  Look like you care about the process, and that you respect the hearing officer.
Immigration proceedings are important, and it is important to be represented by an immigration lawyer that will make the process as easy and straight forward as possible.  For all immigration issues it is recommended that you contact the law firm of Hilf & Hilf, PLC.