Be prepared for your USCIS interview!
As many of our clients know, several immigration benefit processes require an in-person interview with a USCIS official. While you cannot control the disposition of the official, you can still prepare for the interview by keeping in mind a list of general DO’s and DON’Ts.
One of the most important ways a person can prepare for an interview is to remember to bring all necessary forms and documents, including original copies wherever necessary. Keep documents organized for reference, but try to keep pertinent information in mind so you don’t seem confused or unknowledgeable about personal information. Personal questions will be asked, especially regarding spouses or other family members, so be ready to answer them.
It is important to dress appropriately for an official meeting, be on time for the interview, and have an interpreter with you if necessary. All of these steps show you mean to put your best foot forward, and that you want to show the USCIS and its employees respect. You don’t want to keep your interviewer waiting or in any other way waste their time.
Be on your best behavior. Don’t reply to questions with off-color jokes, especially if those jokes involve illicit behavior. For example, if the interviewer asks you a question about drug history, don’t respond with sarcasm or irony. You don’t want to even implant the thought of poor or illegal behavior in the official’s mind.
Don’t argue with your interviewer. If you believe they have made a mistake regarding your application, politely ask for clarification. If possible, explain politely that you have evidence to the contrary among your documents and produce it. Don’t become angry or combative, and never lose your patience, as there is no positive outcome to upsetting the USCIS official. Likewise, if family members accompany you, make sure everybody takes the process seriously and is on the same page. Do not argue over answers in front of the official, as that produces contradictory answers and wastes the official’s time. Prepare ahead of time so that everybody has the facts.
Remain calm, listen to the interviewer, and answer every question honestly. If you have trouble understanding a question, ask for clarification. Don’t, under any circumstances, lie to the official. In particular, do not provide an untruthful answer simply because you don’t know the answer to a question or because you believe it is what the interviewer wants to hear. Ask your interpreter and/or your attorney for help when necessary.
For a handy list of these DOs and DON’Ts, please see: https://immigration.findlaw.com/immigration-overview/immigration-interview-do-s-and-don-ts.html