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Things to know when preparing for an immigration interview

California is home to many immigrants who arrived here from various countries of origin. Your circumstances may not be exactly like your neighbor's, although you may find you have some experiences or challenges in common. One type of situation that can be extremely stressful is an immigration interview. If you recently received an order to appear at such a meeting, you'll want to learn as much as you can about the process ahead of time so you know what to expect.  

There are definitely certain things you want to avoid doing, as well as other things that may be beneficial toward helping you achieve your immigration interview goals. U.S. immigration law is highly complex and often changes. If you try to stay updated and fully aware of your rights, you may be able to overcome legal obstacles that arise.  

Behaviors that help make a good impression 

Your interviewer may have a lot of influence on the ultimate outcome of your situation. Therefore, one of your highest priorities should be to make as good an impression during your interview as possible. The following practical tips might help: 

  • Always be on time for official immigration meetings. 
  • Appearance matters, so dress appropriately, which, in most cases, would include attire that is business casual style.  
  • Arrive prepared with any and all documentation that might be necessary to review. 
  • If you have a language barrier, ask an interpreter to accompany you to your interview. 
  • Know how to quickly access legal support if needed. 

Depending on the type of interview you are attending, such as a marriage review or a visa interview, the documents you show and questions you answer may vary. If the U.S. government suspects your marriage is not valid, immigration officials may separate you from your spouse during a portion of your interview so they can compare the answers you provided out of earshot from each other.  

What not to do 

The following behaviors may not only give a negative impression to immigration officials but may impede your ability to secure a visa or legally remain in the United States: 

  • Joking around with immigration officers is never a good idea.  
  • Showing up late for your interview. 
  • Acting aggressive toward your interviewer. 
  • Arguing with your family members in your interviewer's presence. 
  • Lying when you don't know an answer to a question or trying to conceal certain information from immigration officials. 

Many immigration processes take time, such as weeks or months to fully execute. While it's often difficult to be patient and remain calm, it's always the best choice. If an obstacle arises and you know where to seek immigrant advocate support, you may be able to get things back on track without any negative repercussions.

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