10 Interview Tips for Green Card, Visa Applicants

Many immigration cases, including requests for green cards and visas for spouses, require interviews with officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

How you handle the interview could determine whether you win or lose your case. Here are 10 tips for interview success:

1. Dress for the Occasion. It’s human nature that immigration officers will form an opinion about you by the way you look.

You don’t need to rent a tuxedo, but dress as if this is an important day in your life because it should be. Don’t wear T-shirts, flip-flops, shorts or tight pants. Dress conservatively and look as if you’re ready for serious business. Go easy on the perfume or cologne, too. There’s no law that says you have to dress as if you’re going to church. But if you wouldn’t wear it to church, don’t wear it to your immigration interview.

2. Don’t Create Complications. Don’t bring items to the immigration center that may violate security or cause problems for guards using scanners at the door: pocket knives, pepper spray, bottles with liquids, large bags.

3. Show Up On Time. Arrive at your appointment early and ready to go. Being punctual shows that you care and that you appreciate the officer’s time. Get off to a good start by being where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there. It’s a good idea to come at least 20 minutes early.

4. Put Your Cell Phone Away. This is not the day to be taking calls or scrolling through Facebook. Some immigration buildings do not permit bringing cell phones inside anyway. Don’t annoy your immigration officer by having a cell phone ring during your interview. Turn it off.

5. Wait for Your Attorney. If you’ve hired an immigration lawyer to be there with you, wait until he or she arrives to start your interview.

If an immigration officer wants you to do your interview before your attorney arrives, politely refuse.

6. Take a Deep Breath and Be Confident That You’ve Done Your Homework. You have done your homework, haven’t you? Preparation is the key to a successful interview. And preparation also helps reduce stress. If you need to bring forms or records with you, make sure you have them and make sure you know what they say. Know your case better than anybody else.


7. Listen to the Officer’s Instructions and Questions. Interview day can get tense and sometimes you can forget to do the simple things like listening. If you don’t understand a question, politely ask the officer to repeat it. Then thank the officer for repeating it. Take your time and think about your response.

8. Bring an Interpreter. If you need to bring an interpreter to help understanding English, bring someone who is fluent and trustworthy to interpret for you. Don’t let language be a barrier to your success.

9.Be Truthful and Direct at All Times. Don’t make up answers or tell the officer what you think he wants to hear. Don’t joke with the officer or try to be evasive. Don’t make sarcastic remarks — especially about legally sensitive matters, such as drug use, bigamy, criminal behavior or deportation.

If you honestly don’t know the answer to a question, it is much better to say you don’t know than to be untruthful or defensive. If it’s a marriage visa case and you’re interviewing with your spouse, show that you’re comfortable with each other. Be prepared for questions that may be specific and somewhat intimate about each other. Above all, don’t argue with your spouse.

10. Be Yourself. USCIS officers are trained and experienced in detecting people who are trying to be deceptive. Stay true to yourself, be genuine and stay honest.

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Moffett, Dan. "10 Interview Tips for Green Card, Visa Applicants." ThoughtCo, Mar. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/interview-tips-for-green-card-1952090. Moffett, Dan. (2017, March 7). 10 Interview Tips for Green Card, Visa Applicants. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/interview-tips-for-green-card-1952090 Moffett, Dan. "10 Interview Tips for Green Card, Visa Applicants." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/interview-tips-for-green-card-1952090 (accessed November 23, 2017).