Suggested Attire for an Immigration Interview

It's Important to Dress with Dignity and Respect

Man and woman talking at desk during job interview
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It is rare to find a person who is not at least a little bit nervous when it comes to facing an immigration interview. This is the one-on-one meeting with an immigration officer who will evaluate the applicant's credibility and eligibility for entrance into the United States for as long or as short a stay as is requested. As with any meeting, first impressions do matter. A person's presentation, demeanor, and appearance play an important role in making a positive impression.

Is There an Official Dress Policy?

Even if an immigration officer feels personally offended by your attire, he or she is supposed to put their personal feelings aside and not allow them to have any bearing on the final determinations they make. While there's no official code of dress for what you should or shouldn't wear for an immigration interview and technically, your attire should have no influence on the officer's judgment, common sense is your best bet in this situation.

Why?

Because while U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are trained to avoid letting their personal bias affect a case, they are still human and remaining completely neutral can be very difficult. If you truly wish for a positive outcome, observing proper decorum is in everyone's best interest. As an interviewee, you can ease the process by dressing in a professional, respectful manner.

Suggested Attire

A good rule of thumb is to dress as if you were going to a job interview for an office job or meeting your partner's family for the first time. In other words, wear something clean, comfortable, moderately conservative, and presentable that makes a good impression. Your clothing does not have to be expensive, however, it should be clean and pressed. Polishing your shoes so they shine brilliantly is not necessary, but do give them a quick wipe should they need it.

Attire can include clothing that is business casual, such as a clean, pressed outfit—a less formal version of classic business attire. If an applicant feels comfortable wearing a suit, then that would be a good choice. If the applicant feels a suit would be uncomfortable, then a pair of pants, a nice shirt, a skirt, or a dress are considered suitable as well.

What Not to Wear 

Do not wear anything that might be considered offensive or controversial. This includes political slogans or pictures. Use perfume or cologne sparingly. (Some people have allergies and sensitivities to scents.) Since waiting rooms have a tendency to get cramped, competing scents may overwhelm the room and create an unpleasant atmosphere for an interviewer, as well as other applicants waiting to be interviewed.

Other suggestions of what not to wear include gym clothes, such as sweatpants, tank tops, or shorts. Use your own discretion with makeup and hairstyles, but remember, choosing a look that's not too distracting for the interviewer would be best.

Attire for the Naturalization Ceremony

Taking the oath to become a U.S. citizen is an important ceremony. According to the USCIS Guide to Naturalization web page, "The naturalization ceremony is a solemn and meaningful event. USCIS asks that you dress in proper attire to respect the dignity of this event."

Don't forget that people will be bringing guests, and some ceremonies may even have famous people—such as dignitaries or other newsmakers—in attendance, so at a minimum, business casual and proper grooming is recommended. Expect that lots of pictures will be taken that will likely show up on all sorts of social media, so you'll want to look your best.