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 the least bit nervous about an immigration interview. This is the face-to-face meeting with an immigration officer who will evaluate an 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 into that impression.

Does Appearance Matter Officially?

Officially, what you wear should have no bearing on the interviewing officer's adjudication of your case. When conducting an interview, immigration officers must be nonjudgmental and nonmoralistic, setting aside any personal biases. Even if the immigration officer feels personally offended by your attire, he or she must put personal feelings aside and not allow them to have any bearing on the final determinations.

That said, remaining completely neutral is very difficult. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) immigration officers are trained to avoid letting their personal judgments affect a case, but interviewees 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. Clothing does not have to be expensive, but it should be clean and pressed. Polishing shoes so they shine brilliantly is not necessary, but do give them a quick wipe if 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 is 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 at times, competing scents may overwhelm the room and bother an interviewer.

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; choosing a look that is 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. People will be bringing guests, and some ceremonies may have famous people, such as dignitaries or other newsmakers, in attendance, so at least business casual is recommended. Expect that lots of pictures will be taken, too.

According to the USCIS Guide to Naturalization web page for the naturalization ceremony, "The naturalization ceremony is a solemn and meaningful event. USCIS asks that you dress in proper attire to respect the dignity of this event."