Suggested Attire for an Immigration Interview

What Not to Wear for a Meeting with Immigration Officers

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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 requested. As with any meeting, first impressions do matter. A person's presentation, demeanor, and appearance play into that impression.

Officially Does Appearance Matter?

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 non-judgmental and non-moralistic and set aside any personal biases. Even if the immigration officer feels personally offended by your attire, he or she must put his personal feelings aside and not allow it to have any bearing on his or her determinations. That said, we all know how difficult it is to remain completely neutral. Immigration officers are well-trained to avoid letting their personal judgments affect a case, but interviewees can ease the process by dressing in a professional 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 as if you were meeting your partner's family for the first time. In other words, something clean, comfortable, moderately conservative and presentable that makes a good impression.

This can include clothing that is business casual, such as a clean, pressed outfit or a less formal version of classic business attire. If an applicant feels comfortable wearing a suit, then good, but, if a suit is uncomfortable, then a pair of pants, nice shirt, skirt or dress is suitable as well. 

What Not to Wear 

Do not wear anything that might be offensive or considered controversial. This includes political slogans or pictures. Clothing does not have to be expensive, but it should be clean and pressed. Polishing shoes so they shine isn't necessary, but do give them a quick wipe if they need it.

Use perfume or cologne sparingly. Certain people have allergies and sensitivities to scents. Since waiting rooms have a tendency to get cramped at times; competing scents may overwhelm the room or bother an interviewer. Please be considerate of those with fragrance allergies or sensitivities.

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, usually, something that is not too distracting for the interviewer might be best.

Attire for the Naturalization Ceremony

Taking the oath to become a United States citizen is an important event. People will be bringing guests and some ceremonies may even have famous people, dignitaries or newsmakers in attendance, so at least, business casual is recommended. Expect that there will also be lots of pictures taken. 

The naturalization ceremony is a solemn and meaningful event. Please dress in proper attire to respect the dignity of this event (please no jeans, shorts, or flip flops).  -- USCIS Guide to Naturalization

Dress up in a suit or dress if so inclined, however, leave the tux and ball gown in the closet that might be considered overdressed.