The immigration process of Adjustment of Status (AOS) to obtain Legal Permanent Residency in the United States requires an attending an interview at an office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The interview process can cause anxiety and stress for many applicants, after the applicant’s future in the U.S. is dependent on the result of the interview. For this reason it is important to be prepared and understand the process to eliminate costly mistakes.
Every applicant should consider the following points prior to attending the interview:
- Review the appointment notice. Review he notice to ensure there are no mistakes on your personal information or address. The interview provides the best opportunity to inform the interviewing officer of any mistakes that have not already been taken care of. Failure to do so can cause immigration documents including notices and the permanent residence card being mailed to a wrong address.
- Gather the documents indicate on the appointment notice. Make sure to have the original and a copy of every required document. Every foreign language document must be translated to English and must be accompanied by a certificate of translation. Place tabs on your documents if necessary to quickly retrieve any document the officer may request.
- Arrive early. Give yourself enough time to accommodate for traffic or other minor issues that may delay your arrival. Print out a copy of the directions and drive to the appointment location beforehand. Trying to find the location the day of the appointment is an added pressure that can be avoided. Missing the appointment is a guaranteed way to getting denied is to miss the appointment.
- Dress appropriately. No shorts, hats, or clothing with offensive graphics. No Gum. Do not give the officer any reason to give you a second look. This is a formal matter that should be treated the same.
- Bring an interpreter. If you are not comfortable in English or you do not know the English language well enough to carry a conversation be aware that you may misunderstand a question or the officer may misunderstand an answer. A misunderstanding can be costly and ultimately cause more problems. This is not the time to impress the officer with your English language skills. The officer will not deny your application because you do not know English. Having an interpreter will allow the process to run more effectively and will also put you at ease to answer the questions appropriately.
- Answer the questions honestly and directly to the point. Let the officers do their jobs and develop the line of questions. This means no rambling on and on about your latest work project when the officer’s question was simply asking employment location. Volunteering information can cause a misunderstanding or lead to additional problems.
- Make sure to disclose all arrests and provide appropriate arrest and disposition records. Be honest, immigration services have access to information pertaining to prior arrests and if they determine that you did not disclose prior criminal incidents then your application may be denied. By the time of your interview, USCIS will have already run a criminal background check on you and knows whether you have been arrested.
- Be polite and patient. Remember the interviewing officer’s job is to determine eligibility for the immigration benefit requested and to determine whether the marriage is bona fide. The officer will utilize different questioning tactics for this purpose and may ask questions that may otherwise seem personal. Do not argue with the officer.
- Don’t worry if the officer does not make an immediate decision on your case. Some officers simply indicate that the interview has concluded and will forward the application to a supervising officer for review. Other officers will indicate that a letter will be mailed to the applicant or attorney if additional documents are necessary, while other officers immediately indicate that the application is approved.
For more information about the adjustment of status process give the attorneys at Benavides & Serrano PLLC a call at 713-222-2828. You can’t afford to jeopardize your future by not being prepared.