Immigration Newsletter – May 2012
Perspective on the interviews at our local immigration office – Lately, we have been going to lots of immigration interviews at our local immigration office. At the interviewing office, we often witness common mistakes that are made with applicants, and sometime with their representative. Here are a few tips we want to share with our clients and perspective clients. First and foremost, please be on time. Many applicants get lost even if they are using a GPS device. Worst, the Houston office where the interviews for permanent residency are held is not an easy location to find, but it is an easy location to get lost going to it. It is located in a warehouse building where most ordinary people would not think of. Remember that there are several immigration offices in the area. There is a main immigration building for naturalization and case status inquiries; and there is an immigration building for detaining foreign nationals. Then there are offices in other immigration buildings for secondary inspection and for asylum interviews. Applicants often go to the wrong building, and adjudication officers don’t appreciate tardiness because one delayed interview will cause the rest of the scheduled interviews to be delayed. Second, please dress appropriately. Applicants should avoid short pants, T-shirts with bold logos, and revealing clothes. Some of the adjudicating officers consider the interview to be a very important and formal event. Third, please bring the original documents that were used to submit the applications to the interview. Those documents include, but are not limited to: original birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, passport, I-94 form, marriage certificate, etc. Fourth, please bring documents to substantiate the proof of the claimed relationship. For marriage based cases, these documents are critical, and they include but are not limited to: photo albums, joint checking account statements, joint bills, leases, insurance, etc. In addition, please make Xerox copies of these proofs to submit to the adjudicating officers. The adjudicating officers are on a busy schedule, and they conduct interviews every 20 to 30 minutes. After the interviews, they have to process and complete the administrative matters for these cases, and sometime will have to follow-up on other cases in which the matters are complex or additional documents are missing. They do get frustrated when the applicants or their representatives are not prepared. Fifth, please be courteous with the adjudication officers. The applicants’ manner at the interview is part of the interview. Applicants should sit straight and should not be slouching on the seat at the interview. It is not necessary to bring children to the interview. The children’s birth certificates are sufficient to show the existence of a good faith relationship. However, please do bring an interpreter if the applicant’s English is not proficient.