Applying for a visa, becoming a permanent resident or naturalizing to become a United States citizen are all processes that typically require an interview. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts one-on-one interviews with prospective immigrants to ensure that they meet all of the necessary standards for entry into the country or a green card.
The idea of one conversation determining whether you can live in the United States or stay here may seem unfair or make you very nervous about your performance during that interview. Especially if English is your second language, you may worry about how answering incorrectly might affect your rights.
Thankfully, there are ways that you can prepare. The sooner you start getting ready for your immigration interview, the better your chances of proving yourself a viable candidate for a visa, a green card or naturalization.
Review your application documents
Many of the questions raised during an immigration interview will focus on gaps, errors or contradictions in the paperwork that you submit to the USCIS. The interviewer will ask questions to ensure they understood the paperwork and to ensure you didn’t lie.
Reviewing the papers to highlight areas where the interviewer may have questions can help you prepare by practicing answers to those possible inquiries.
Consider the type of interview carefully
If you want a fiance visa, much of your interview will likely focus on your relationship with the other party, while those hoping to become naturalized citizens will need to answer questions about Civics and demonstrate proficiency with the English language.
The USCIS does provide a vocabulary list for the language portion of the test and Civics questions that they might ask during naturalization interviews. Other questions, such as those about your personal life, will require honesty and preparation but not necessarily studying.
Get help presenting yourself the right way
What you say will only be one part of what an interviewer notices. Your body language, facial expressions and clothing can also influence how they perceive you. Talking with others about the way that you behave during stressful times can help you better present yourself as someone whose presence in the United States would benefit everyone.
Learning more about what you can expect during an immigration interview will help you feel more comfortable as you prepare for a conversation that will have a profound impact on the rest of your life.