So, you have submitted your case to the Citizenship and Immigration Service and now they have scheduled you for an interview. Now what? The immigration interview often creates a great deal of stress. One of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to know what to expect. The following are a few key pointers to keep in mind:

Always be early. If you are on time, you are late! If your appointment notice says 9:00 a.m., plan to be there at 8:30 a.m. Remember to allow time for parking and traffic conditions. It is better that you wait for the immigration officers, than have them wait for you. First impressions are crucial, since the officer has approximately only 20 minutes to decide your case.

Limit your answers. The interview will be approximately 30-45 minutes long. During that time, the officer needs to review certain documents (which you will bring with you) and update their notes. This leaves very little time for detailed questioning, and as a result even less time for lengthy answers. Be direct and truthful in your answers, but limit your responses, as best you can, to 5 words or less.

Be prepared. Bring the right documents, be prepared to answer the tough questions and know the pitfalls of your case. For instance, if you have an arrest record, come prepared with your arrest documents and know that it is likely the officer will ask questions about this incident. Although an arrest will not in and of itself prevent your application from being approved, it does add a layer of complexity.

Hire an attorney. While you may be able to ask friends or family members about their experiences at Immigration, nothing will compare to the value an attorney can bring. An experienced attorney will have been to hundreds of interviews. Having encountered many different situations, she will know how to best respond if problems arise in your interview.

There is no fool-proof way to prepare for an interview with Immigration. Each case is different. However, keep these pointers in mind and you are well on your way to making your immigration goals a success.

This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Consultation with an experienced competent immigration attorney is the best way to address individual concerns.