There are any number of reasons immigration officials may request your presence at an interview. Since you arrived in Colorado to live (whether that was last week or 10 years ago), you’ve likely been putting forth every effort to acclimate yourself to a new lifestyle, as well as all the customs and traditions in the United States. If you emigrated from a country of origin where there is much poverty, violence and danger, life here may have come as a bit of a culture shock to you.
It’s only natural for you to feel overwhelmed and face many challenges as you build a new life in a new place. You didn’t come all this way, however, just for someone to say you cannot stay. Therefore, if you have to appear at an immigration interview, you’ll want to make sure you know what to expect and how to act (and not act) ahead of time.
Some things are not okay
While you might enjoy taking part in some of the trendy new styles you see throughout Colorado, your immigration interview may not be the best venue for trying them. For instance, it’s definitely not the place for wearing pajamas in public or walking around with pants dropped below your hips. In short, an important meeting necessitates appropriate dress if you hope to make a good impression. The following list includes other things you may want to avoid:
- Tardiness: Generally speaking, in the United States, it is rude to be late to an important meeting. Beyond that, you may lose your opportunity to have a meeting at all if you’re supposed to arrive at a certain time and fail to do so.
- Sarcasm and humor: Levity is one thing, but acting as if you are not taking your immigration meeting seriously is quite another. This is a surefire way to produce negative results. An immigration official conducting a meeting is not a person you want to joke around with, especially if your humor pertains to immigration or off-color topics, such as drugs or other issues.
- Arguing: The immigration official is in charge of your meeting. If you don’t like what he or she is saying, or you believe a statement is made in error, respectfully and politely do your best to rectify the situation, but do not interrupt or argue with an immigration official.
If the officials have permitted your family members to be at the meeting with you, make sure they understand that it is not the place for family debate. In addition to avoiding these potentially problematic behaviors, there are things you should do to increase your chances of a successful meeting.
Keep these things in mind
No two situations are the same, so there’s no guarantee you will obtain the results you’re hoping for when you attend an immigration interview. However, the following may be helpful toward a positive outcome:
- Bring pertinent documents: You should always keep good records regarding your immigration status. Bring any paperwork you have, in case the official asks you a question or a problem arises for which an answer or solution may be found in writing.
- Cooperate: If the person conducting your meeting asks you to do something or, for instance, wants your spouse to go to another room while they interview you, do your best to follow instructions without being combative.
- Reach out for support: If you have a language barrier, bring someone with you as an interpreter. This can be an official language translator or an experienced immigration attorney who is fluent in your language.
It’s okay to be nervous when you attend an immigration interview, but if you have all your documentation in order and you are living as a law-abiding resident, you should have nothing to worry about. If a problem arises, an attorney can act as your advocate.