What should I do if I have an emergency and need to cancel my immigration interview?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. En Español.
We had an interesting and somewhat sad situation come up at our office recently and I thought I’d make a video about it so I could explain it to everyone. In this situation, we have a client who has applied for a green card based on her marriage to a US citizen, and as it turns out, this client has been waiting a very long time for her interview, over a year. The St. Louis office has been behind on spouse cases. This Canadian client has been waiting a really long time for her interview. Her interview is set for today, actually. She called me last week and she told me, very sadly, that her dad is dying. He’s in the process of passing away and only has a few more days to live. It was sort of touch and go over the weekend. We were wondering whether or not she was going to be able to actually come to the interview. Obviously when a situation like that arises, you have sort of more important concerns than the green card, but at the same time you have been waiting a long time.
The question comes up, what do I do when I have an emergency and want to cancel my appointment? Now this is, frankly, one of the benefits of working with an immigration attorney because if my client had had to leave suddenly over the weekend and was not going to be able to attend her interview, I would have gone down there myself and explained it to the officer, exactly what had transpired and they would have, most likely, rescheduled it.
What if you don’t have an attorney? Well, in those situations I think you have to do everything you can to notify the office that you won’t be there. Now they don’t have a regular telephone number. You can’t call the local office in most situations. You might want to have someone else from your family go down and explain it to them. This is probably not preferred by immigration service, but I think you really want to document what efforts you made to let them know that the appointment would not be made. At the very least, I would try to make an InfoPass appointment before I left, if possible, to go down there and alert them that you’re not going to be there.
Generally in our experience, if you miss an appointment, they usually reschedule it once as a courtesy. That doesn’t mean that they have to though, so you can’t rely on that. I think you really have to do everything you can to notify them somehow. Either before the interview, hopefully, or even on the day of the interview or after the interview, why you missed. You might want to submit documentation as to why you had to leave. With a sick father, it would be hospital records or a dying father, their death certificate. These kinds of things.
You don’t want to leave things dangling in the wind. You want to make sure that if you can, that you convey to them that you did everything you could to be at the interview, but that you just weren’t able to make it because of this family emergency. Then you want to make sure that you do everything in writing. That you back it up, that you keep notes. If you go down and talk to someone at the immigration office, that you write down their name, the date, the time that you came. Or the people that went for you, what information they were able to get.
Most importantly you want to document it. You also probably want to follow it up with a cover letter explaining why you missed it. At this point, if you’re not working with an attorney, you probably should get an attorney involved so that they can reach out. Maybe they have contacts at the local office that they can sort of get things back on track. You could also make an InfoPass appointment for when you come back and explain to the officer at the window what happened and why you missed.
We hope this answers the question of what you need to do if you have an emergency on a immigration interview. If you have more questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can call us at (314) 961-8200. If you like this video, please be sure to click like and sign up as a subscriber as you get updates for all of our future videos.