Can I read off my forms while I’m at my interview? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego and Washington, DC. You know, we got an interesting question off the YouTube channel the other day. Someone was wondering, Jim, can I bring a copy of the forms that I submitted and read over them while the officer is conducting the interview? I think this is probably a bad idea. I’ve never seen it done. I’ve never had a client do that. I certainly understand the rationale behind it, and I don’t think there’s a rule prohibiting it, but I’d be surprised if an officer wasn’t a little bit put off by that. And of course, we’re always trying to win over the officer. So I don’t know that it would be a good idea to print out, say your N400 or your I45, or your I130. Even if English is not your number one language, I think this is probably not the best of ideas.
I think that it wouldn’t be perceived well from the officer. And I think that it would make it look like you’re trying to memorize all of your answers and that the officer really views the interview and the forms as sort of operating on two separate tracks. There are the forms, and then there’s the testimony that you give under oath at your interview. And I would probably advise my clients not to do this. It might look like coaching. It might look like memorization. It might look like you’re a poor historian. And you know, as far as looking up things during the interview, like the date of your marriage or, I mean, you want to definitely know that one, but other dates like when you moved or when you traveled, those kinds of things, I think it’s okay to go as a resource.
I think it’s okay to print it out and bring it with you. I just don’t think you want to have it sitting on your lap while the interview’s going on. Now you might say, can I refer to my notes or can I refer to my documents if they’re asking you something like your Social Security number or, you know, the dates that you traveled inside and outside the United States. I think that’s okay to have things as a reference. And it’s always good at your interview to have documents at your ready disposal, in other words, that you can grab them quickly. You want to be organized with your document so that you know what to bring and where all of your information is, but I don’t think overall it’s a very good idea. I think you’re better off taking your chance with your memory itself.
I remember when I was in law school and I was taking trial advocacy, when I would try to do my closing arguments, I would always want to read off notes. And the judge who was teaching the class said to me, “Jim, you’re dynamite when you’re on your feet just talking. But when you try to read, it comes across as very boring, very dry and not as sincere.” And that’s the main point. I think that when you talk from the heart and you look like you have nothing to hide, I think that comes across much better than making it look like you are just trying to remember everything and that you don’t know the ins and outs of your case. Because of course you need to know the ins and outs of your case. So, while everyone’s complaining about cases taking too long, I get that, you should use that time to learn your case backward and forward.
I hope this makes sense. I hope this helps. If you have questions, if you’re thinking about applying for a green card, feel free to give us a call, 314-961-8200. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. We’ve been live for the last couple weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We haven’t missed, at noon central time, answering as many of your immigration law related questions on our Immigration Answers show, which you can find in that Immigrant Home Facebook group and on our YouTube channel. Thanks so much for watching. And if you have a question or a video you’d like me to do, just drop it in the comments below. Thanks. See you.