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How Do Immigration Officers Handle My Documents

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What happens to my documents at the interview? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States out of our offices in St. Louis, Missouri, San Diego, California, and Washington DC. In today's video, we're going to answer a question from one of our YouTube subscribers, her name's Daisy, and Daisy isn't really sure about what happens at the interview when it comes to documents.

Now, one thing that you should know about our offices, we really like to send in a lot of documents. We like to over present documents. We like to give them extra. And so when we organize a file, we'll have the cover letter, we'll have the applications and the benefits for the benefits sought, and then we'll have all of our identity documents, and those will all be copies. Obviously, you're not going to send your passport or your green card or your work card or your driver's license. You're going to make copies of all those things. So the officer has it in a nice organized way. And then whatever supporting documents you have. So if it's a marriage case, you're going to have your marriage evidence, and you're going to submit all that to USCIS. You might even bring some more such evidence to the interview.

But when it comes to your actual documents, you want to have them organize when you go into the interview. And even though you have some, hopefully, submitted copies to the officer or to the USCIS before you applied or with your application, they might want to see the originals, and that happens a lot. There's one officer who compares every original document to the copy, and then they'll put a little mark that they make, so that they know that they check those things. I think that's actually a good way to do it. And that's how, if I were an officer, I would do it.

But the fact is, you're much better off making copies ahead of time so that they already have them then they can compare them. Because what you don't want is to be sitting there with the officer, with their little scanner, as they scan all your documents. And does anybody know why we don't want them doing that? The reason we don't want them doing that it's because it makes the interview longer, and it makes them ask questions while they're scanning. It can make you delayed there, but more importantly, they can ask you more questions, and we want the interviews to be as concise and as short as possible. So if you come in all disorganized and you're just pulling crap out of your bag and saying, "Here, copy this. Here. Oh, I think my passport is down here somewhere." It's much better if you've made them a copy of everything so that they have it right before the interview even starts. A lot of times, they can review a lot of that stuff even before the interview starts, and again, that's going to condense the interview, and that's what we're after.

They shouldn't keep your original documents. I have a client right now who has been asking me to get help. They did not return one of his original documents and we need to get that back. So you should push real hard to try to not leave your originals with them. If you are going to leave your originals with them, you want to make arrangements on a date, certain, to come back and pick that up because you don't want to be in a situation where your file gets sent off to the service center, and then nobody knows where your original documents are. That's a real problem. So it's always better to give them as many copies as you can, to bring extra copies, and most importantly, to be organized when you go to your interview about the documents.

Hope this helps. If it did, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group that's called Immigrant Home. We'd love to have you in there. We're having great immigration discussions in there every single day. And of course on YouTube, we are posting a new video every day of the year, we have been since January of 2020. If you have any questions, give us a call. Otherwise, don't forget our YouTube and Facebook live show every Tuesday and Thursday, usually at noon, Central Time, where I answer as many immigration questions as I can. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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