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Officer's Red Pen

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What happens if the immigration officer pulls out her big red pen?

Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. In the old days, all applications were on paper.

Now, most are still on paper, but some are done electronically.

And we've seen many, many interviews where the officer pulls out his or her red pen. And so he wanted to make a video to you to show you that the red pen is not your enemy.

It's actually a friend. And what are we talking about?

So I did a newsletter email a little while back about how the two hole punch was the immigration lawyers greatest tool and the immigration officers love their two hole punch because that's how they get everything stuck into the file. And so whenever you go to a local USCIS office, you will hear that "crunch crunch" of the two hole punch. Hey, that rhymed.

And you'll also see them whipping out their red pens and the red pens are to make corrections. So if an immigration officer is doing things by the book, what they'll do is they will open up the application.

Most of them pull that application out of the whole big pile, and then they have each page individual, and then they'll have their red pen. And what they're going to do is they're going to make any corrections to your application. And so when they're really thorough and doing a good job, what they'll do is like, let's say you spelled your middle name wrong.

Then they'll cross it out.

They'll write in the correct name. And then they'll put a little one with a circle. And then the next correction they make, if it's a no to a yes, then they'll make that correction and they'll put a two by it. And they'll go through the application and they'll make all the corrections that are needed with this little red pen.

And that's a good thing because sometimes you make mistakes on your applications. Even we sometimes make mistakes on an application. Or something needs to be updated, somebody might move, or they might have another kid, or they might've put down that they were single before when they were actually divorced.

So the red pen is used to mark every correction and then at the end, they'll count up the corrections and then they'll have you sign a spot that says, "We made 13 corrections to this application."

And for the most part, those corrections are going to be a good thing. So you don't want to make mistakes when you file an application, you want to get it right as much as you can because you don't want to give the officer all this extra work to do at the interview. The more corrections you make, the less sure they are that they can approve it right there on the spot.

And that's what you're always after.

So when you realize that you've made a mistake, you can bring in an errata sheet, or you can just tell the officer at the interview. Now, some questions are so sensitive though, that you really want to make sure that you tell them right away about the mistakes.

For instance, a lot of times people be asked about criminal activity or criminal issues or interactions with law enforcement or with judges. And they're going to be very careful with their red pen at that point.

So you want to make sure you get those rights. So the long and the short of it is, try to file an application that is as error free, as mistake free as possible. But if you did make a mistake, the officer is hopefully going to make the corrections and then allow you to review the corrections and then allow you to sign that the corrections are valid.

So it's all about getting the right information out. It's all about telling the truth. And it's all about getting that immigration benefit that you are entitled to awarded to you.

So if you have questions about this, or if you feel like you've made mistakes on your application, or if you need help submitting an application, give us a call (314) 961-8200.

You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. And if you liked this video, we'd love it if you subscribed to our YouTube channel and if you shared it out on socials so that your friends and family get immigration updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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