What am I supposed to do if I have to cancel my green card or naturalization appointment at the very last minute? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration attorney here in St. Louis, Missouri. In the typical case, you get your notice of a interview for your green card or citizenship about six weeks before the interview. Usually have plenty of lead-time to make sure that’s going to fit with your schedule. Now let me say first of all, that the one thing you don’t want to do is reschedule your appointment if at all possible. This should really be a matter of last resort. You don’t want to screw up the process, because if you continue your hearing or your interview for whatever reason, you’re going to have to wait another six or eight weeks to get it rescheduled, depending on how busy your local immigration office is.
When you get the notice, you’ll see at the bottom of the form, there’s a place you can call to get your appointment rescheduled, but you really, like I said, want to try to not do that. After you’ve prepared, and you’re already for your interview, if something comes up and there’s bad weather or a storm or a family emergency; as long as it’s a legitimate emergency, you’re going to be able to get your hearing postponed, your interview postponed. If it’s something that’s developed on the very morning of the interview, you should try to call the 1-800 number that we’ll put on the website to let them know and to write down the name of the person that you talk to, the time that you called. You should do everything you can to get there, but if you simply can’t get there and you have to miss, it’d be best to try to call that 1-800 number and let them know. There’s not a local office number or email address that you can call or email to let them know you’re not going to be there. The best you can do really is to notify the 1-800 number.
Typically, if you miss an appointment but reschedule it one time and you’ll be given a second date. You really have to make sure to make that date. If you don’t, there’s a real chance that your petition for a green card or for citizenship for whatever immigration benefit you’re seeking will get denied and deemed abandoned. Still think that you have given up on your case and that you no longer wish to proceed. You’ll lose your filing fee. You’ll lose your time that you’ve waited, and all the work you put into your petition. You definitely don’t want that to happen.
Given the crazy weather that we’ve been having around the country lately, there have been a lot of notices of field offices being closed. This means that even if you wanted to come and had a great vehicle or whatever means of transportation to get there, even if you wanted to be there and you could get there, they closed the office. In those situations, they’ll just automatically reschedule your appointment. Those are the things you need to know about rescheduling. I was down in immigration, and I was talking to one of the officers on a day that it was questionable as to whether or not there’d be an interview and she said off the record, “They’re not going to just deny someone for missing an appointment when there’s really bad weather. You’re going to have a chance to show that there was good reason for you not being there and they’ll probably just automatically postpone it.”
Another time I was in immigration, the immigration officer came out to talk to a couple who were waiting for their attorney. Their attorney had to miss and that’s certainly unfortunate. You always want to make sure as an attorney that you don’t do anything to slow down your client’s case. This officer was very apologetic and apologizing on behalf of the client’s attorney. The clients were understanding, but they were certainly frustrated that they had to wait another eight weeks for an interview.
With interviews, you want to do everything you can to get there on time. You want to get there and to make the appointment. If you can’t and special circumstances come up and you’re going to be able to justify not showing up, you should be able to get it postponed. It’s not a guarantee and every office probably handles it a little differently, but at the end of the day, you should be able to get your appointment rescheduled. They should not conclude that you’ve abandoned your appointment, just by not coming to the first one. You should get a rescheduled date. If you have any questions about immigration interviews, rescheduling, those kinds of things, feel free to give us a call. 314-961-8200 or you can always shoot me an email at [email protected].