What should I be thinking about at my Green Card interview?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri and in San Diego, California. In today’s video, we’re talking about Green Card interview some more. We’re talking about what should be your mindset as you go in.
Now, obviously it’s a very intimidating process. So, when you get to the USCIS office, whether it’s in a standalone USDA S building, or if it’s in a government building, or if it’s in a regular office building, you’re going to be intimidated. You have to go through security. So you have to take off your belt and maybe your shoes or your boots, and you’re going to have to take out all your coins and everything. That’s just going to discombobulate you a little.
So, you really want to get there a little bit early so that you’re calm and collected. You don’t want to be running through, looking at everyone else in line, trying to hope that the line goes fast because you’re late, really good to get there early. Sometimes with COVID, they make you wait a little bit, so when you can actually come in, but you want to get there as soon as you can, early as you can, so that you get through security and you have a time to reset. You want to go to the bathroom, maybe put some water on your face, maybe wipe off your face. Just sort of take some deep breaths, and then you’re going to find yourself in the waiting room waiting to go to USCIS.
Now, while you’re waiting, you’re probably going to interact with some kind of front desk person, and you’re going to give them a copy of your letter. During this time again, you might be nervous. So again, take a deep breath and just calm down. Now, when I talk about mindset, I want you to understand something. You have paid for the right to be there. In fact, you’ve paid a lot of money. The filing fee right now for a Green Card is well over a $1,000, and the spouse petition is about half of that.
So you’re going to be spending a lot of money and you’re actually paying the salary of these employees. So you don’t have to be a jerk about it and act like they work for you, but at the same time, you shouldn’t be intimidated by them. One time we had a client ask, “Are the officers going to be in uniforms?” And no, that doesn’t happen. They’re going to be dressed in business, casual outfits, and that part shouldn’t be that intimidating.
Now with COVID, there’s even all these extra safety protocols that are really going to make you even more nervous. So everything’s sort of designed in the effect of is, it just makes you nervous. So your idea should just keep being calm, be pleasant, be happy. The good thing is, is you’re working towards something that you’ve been waiting for a really long time. You’re working towards getting a Green Card for the person that you love or for yourself. So you should really be positive about it and happy about it, because the light of the end of the tunnel is near. You’re almost getting to the completion. So if you can just hold it together and have the right mindset, and just go in there confidently because you have every right to be there, and ready to answer the questions.
The next thing I want to say about mindset is, don’t be thinking about where is the officer taking the interview. They are professionals for the most part. They know what they’re doing, for the most part, and they know how to conduct the interview and they know what they need to ask you in order to decide whether or not you’re eligible for the benefits. So don’t be all shifty and trying to anticipate where the officer’s going or to try to lead them in a particular way. It should really just be like a tennis match. Question, answer, question, answer.
If you can give a short answer, give a short answer. If you can answer with a yes or no, answer with a yes or no. That’s going to make things go a lot quicker. Again, we talked in prior videos about being really prepared. So you definitely want to be prepared, you want to be confident. You will look the officer in the eye, and you want to answer their questions directly. If it helps, you can repeat their question back to them. So if they say, “When did you move to Idaho?” “I moved to Idaho in 1979.” Okay, so that’s sort of the way to answer that and that gives you that time that you need.
Now, one thing I always tell my clients is, nobody’s going to be there taking down how much time it took you to answer a question. So the officer is going to ask you a question, but there’s not a stopwatch, so you have time to think. And of course, if you don’t understand the question, you can ask them to repeat it. So I want you to go in there confidently. I want you to go in there knowing that you’re going to get your case approved. That’s got to be your mindset.
Now, if you have problems with your case, you want to talk to an immigration lawyer. But if you’re going into that interview, you should only be going to that interview because you’re going to get it approved. Excuse me. If there’s real problems with the case, you might want to throw it, but we’re not there to mess around. We’re there to get a Green Card, and we’re there to do whatever it takes to get that Green Card. We’re going to be pleasant. We’re going to be happy. We’re going to be firm and we’re going to be direct. We’re not going to be all wishy-washy, all weird or nervous, nervous, nervous.
No, we’re not going to do any of that stuff. We’re just going to stand there like a strong human being, a strong man, a strong woman. We’re confident. We’re just as good a person, as that person sitting across the desk. We might be better educated than them. We might have less of an education than them. We’re in there fighting for what we deserve, fighting for what we need, and that is that lawful permanent resident status for us or our loved ones. So don’t go in there all mealy-mouthed or wishy-washy or scared. You go in there confident, go in there strong, and you’re going to do a very good job. I know you’re going to do it.
If you need help, or if you have questions, or if you’re feeling stuck, give us a call (314) 961 8200. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find us in our Facebook group, it’s called Immigrant Home. We answer questions in there every day. And also we have our YouTube channel that you can subscribe to, so that you get updates whenever we make videos like this one. And please don’t forget, every Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 1:00, Central time, I am live in that Facebook group and on our YouTube channel, answering as many questions as I can in one hour flat. So we’d love to have you there, and we’ll see you next time. Thanks.