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Will USCIS Interview Be Recorded?

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Will my interview be recorded? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States out of our offices in St. Louis, San Diego, and Washington DC. People want to know, "Is my interview going to be recorded, whether audio recorded or video recorded?" Now, I think the law probably says that they have to notify you if they are going to record you. I don't know that I've ever seen a recording or heard of a recording where the interview is being conducted and the immigrant was not being told that they were being recorded. But it's not often that you get a recording of your interview. A lot of times, if it's a CARRP case, or a alleged national security case, or it's a case that's in litigation, you'll see a videotape interview. I had one recently on Denver.

I actually like to have my client's interviews recorded. I wish every interview was recorded. I think the officers act much more professionally. They are more thorough, which can add time to one. I had one recorded a couple of weeks ago. It was two hours long, a Stokes interview. It was ridiculous. The couple had been married for a really long time. But in any event, you're usually not going to get it recorded. I would estimate that somewhere between five and 8% of interviews are recorded, if it's even that high. I don't think you can ask for it to be recorded. I had one person do that once, and the officer said no. But it is helpful to have that recording because then everybody's on the same page, everybody knows what was said, so if you're alleged to have lied about something, you can preserve it by video. That's a good thing.

Now, of course, you should never record it without their permission. You, yourself, should never record it. So you need to be careful about that. You don't want to record it illegally. I think that would probably be a crime, especially on federal property, might even be a federal crime. The only person that should be recording is the officer, and they should notify you of that. And then of course you can always get a copy of the recording through the Freedom of Information Act.

We've had some interesting things come up in the recordings of interviews, and that sort of how we know when our clients have been abused. And we've seen things that happen on these video transcripts or video recordings of interviews that probably never would have happened if a lawyer was there, or certainly not if a lawyer who knew what they were doing and knew their client's rights, would have allowed certain things to occur. So generally you're probably not going to be recorded. If you are, as always, confident, look in the camera, look at the officer in the eye, ready to answer everything, not apologetic, not feeling weird, not feeling scared, not feeling nervous, confident, direct, yes, no, short answer, and just tell your story, and don't back down. Don't ever back down.

If you have any questions about interviews, or if you have an upcoming interview and you need our help, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, it's called Immigrant Home. We'd love to have you in there. We're answering immigration questions in there every single day. We also have our YouTube channel. We've been updating it every single day since the start of January 2020. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have our live show, the Immigration Answers Show from 12:00 to 1:00 Central Time usually, and that's on YouTube and on our Facebook group. Thanks a lot and have a great day.


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