What is an immigration interview?
- An immigration interview is exactly what it sounds like. It is an interview between an applicant and an immigration officer, to go over the submitted immigration application. The interview is a normal part of the immigration process for many applicants, though not all applicants will be called in for an interview. Interviews are always scheduled ahead of time, by the immigration services directly and can last anywhere from half-an-hour, up-to several hours long. Depending on which immigration application you are applying for and where you are located in the world, an important thing to keep track of is the location of your upcoming interview (inside or outside of the United States.)
In-country vs out-of-country interviews:
Interviews can generally be separated into two different groups, in-country (within the United States) and out-of-country (outside of the United States.) This is determined by the type of application filed and where the applicant is located, along with other contributing factors.*
- If you are located in the United States, your interview will most likely be scheduled with USCIS (Unites States Citizenship and Immigration Services.) In this instance, if you so choose, you may retain an attorney to prepare you for the interview and even attend the interview with you.
- If your interview is scheduled out-of-country it will be scheduled at an embassy or consulate. The key difference here is that attorneys are not allowed to accompany a client to an embassy or consulate interview. An immigration lawyer may still assist in preparing you for the interview itself and help in gathering any required documentation, but they cannot attend the interview.
Why did I get called for an interview?
- If you get called for an immigration interview it is important to remember that it is completely normal and a common part of the immigration process.* Should you receive the notice that you will be called in for an immigration interview, whether that is in or out of country, the vital key here is to follow all instructions provided by the immigration services, from scheduling the interview, to providing the requested documentation (if applicable) and attending the interview.
- Again, note: if your interview is scheduled out-of-country at an Embassy or Consulate, an immigration attorney may prepare you for the interview and help you gather any necessary documentation, however the lawyer will not be attending that interview with you, as it is not allowed per Embassy/Consulate Rules.
- Should your interview be scheduled within the United States, you may choose to retain legal counsel and have an attorney attend the interview with you.
What if I don’t get called for an interview?
- Just because there is the possibility of an interview, it does not mean that you will be called in for an immigration interview. There can be an infinite number of reasons the immigration services might choose to waive the interview and simply approve, or deny, your application. It is not an immediate note for concern, as aforementioned, there could be many different reasons an interview was omitted. For any case specific questions, you may always seek legal advice from your immigration lawyer directly.
List of examples for applications that can result in an immigration interview:
(*note: this is a partial list, for a complete list please visit the USCIS website directly)
USCIS, in-country, interviews can include, but are not limited to:
- I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (VAWA)
- N-400 application for Naturalization
- I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
- I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
- I-918 Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status
Embassy and Consulate, out-of-country, interviews can include, but are not limited to:
- I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé (K-1 visa)
- I-130 Petition for Alien Relative (Spousal Visa)
- F-1 Student Visa Application and B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa Application
- Note: for Student and Visitor Visas, all applications must be filed from within your country of residence and citizenship, the applications cannot be filed from within the United States and attorney cannot be present for the interview, should the applicant be called for an interview at an Embassy or Consulate.
If you or someone you know are in need of legal assistance or would like to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney, you can contact our office online by submitting a Contact Form at Contact Us | The Law Offices of Eugene Mogilevsky (egmlegal.com) or by calling our office directly at (317) 743-7958. Our attorneys practice a variety of different laws including but not limited to immigration law, family law and divorce, criminal, litigation, probate, wills, trust, intellectual property laws, power of attorney, and more!
Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not to be taken as legal advice in any capacity. Reading this blog does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship.
*Useful Links and References:
“The Immigrant Visa Process” Department of State, 2023, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/the-immigrant-visa-process/step-1-submit-a-petition.html.
“All Forms” USCIS, 2023, https://www.uscis.gov/forms/all-forms.