Since USCIS said that they are expanding in-person interviews for asylum seeker’s beneficiaries, I thought it might be useful to provide tips so you have the best asylum interview possible.
People apply for asylum when they are both inside and outside the US. If they have family members (spouses and children under 21) they can file a form I-730 so that these relatives (known as derivative beneficiaries) can also obtain a legal status in the US.
Previously, USCIS would do interviews on a case-by-case basis. However, as of November 30, 2020, they said they would be expanding that to interview all beneficiaries starting with those inside the US.
What You Should Bring
To start off, here is a list of things you should bring to your interview.
- Bring a valid form of ID.
- Bring your I-94 if you received one when you entered the US.
- Original documents, if you have any, like a birth certificate. (Don’t give these to USCIS but do have them with you for the officer to review).
- Bring copies of the Forms I-589 and I-730 plus any evidence you submitted with them.
- Any other evidence that you have that you didn’t already submit.
- If you can’t speak and understand English, you can bring an interpreter. You can also bring an attorney to the interview.
- If any of your documents are not in English, have them translated and certified before going to the interview.
What You Can Do
Keep the following tips in mind to have a good asylum interview.
- Try to be relaxed. Have a snack before you go in, it may be very emotional and tiring. They usually last for about an hour, but you could be waiting for hours until you are called.
- Listen fully to each question, if you don’t understand, let the officer know that.
- You will need to explain the circumstances that make you eligible for asylum. If you have beliefs that are the basis of the claim, you must share those. This may be upsetting, please be prepared to share fully. The more details you can give the officer, the more this will help your case.
- Speak slowly and clearly. Only answer the questions asked.
- You (or your attorney) will be able to make a statement at the end of the interview. If you have an attorney, they can bring up points that they feel the officer might have missed to help strengthen the reasons why you should be approved. We highly recommend that you have an experienced immigration attorney with you, for that reason.
- Only bring people/children with you that are derivative beneficiaries or witnesses.
- A decision will likely not be made at your interview so be prepared to wait for that to arrive in the mail.
We often have people on our social media channels that share how long the asylum process has been for them, and it can take a long time. If you have any immigration concerns, contact our office to schedule a consultation with us.