Advice for your interview with USCIS.
Tips for Green Card interview or Naturalization interview.
These tips for USCIS interview apply to almost all interviews with USCIS: I-485 interview for Legal Permanent Residence (Green Card), Citizenship/ Naturalization interview, I-130 visa interview, I-140 employment-based visa interview, I-751 interview to remove conditions from Green Card, or even an affirmative asylum with USCIS at your local asylum office.
First of all, the most important thing I tell all clients is less of a tip and more just a reminder about the value of the truth and the legal consequences of failing to be truthful. Always be honest. Never lie or try to mislead USCIS. It is a crime and it won't work. They probably know the truth already and if they don't, they will find out eventually. If you are caught in a lie you lose all credibility and goodwill with USCIS, plus, you will end up with a fraud finding that will complicate your case or result in your case being denied. Lying to USCIS could result in you being deported. It's serious. A lie is any misrepresentation of a material fact, a failure to disclose something (previous marriage or a minor arrest/infraction). Immigration fraud is extremely serious so be truthful and honest.
Along the lines of honesty, dont guess, estimate or exaggerate. If you don't known the answer to a question simply state that you do not know. If you guess or estimate and you are wrong then you just gave the wrong answer. There is no reason for that. Humans dont have perfect memories and USCIS knows this and they will not penalize you for not knowing the answer to every single question you are asked. You also shouldn't exaggerate in your answer. You may think you're making your case stronger by exaggerating the facts but you are actually just coming off as dishonest or less credible. An exaggeration is also dangerously close to a lie so don't do it.
Next, I always tell my clients to keep their answers brief (yes/no or one word responses are fine). I always tell them that they need to make sure they fully understand the question being asked and not to hesitate to ask for the question to be repeated or clarified. Understanding the question being asked leads directly to my most important tip.
The best advice I think I can provide anyone planning for an interview with USCIS is to only answer the question being asked. Never volunteer information! If you are asked, "When did you enter the US?" Don't answer saying where you entered, how, who you were with, etc. Your answer should simply be "On [date of your entry]." Providing additional information you are not asked for can only lead to additional follow up questions and potential issues. Keep it simple.
You should prepare before an interview but don't try to memorize a perfect scripted answer for every question. You should familiarize yourself with the types of questions you will be asked and the format of the interview. You can do this by asking an immigration lawyer to prep you or you can ask friends/family who have done it or even ask others on online forums/websites (be careful to never provide any confidential information or details from your case on the internet though). Many lawyers will give you some general advice for free online (I would).
USCIS interviews are important and you should take them seriously. I encourage you to hire an immigration lawyer to at least review your case and consult with you even if you dont need representation at the interview.
If you have any other questions about USCIS interview please contact me. Email me at email@example.com