Tips for a Successful Asylum Interview, Part I

Tips for a Successful Asylum Interview, Part I

If you are in danger of persecution in your home country, then you may be seeking asylum in the United States. Being granted asylum in the US is no easy task, and clearly there is a lot at stake when it comes to protecting yourself and your family from danger.

If you have chosen to apply for asylum, then a major part of the process will include an interview with an Asylum Officer (AO) who will question you on the details of your application and the reasons you are seeking asylum. He or she will attempt to test your credibility as well as whether or not your asylum claim is reasonably and legally founded. This can be an incredibly stressful and difficult process, so it is important that you take certain steps to give yourself the best chance to have a good interview and be granted asylum.

This blog is part one of two where we will list four of eight useful tips for having a successful asylum interview. This is not intended as legal advice for your specific situation so please give us a call to find out how we can help you with your asylum request.

Tip 1: Hire a professional immigration attorney who knows the ins and outs of the asylum process. He or she can coach you and help you practice and prepare for the interview ahead of time. Immigration attorneys like those at Landerholm Immigration will teach you what to say and what not to say, as well as help you present your situation so as to give you the best opportunity to have your asylum request granted.

Tip 2: Study, study, study. You need to prepare as if you are taking a major exam. Make sure you are an expert on your story and you can recall as many specifics as possible such as dates and times. Study your application and your declaration and see if you left anything out that you can bring up in your interview. Practice talking through your story and your reasons for needing asylum as much as possible before the actual interview. Make sure you have answers for any possible questions the AO could ask you about your situation in your home country and the persecution you've faced.

Tip 3: While you are waiting for your interview, avoid getting caught up in any crimes. If you are involved in a criminal investigation or you commit any crimes yourself it could seriously hurt your chances of convincing the AO you should receive asylum. If the AO believes you are a threat to national security, asylum will not be granted. Additionally, avoid leaving the United States during the process - especially do not return to your home country - as this would tell the officer that you do not really fear returning to your country.

Tip 4: Physically prepare yourself for the interview. It will be long, stressful, emotional, and exhausting. If your body is not prepared you could forget things, be unconvincing, or fail to properly present your story. Firstly, make sure you get plenty of rest the night before. If the interview will occur early in the morning and you are normally a late sleeper, train your body for the week leading up to it to wake up early so that you can get used to the timing. Eat plenty of food the night before and try to get a good breakfast the day of the interview so you are not distracted by hunger.

We hope you find these tips useful, and be sure to check out Part II of this blog where we will cover four more asylum interview tips. Coming soon!


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