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.
About the Interview
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 goes over 8 useful for a successful asylum interview. This is not intended as legal advice for your specific situation, so if you have a complex matter involving any part of the process, get in touch with an Oakland asylum lawyer at Landerholm Immigration A.P.C. Your initial evaluation is free — call (510) 756-4468.
Tip #1: Speak With a Skilled Immigration Lawyer
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: Preparation is Key!
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: Do Not Get Caught Up in Criminal Matters
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: Prepare for the Physical and Mental Toll of Stress
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 on the day of the interview so you are not distracted by hunger.
Tip #5: Ensure You Won’t Miss Your Interview
Arrange reliable transportation ahead of time and make sure you know how to find the interview location. Don’t just assume you’ll be able to find it. If you are late or fail to show up entirely, you may lose any chance you had of achieving asylum.
Tip #6: Consider Hiring a Translator
Unless you are unquestionably confident in your English speaking and comprehension abilities, utilize a translator for the interview. Even if you speak English quite well, it might be a good idea to have a translator attend the interview to ensure that nothing gets misunderstood. Some things just don’t translate like we expect them to, and a translator may be able to help you comprehend or explain intricacies about your situation that you cannot. If possible, practice working with the translator ahead of time as well.
Tip #7: Bring All Documentation
Bring copies of all relevant and important documentation or evidence of the danger and persecution you face or have faced in the past, as well as the reasons you face that danger (your religion, race, political opinion, etc). Your lawyer can help you ensure that you have all the documentation you need, just make sure you don’t forget it. Plus, the interview is a chance to present new evidence that has arisen since your application or that you forgot to include on your application.
Tip #8: It Is Okay to Show Your Emotions
Don’t be afraid to show emotion. Asylum officers are used to people showing emotion because they are used to interviewing people who have faced terrifying, painful, and disturbing situations. If you bottle up your emotion the AO may not be able to comprehend how dire your situation is or believe that you are sincere. If you genuinely feel emotion, it can reinforce the fact that you truly fear persecution and can help you convince the AO that you need asylum.
Applying for Asylum? Let Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. Guide You
When seeking asylum, it is essential that you hire an experienced and knowledgeable asylum attorney to represent you and help you through the application and interview process. Call Landerholm Immigration and let us fight to protect you and your family from persecution in your home country and achieve the safety of a life in the United States.