A credible fear interview is given to individuals who are subject to expedited removal and express fear of returning to their home country. The interview is conducted by an Asylum Officer (AO) and focuses on the specific reasons for your fear. You are typically given some time prior to your interview to prepare and seek the advice of an attorney.
To request a credible fear interview, you can present yourself at a port of entry and tell the border patrol officer that you have a fear of return and want to apply for asylum in the U.S. Once you have expressed this fear, you will be detained until the credible fear interview can be conducted. You can also request this interview if you are caught by immigration trying to enter the U.S. unlawfully, and express fear of return.
During the credible fear interview, the AO will focus on whether you can establish fear of return based on past persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The officer will also determine whether you would be subject to torture if you were to be returned to your home country.
If the AO finds that you have established a credible fear of persecution or torture, your case will be sent to an immigration court that will schedule a hearing for your case. If the AO does not find that you have credible fear, you can request that an Immigration Judge review your request. If you do not request this review, immigration will take steps to either deport you or grant you voluntary departure if you are eligible.
If you do not waive the waiting period before the credible fear interview, you should seek the advice of an attorney right away. These interviews are very important for your asylum case, because the information provided here will start the record for your claim. Remember that it is important to remain consistent with the information provided at these interviews, because any inconsistencies will affect your credibility. The help of an attorney during this very crucial stage can make a big difference on the outcome of your case.