Friday, September 24, 2010

Seattle Immigration Lawyer | Asylum Basics, Continued

Picking up where I left off last...

The Asylum Interview:

Once the application is filed, you will receive a notice to go the nearest USCIS office for fingerprinting. Next, an asylum interview will be scheduled, in which you and your immigration attorney or other representative will appear and be interviewed by an asylum officer. If you need an interpreter, it is up to you to bring someone who can interpret for you. Also, you are allowed to bring witnesses to give testimony in support of your claim. (Usually, any witnesses will still be in your home country, but if any are here, it certainly would not hurt.)

Asylum interviews typically last at least 1.5 hours and can go for 2.5 hours or more. The purpose of the interview is to test your credibility. The officer will ask you detailed questions about your claim. One of the main ways the officer will do this is by seeing whether your responses are consistent throughout the interview. The officer may accomplish this by asking the same question in different ways and at different times in the interview.

It can be very helpful to have a Seattle immigration attorney at the asylum interview who is very familiar with your case. An immigration attorney may be able to clarify responses you make, point out particular supporting documents in the application to the officer, and maybe even remind you about certain points during the interview that you might forget, since you will most likely be stressed and anxious. The attorney’s level of involvement will be limited by what the asylum officer allows, thus, it will depend largely on the asylum officer’s personal style. However, regardless of the particular asylum officer, your attorney or representative will be able to ask questions at the end of the interview in order to elicit any relevant information that may not have come out during the interview.

Stay tuned for my next article covering the Asylum Officer’s Decision.

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