Preparing for your asylum immigration interview

Congratulations! You’re on the path to citizenship and scheduled for an asylum interview in New Jersey. In all likelihood, you want everything to go perfectly. If you’re not sure what to prepare in advance, here’s a rundown of what to expect.

What to bring to your asylum interview

The last thing you want is a postponement or rejection for failing to bring the proper documents to your asylum interview. Make sure you have:

• Identification: passports, travel documents, a Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record if you received one upon arriving in the United States
• Original certificates: birth certificates, marriage certificates, other documents submitted with your Form I-589 Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal
• Form I-589: copy of your Form I-589 along with related documents
• Certified translations: official translations of any supporting documents that are in another language
• Miscellaneous: any documents or media that may help your case

If needed, translators should be present for the interview. Moreover, if you’re seeking asylum for both yourself and a minor, the child must also be present and have the appropriate documentation.

What to expect on the day of your asylum interview

When the day arrives, be on time for the immigration interview. You’ll start by taking a fealty oath. Then the conducting officer will pose questions about your asylum request and explore any extenuating circumstances that may prevent you from staying in the country.

Though often painful and difficult, it’s important to be open and honest about the conditions and threats you face in your home country if forced to return. Expect your interview to last about an hour, and understand that you may have to wait a bit before being called.

Candidates who work with immigration attorneys are sometimes better prepared and coached for their asylum interviews. If you have an upcoming appointment, you may want to consider consulting with an immigration attorney ahead of time.

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