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Should You Hire an Attorney for Your Green Card Interview? Here’s What You Need to Know

An important phase in the process of gaining permanent residency in the US is the green card interview. An immigration officer will determine whether a candidate is qualified for a green card during the interview, analyze the validity of the application and any supporting documents, and enquire about the candidate’s personal background and immigration history. While going to a green card interview without legal counsel is conceivable, there are several circumstances where doing so can be advantageous.

First, if a candidate has a complicated immigration history or legal background, one reason to take hiring an attorney into account is for a green card interview. An attorney, for instance, can assist the applicant in getting ready for possible inquiries and concerns that may come up during the interview if the applicant has a history of immigration violations, has been detained or found guilty of a crime, or has had issues with prior visa applications. An attorney can also assist in gathering and organizing the evidence needed to support the applicant’s claim and presenting it in a convincing way.

In cases where an applicant has had prior immigration violations, an attorney can help prepare the applicant to discuss the issues candidly and accurately during the interview. Depending on the nature of the violations, it may be necessary to explain the circumstances surrounding the violations and the steps that have been taken to remedy the situation. For example, an applicant who overstayed a previous visa may need to provide evidence of strong ties to their home country, such as property ownership or family relationships, to show that they are not likely to overstay their green card if it is granted. An attorney can help an applicant gather and present this information in a way that is most likely to be persuasive to the immigration officer.

Second, if a candidate has been detained or found guilty of a crime, a lawyer can guide the candidate through the difficult legal challenges associated with green card applications for those with criminal backgrounds. An applicant might be required to give specific information regarding the offense, the punishment given, and the efforts they have done to become better and keep out of trouble after the incident occurred, depending on the type and seriousness of the charge. An attorney can assist a candidate in preparing for these inquiries as well as in gathering and presenting proof of rehabilitation and good character in a way that will be most compelling to the immigration officer.

An attorney can help identify and handle any difficulties that may come up during the green card interview in circumstances when the applicant has had troubles with prior visa applications. For instance, a candidate who had a prior visa application rejected could be required to outline the reasons for the rejection and show that the problems have been rectified. An attorney can assist the applicant in determining the grounds for the rejection and compiling data to address those issues. This can make sure the applicant is ready to answer inquiries at the green card interview about their prior visa application.

If a candidate is worried about language or cultural obstacles, that is another reason to think about hiring an attorney for a green card interview. An attorney can help fill in the gaps if a candidate does not speak English well or is unfamiliar with American traditions and culture by offering interpretation and cultural context. This can make sure the applicant can interact with the immigration officer successfully and portray themselves in the best possible way.

An attorney can assist a candidate in navigating the legal and procedural difficulties of the green card interview process in addition to overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers. An attorney, for instance, might assist a candidate in understanding the kinds of questions that might be asked during the interview and in preparing responses that are convincing, accurate, and clear. In addition, a lawyer can assist in gathering and presenting the documentation that may be needed to support a client’s application in a way that will be most persuasive to the immigration officer.

A third reason to consider hiring an attorney for a green card interview is if an applicant is facing a particularly challenging or complex case. For example, if an applicant is seeking a green card based on a petition from an employer, or is applying for a waiver of certain inadmissibility grounds, an attorney can provide specialized knowledge and expertise to navigate these complicated legal issues. In these cases, an attorney can also help the applicant prepare for potential challenges or objections that may arise during the interview.

In conclusion, while it is not strictly necessary to hire an attorney for a green card interview, there are several situations in which legal representation may be helpful. Applicants with complicated immigration histories, language or cultural barriers, or challenging legal cases may benefit from the knowledge and expertise of an experienced immigration attorney. Ultimately, the decision to hire an attorney for a green card interview will depend on the individual circumstances of each case, and applicants should carefully weigh their options before making a decision. If you receive an interview notice please consult the advice and representation of an immigration attorney if any of the above scenarios apply to you.

By: Juanita Deaver

Juanita Deaver is an Associate Attorney in the I-140 and AOS Department, where she assists clients in the middle and later stages of the green card process.

Juanita earned her J.D. from South Texas College of Law Houston in May 2021. As a law-student, Juanita interned at a non-profit organization where she discovered her passion for immigration while working on family-based cases helping file I-130 petitions and I-485 adjustments of status. During her time at South Texas, she further pursued her interest in the field of immigration law through enrollment in the school’s Immigration Clinics where she worked on TPS, T visas, and DACA cases. Her experience working with families and clients in emergency situations has provided Juanita the tools and experience to provide clear and concise explanations to the seemingly daunting immigration process.

Juanita joined Reddy & Neumann as a law clerk in December 2019. While clerking, she gained valuable experience by working closely under attorneys from each of the firm’s departments on drafting successful requests for evidence, appeals, motions to re-open, and through legal research on immigration matters. Juanita understands that every case is unique and hopes to provide each client with a better understanding of the ever-changing immigration process.