Do I Need an Immigration Attorney to Be Present For My Green Card Interview?

Some couples believe that having an immigration attorney present at their green card interview will provide them an added advantage, but, in reality, the attorney, unfortunately, cannot answer any of the questions for you or your spouse. You will be on your own at the green card interview.

If you find yourself trying to explain away something that you may have included in your application but have contradicted in one of your responses to a question at the interview, don’t expect your attorney to jump in and throw you a life line. The interviewing officer wants to talk to you, not your attorney, because this interview is for the purpose of ensuring that you and your spouse are telling the truth about your marriage. What your attorney might say in your defense will be of no use in helping the USCIS officer determine how honest you and your spouse are in answering his questions.

An immigration attorney can be a great help in the months leading up to your interview with all of the procedural steps that you need to take just to get to the interview, but the green card interview is not conducted in a courtroom with a judge and jury. The attorney cannot stand up and speak for you or engage the interviewing officer with questions or arguments. You will not have Perry Mason there to protect you if the USCIS officer begins to question you intensively and puts you on the defensive.

So is it even necessary to have an immigration attorney there with you at the interview? Normally, if you have already enlisted the services of an immigration attorney to help you navigate through the initial steps of the application process then the odds are that your attorney is going to be there with you anyway as part of the service you have paid for. And simply having the attorney there with you and your spouse can be a great source of comfort, even though he or she cannot speak on your behalf during the interview. At least you can feel some degree of moral support there if the questioning becomes a bit more intense than you were expecting.

And in the event that your green card interview does go horribly wrong and you are denied the green card because the interviewing officer suspects that your marriage may not be entirely legitimate, then you are going to need an immigration attorney to appeal the decision. In such a case, it’s nice to know that that your attorney was present at the initial interview and knows exactly what occurred so he or she will already be up to speed when you appeal the decision and begin extricating yourself out of the legal mess you might find yourself in after a poor interview performance.

On the other hand, if you and your spouse have already completed everything up to this point without an attorney, then there is no requirement or necessity that you need to go out and get one before the interview. While it might be comforting to have an attorney there watching the interview and providing you at least a feeling of moral support, you are going to be on your own anyway. And, besides, if you’ve already come this far without the assistance of an immigration attorney, why go out and get one now. You have already gotten through most of the process on your own by this stage and only the interview remains. And that is the part of the process where only you and your spouse will be asked questions, not your attorney.

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