You did everything right on your Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application or at least you thought you did and now you've gotten a notice to appear at your local USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) office for an interview. What should you expect?
There have been reports that DACA applicants are being called in for interviews. Some of those selected are random, others have issues that need a face-to-face meeting or interview with an immigration officer.
Issues Like what? Criminal charges or convictions, previous deportations, clarification of submitted documents, just to name a few.
If you receive an interview notice, don't panic! You will need to prepare for the interview by taking the following steps:
1. Make sure you review your DACA application and the documents you submitted before you appear for your interview. You want to make sure you know what information you put on the application before going to the interview.
2. Bring originals of the copies that you submitted with your application, such as your original birth certificate and passport if you submitted copies of these documents to prove your eligibility.
3. If you have a criminal record, make sure you have certified dispositions of your charges and/or convictions. If you have a serious misdemeanor or a felony, you may not be eligible for DACA, and the immigration officer will let you know that at the time of your interview or shortly thereafter. Certified dispositions can usually be obtained from the clerk's office in the courthouse where your arrest, charge and/or conviction was. Beware that you could be referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement if you have a criminal conviction.
4. Tell the truth at your interview. Why am I even saying this? Because people lie to protect themselves or because they think the truth is not relevant. If the officer is asking about an arrest, charge or conviction, it's relevant! Making a material misrepresentation at an interview could lead the officer to deny your case. Even worse, your false statements could also lead to criminal charges against you. Always remember that when you did your biometrics, a background check was done and the officer almost always knows your full criminal history if you have one.
5. Bring an immigration attorney to the interview with you. Maybe you didn't hire a lawyer to do the DACA application for you and that's ok. But you've paid $465 now for filing fees and took all the time and effort to figure out how to file on your own and get all of the supporting documents together. It's worth the attorney's fee to review your case and be your advocate at your immigration interview should things go sour. If you've been called into an interview, most likely, there is something wrong with your case. An experienced immigration attorney can help you understand what went wrong and how to fix it. And in the long run, getting it 'fixed' will benefit you - you will have a work permit, be eligible for a Social Security number, finally have the freedom to work in the U.S. And maybe even drive depending on what state you live in, like Virginia.
If you've been called in for an interview, best of luck to you! Hopefully it's something minor that can be dealt with easily.
I'd like to hear from anyone out there in our DACA community who may have been called for an interview. How was it? What was the reason for the interview? Your answers will help other readers who may have upcoming interviews. Thanks in advance and thanks for reading!
And one more favor, please share if you think this will article will help someone.