When applying for asylum, the interview is one of the most important parts of the application process. Here are the basics of what the asylum interview will be like, so you go in confident and know what to expect for this part of the asylum process!
Basic Structure of the Asylum Interview
There are three parts to an asylum interview: 1) application review, 2) personal statement/testimony, and 3) security questions. It’s important to familiarize yourself with each section before your interview so you are not too nervous and can excel at each part.
1) Application Review
The interview begins with the asylum officer verifying the truth of the information contained in your Form I-589, the asylum application. They will go through every single question, and you will either verify that the information is accurate or have them update it if there are any inaccuracies. It’s important to correct or fill in missing information if need be because this will be your last chance to do so before your case is reviewed for a decision.
2) Personal Statement/Testimony
This is the most important part of your asylum interview, so make sure you practice for it! The personal statement section is the chance for you to answer the question of, “Why are you applying for asylum?” or “Why are you afraid to return to your country?” The officer will often start with a variation of these questions, and then ask follow-up questions such as, “Did anything happen to you that makes you afraid to return home?” This is your chance to give a compelling account of why you are eligible for asylum, and to tie together all of the information contained in the forms and evidence.
3) Security Questions
To wrap up the interview, the officer will ask you a series of questions intended to ensure that you are not a security threat to the United States. Some topics that might come up in this portion include any military training or experience you have, any countries you have traveled to and for what purpose, and if you had affiliations with any sorts of groups or organizations that the United States deems a security risk. If you’ve traveled internationally, it’s a good idea to have a list of the places where you have been and copies of any passports you hold to make the process more efficient.
Make sure you prepare for each of these three sections with your asylum attorney.
Go through your documents and figure out if there are any inconsistencies or factual errors that need to be accounted for.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, where we will provide tips and in-depth strategies to help you leave your asylum interview feeling confident!
Contact us if you would like to meet with an asylum attorney to prepare for your interview! An asylum attorney will be able to address any questions you have about the actual interview and attend the interview with you! They can provide a closing statement to tie together the different components of your case.