Transcript of our latest video on Youtube.
Some people are unaware that an attorney is allowed to be present during a naturalization interview or marriage interview. There are unfounded concerns that attorneys will not be allowed in or that the presence of a lawyer will actually work against the client.
Ask yourself this: would you be better off in court with a lawyer who knows the rules and the other side, or by yourself? If you are summoned to appear for an interview before the Department of Homeland Security in connection with your citizenship or green card application, you absolutely have a right to counsel and for many people, it’s a good idea to consider.
What can an attorney do and not do?
An licensed attorney is allowed to be present at the interview. Your lawyer is an official witness to the proceeding, there to ensure that the interview is being conducted fairly and that you are accorded due process. The attorney ordinarily cannot answer questions or take the test for you. That is still your responsibility. However, an attorney can note any inconsistencies and irregularities in the process and when warranted, bring these issues to an officer’s or supervisor’s attention. There may be legal issues as well that an attorney may able to address with the officer more fluently than an applicant with no background or familiarity with the legal process. Especially in the context of marriage or “Stokes interviews,” the presence of attorney is crucial to ensure that the officer is accurately noting the couple’s responses and not mischaracterizing answers as inconsistencies when they may not be.
It comes down to this: if the process is being handled the way that it is supposed to be handled, the presence of an attorney will not detract from your interview. On the other hand, if procedures and rules are not being abided by, or if you do have sensitive issues, than having a lawyer present can only help to make sure that your rights are respected.
The lawyers at Lee and Garasia specialize in immigration interview representation. The firm concentrates its immigration practice primarily in the field of US Citizenship and Adjustment of Status Interviews. If you need an attorney for your interview, contact us for help now.