What to do in an asylum interview

There are a few dos and don’ts you need to know about when you’re at an asylum interview. In this short article, we discuss the key recommendations you should follow so that you asylum interview passes smoothly.

Dos at an asylum interview

You should listen carefully to your asylum officer and follow everything they say. During the asylum interview, which typically takes an hour and a half, you need to take an oath of telling the truth. If you bring an interpreter to the interview (which is a good idea if you have difficulties with English), then the interpreter will also have to promise that he or she will follow the law and interpret your words exactly as you say them.

You’ll need to provide evidence to confirm your identity such as your passport or other document. Next, you’ll need to briefly talk about your biography, and then you’ll have to give reasons for your asylum applications. Explain clearly why you’re applying, tell your story exactly as you described it in your Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal form.

Your asylum officer will also try to find out whether any bars to asylum can be applied to you. Again, you need to give clear answers in order not to dissuade the officer that your story is true.

At the end of the interview, you will have an opportunity to make a statement or share additional information with the asylum officer. Use this opportunity to better present your case.

Don’ts at an asylum interview

Our talk about what to do in an asylum interview would be incomplete if we didn’t say anything about the don’ts: what you should avoid doing at an asylum interview to increase your chances for receiving asylum.

  • Do not lie.

Even a slightest hint that you may not be telling full truth will lead to rejection of your asylum request, let alone if you’re telling outright lie. Asylum officers are trained to notice any inconsistencies in the evidence provided by asylum seekers to find a reason to deny their application. Make sure that you (and your interpreter) always stick to the facts and tell everything. Rest assured that your story during the interview will be kept confidential, so it’s best to tell the truth.

  • Do not argue with the asylum officer. 

Strictly follow everything the asylum officer asks you to during the interview. Having an asylum or immigration lawyer at your interview will help as they will clarify whether was the officer asks you to do is correct.