Tag Archives: Immigration Law

Tips on Preparing for an Asylum Interview

This guide will give you some tips on preparing for your asylum interview in front of the asylum officer.

Practice Telling Your Story – Find a friend that you trust and tell them your story. If you are going to be using an interpreter, have an interpreter present when you are practicing. Allow your friend to ask you questions and listen carefully to the questions that your friend asks as they may provide you with an idea of where your story is confusing or missing details.

Prepare an Outline – Prepare an outline of your story so that you can remember the main points and especially the names and dates. You will want to highlight all the instances of persecution no matter how small. It is also important to make sure that you understand the order that the events occurred. You should also re-read your application so you know what you put down.

Tell the Truth – You MUST tell the truth even if you think that it is not helpful to your case. If you do not, it will likely hurt you in the end. Sometimes omitting important facts is the same thing as lying. However, in some cases, it may be okay not to volunteer information unless asked. An attorney will help you decide when and when not to disclose certain facts.

Speak Slowly and Listen Carefully – Sometimes the Asylum Officer will be typing everything you say. If you speak quickly he or she may not hear something important. You will have to speak very slowly. You will also need to listen very carefully to his questions and try to answer his precise question first before elaborating.

Details – The officer will want to hear details. The more details you can provide the more likely he will believe your claim. He or she may have just read your asylum application that day, or maybe not at all, so you will have to treat the interview as if he is hearing everything for the first time.

Beliefs – Be prepared to talk about your beliefs especially the ones that your claim is based on. If you are claiming political asylum, it’s probably important that you can explain your political beliefs. If you are seeking religious asylum you should know something about your religion. You do not need to be an expert, but at least know enough for the officer to believe that you are a member of that religion or political party.

Snack – Have a snack before your interview, but not too much. You may be waiting for an hour and the interview may last an hour or more so you want to be comfortable.

Attorney – You really should be working with an attorney who has experience in asylum law. The application is just as important as the interview. An attorney will make sure that you have a strong application with a significant amount of evidence. Some asylum applications may be over 150 pages in length. An attorney will be able to best prepare you and attend the interview with you. At the interview an attorney will mostly stay silent but they may speak of if they feel that the asylum officer is out of line or if there is any miscommunication. An attorney can also ask you questions in front of the officer at the end in case there is important information that the Asylum officer forgot to ask you or you forgot to provide.


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President Obama on Immigration Reform May 2011


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Obama to Speak on Immigration


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Seattle University Spectator: Young SU law grad Andre Olivie fights for immigrants

Young SU law grad Andre Olivie fights for immigrants
By Caitlin King | Published: Wednesday, April 14, 2010  | The Spectator

Andre Olivie graduated from the Seattle University School of Law last year. Olivie focuses on immigration, naturalization and asylum law… CLICK HERE

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Posted by on April 15, 2010 in Immigration Law


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How Can I Become A Citizen?

Naturalization ceremony. White House photo by Eric Draper

For many immigrants, the final step in the quest for the American Dream is to become an American citizen.

Benefits of Being a United States Citizen

Citizens have the right to vote, thus help to strengthen our democracy and lobby for their interests. Citizens can obtain a United States Passport, making travel much easier as many countries do not require visas for United States citizens. Citizens can never be deported nor have any need to deal with the bureaucracy of the USCIS. Citizens can sponsor their foreign spouses, children and parents for lawful permanent residency without having to wait for a visa to become available.

United States Citizens Have Responsibilities

United States citizens must swear allegiance to the United States and may be required to serve in the armed forces. United States citizens must obey United States laws both in and out of the United States.

Becoming a United States Citizen

Individuals born in the United States and certain individuals born to or adopted by U.S. citizens outside of the United States become American citizens automatically. Immigrants to the U.S. have the opportunity to apply for citizenship through a process called Naturalization (USCIS Form N-400). United States citizenship does not prohibit dual citizenship. One can be both a citizen of Canada and a citizen of the United States. Only under very extreme circumstances can an individual be stripped of his or her citizenship.

Who Can Naturalize?

Occasionally, I get calls from individuals who ask about applying for citizenship before they are even eligible. Generally, only individuals who have been a lawful permanent resident for 5 years can apply to naturalize. However, if you received your lawful permanent residence because you are married to a U.S. citizen, then you will be eligible to apply to naturalize after only 3 years. You must also have been physically present in the United States for those years, have good moral character and know basic English and U.S. Civics ( there are some exceptions to the English language and civics knowledge requirement for the elderly and disabled).

While physical presence and good moral character sound like simple requirements, they often become problematic. Frequent or long trips abroad may affect your eligibility. Petty crimes or certain character traits may also affect your eligibility. Even if you meet these requirements, however, you may still not be eligible to naturalize if you have ever committed a crime, even if you weren’t convicted. It is important to consult with a licensed immigration attorney to find out whether or not you are eligible to naturalize as the simple act of applying for citizenship when one is not eligible may lead to deportation proceedings if it is found that conditions of your permanent resident status has been violated.

If you live in or near Seattle, Washington or Phoenix, Arizona and are interested in becoming a United States citizen you may schedule a consultation with OLIVIE LAW at (206) 724-1940 or email

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Posted by on March 3, 2010 in Immigration Law


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How Do I Apply For Asylum?

Good link on general information regarding the Asylum process. This information is provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Please note, Asylum Law is very complicated and everchanging. Asylum can sometimes be a life or death matter. It is important to contact a licensed immigration attorney when applying for Asylum. The majority of asylum cases in the U.S. are denied. Having your case presented by an attorney significantly increases ones chances of being granted asylum by the U.S. Government.


Posted by on February 23, 2010 in Immigration Law, Refugees


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