If you applied for asylum but your case is not in court, you will have an interview with an asylum officer. You can review your asylum application before the interview, to get ready.

At the asylum office, you go through a security check. Then you talk to a receptionist. If you have any documents that you didn't already share, the receptionist can give them to the asylum officer. You will be in a waiting room until an asylum officer takes you to a private room for your interview. Your interpreter and lawyer can come with you.

The asylum officer will ask you to swear to tell the truth in the interview. Be honest at the interview. Inaccurate or inconsistent (changing) information can cause problems for your immigration case.

The interview is private, so you do not have to worry about somebody else knowing your story. It can take a long time — between 1 hour to more than 4 hours. The officer will review your asylum application and ask questions to find out if you qualify.


  • why did you your country?
  • how were you harmed?
  • did you to get help from the police or the government?
  • what might happen if you go back to your country?

If you have a lawyer, they can speak at the end of the interview. They can tell the officer why you should get asylum. At the end of the interview, the officer tells you what happens next and how you will get the decision. 


  • If you feel confused during the interview, you can ask the officer to explain more.
  • If you do not know the answer to a question, it is okay to say that you do not know.
  • If the officer asks when something happened, you do not have to give an exact date. Give your best estimate (for example, you can say “around April or May last year” or “last spring”).
  • If it's hard to understand your interpreter, tell the asylum officer.

It is okay to feel nervous during your asylum interview. It can be very hard and emotional to talk about your past and your fears. It is okay if you cry during the interview. You can ask the officer for a break if you need one.

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Last Reviewed: October 24, 2023