Whatever the reason for your trip or move to the United States, it’s essential to be prepared for all stages upon arrival at the airport.

Traveling abroad, whether for work, tourism, or exchange, is an unforgettable experience. Different cultures, people, customs, and languages—all these considerations are part of the adventure when venturing outside one’s home country. But there’s another stage of the journey that raises anxiety: immigration.

Yes, many people don’t feel at ease when dealing with the United States Immigration, yet there is nothing to fear if you are clear, concise, and, above all, truthful.

Upon landing in the new country, questions will be asked by agents from CBP – U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a U.S. government agency that controls entry and exit in the United States. Every foreign traveler goes through this interview before leaving the airport and answers questions like: What is the purpose of your trip, how long will you stay, where will you stay, are you traveling alone, do you know anyone in the United States, and if it’s for work, the name of the company, etc.

At this moment, it is important to have all documentation on hand and, above all, answer everything with firmness.

Lawyer Ingrid Domingues McConville, with 28 years of immigration experience, warns that the immigration officer has the person’s entire history at the time of the interview. With this information, the officer already knows a lot in advance, hence the importance of telling the truth and answering everything that is asked. Even American citizens have to answer questions and can be questioned about the trip. It’s worth noting that agents are trained to observe any different or “suspicious” facial expressions, and if the person cannot answer or gives any reason for suspicion, they will likely be taken to the dreaded inspection room.

If you happen to be denied entry by immigration at the airport, depending on the reasons given by the agents, the person will return to Brazil and be punished with a ban on entry to the United States for a specified period.

In the case of interviews for specific immigrant visas, the same rule applies—Calmness, objectivity, and truthfulness of the facts. This is the stage where an entire process can be lost, even after the case is approved by the USCIS – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Visa approval is only guaranteed after the interview. The power of the agent is significant, and by denying the case, they may even allege an arrogant or disrespectful attitude from the interviewee.

Whatever the reason for your trip or move to the United States, the important thing is to be prepared for all stages, and having the support of a lawyer specialized in immigration will always be the best option.

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  • Ingrid Domingues-McConville founded DM VISA LAW – Domingues McConville, P.A. in 1995. She has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995 and a member of the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida. Ingrid earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, and her law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio. With 28 years of experience in Immigration Law, Ingrid has represented clients throughout the United States and worldwide, addressing both business and family immigration matters. She has helped companies and individuals obtain visas and permanent residency in the United States. Ingrid plays a significant role in the Brazilian community in South Florida and throughout the United States, providing much-needed guidance and legal advice.