Perspective: Kirton McConkie Law Blog

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Expanding Interviews

On Monday, August 28, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published a notice explaining the expansion of in-person interviews for immigration benefit applicants.  Below is USCIS’ notice.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applicants whose benefit, if granted, would allow them to permanently reside in the United States. This change complies with Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” and is part of the agency’s comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the immigration system.

Effective Oct. 1, USCIS will begin to phase-in interviews for the following:

  • Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
  • Refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition) for beneficiaries who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylee/refugee applicant.

Previously, applicants in these categories did not require an in-person interview with USCIS officers in order for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. Beyond these categories, USCIS is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types.

“This change reflects the Administration’s commitment to upholding and strengthening the integrity of our nation’s immigration system,” said Acting USCIS Director James W. McCament. “USCIS and our federal partners are working collaboratively to develop more robust screening and vetting procedures for individuals seeking immigration benefits to reside in the United States.”

Conducting in-person interviews will provide USCIS officers with the opportunity to verify the information provided in an individual’s application, to discover new information that may be relevant to the adjudication process, and to determine the credibility of the individual seeking permanent residence in the United States.  USCIS will meet the additional interview requirement through enhancements in training and technology as well as transitions in some aspects of case management.

As USCIS phases in its expansion of in-person interviews for employment-based green card applicants, it is likely that the processing times for these cases will increase.  Also, employment-based green card applicants should maintain underlying work visa status in addition to the validity of their Employment Authorization Documents and Advance Parole travel documents. 

Furthermore, employment-based green card applicants must continue reporting any and all changes of their U.S. address by electronically completing and submitting to USCIS Form AR-11 and notifying the USCIS Service Center processing their green card cases.  The applicants must report each change of address within 10 days of moving.  They can report the changes of address online at https://egov.uscis.gov/coa/displayCOAForm.do.

Finally, employment-based green card applicants should maintain at all times evidence of their continued, authorized employment by maintaining copies of their pay stubs.

By doing so, employment-based green card applicants will proactively gather and obtain documentation of their maintenance of lawful status, work authorization, and employment, which they may present during their in-person interviews with USCIS.