On August 28, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will begin implementing in-person interviews beginning October 1, 2017 for the following:
- Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). This means that anyone moving from an employment-based visa to lawful permanent residency will be required to appear for an in-person interview. For example, an artist on an O-1 visa who self-petitions and applies for a green card may be required to appear for an in-person interview. Similarly, a doctor who is on an H-1B visa and plans to apply for a green card through a Physician National Interest Waiver (NIW) may also be required to attend an in-person interview.
- 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. This includes visa holders who are family members of refugees or people who receive asylum. These applicants will also be required to appear for an in-person interview when applying for provisional status.
Why is this change being implemented?
According to USCIS 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.
Previously, applicants in these categories did not require an in-person interview in order for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. They are typically waived for most applicants. Under the Executive Order, in-person interviews may no longer be waived as they are expected to 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.
Beyond these two categories, USCIS is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types, which means that a bigger pool of applicants may be impacted. For more information about this change, please follow this link to the USCIS dedicated web page on this topic.
If you are affected by this development and would like information about the immigration process, please contact us. We are here to help. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn for up-to-date immigration news.
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