USCIS Will Require In-Person Interviews For All Employment-Based Green Card Applicants

On Monday, August 28, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will begin to phase-in interviews for employment-based I-485 adjustment of status (green card) applications as of October 1, 2017. This change complies with Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”

According to USCIS:

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.

Current USCIS policy, which has been in place for decades, does not require most employment-based green card applicants to undergo an in-person interview as part of the adjudication process. In fact, in 2005, USCIS issued a memo, entitled Revised Interview Waiver Criteria for Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, outlining the criteria to be used in identifying cases that should be scheduled for in-person interviews. These criteria were used to eliminate the significant backlogs that existed at the time.

This change to long-standing policy will significantly impact the workload of local USCIS offices and will almost certainly result in long backlogs for employment-based I-485 adjustment of status applications.

USCIS also indicated that it is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types.

    • This policy only impacts employment-based I-485 green card applications.
    • This is the second USCIS policy revision in the span of 10 days. On August 23, 2017, Loke Walsh Immigration Law posted an update about USCIS denying I-131 travel documents for abandonment due to international travel. Both these policy revisions only apply to individuals with pending I-485 adjustment of status (green card) applications.