Practical Tips for the New Employment Based I-485 Interviews

In August, USCIS announced that it will begin to conduct in-person interviews of applicants seeking employment-based green cards through adjustment of status. We later learned that USCIS is only interviewing those who filed their employment-based adjustment of status applications on or after March 5, 2017.

Last week, EIG released our FAQs on the new in-person interview requirement. While EIG will conduct a thorough preparation with you in advance of your interview, here are some quick practical tips on what how to prepare for an employment-based adjustment of status interview.

TIP 1 – Organize Your Documents in Advance
The USCIS officer will need to see numerous original documents in order to approve your application – including your birth certificate, original immigration documents and approvals, passport, and marriage certificate (if applicable), so have your documents organized. We recommend that you organize the original documents in an accordion style binder, so when the officer asks to see your birth certificate, you can produce it in seconds. The more organized you are for the interview, the happier this will make the interviewing officer, keeping in mind that he/she wants to complete the interview just as fast as you do.

TIP 2 – Wear Business Casual
We recommend wearing business casual attire for your interview.

TIP 3 – Bring a Book 
You will receive an interview notice with a time and date, but your interview is not guaranteed to start at the time listed on your notice. Similar to the DMV, you will be sitting in a large room with other green card applicants, waiting to be called. Some local USCIS offices are extremely efficient, and other unfortunately are not, and you may have to wait 1-2 hours for your interview. Bring a book, a magazine, an e-reader, etc. Some waiting rooms have restrictions on cell phone use, so do not expect to be productive while waiting to be called for your interview.

TIP 4 – Be Pleasant and Respectful 
It is important to be respectful to the officer, answering questions with a yes or no, as applicable, and being polite. The interview may be formal or informal, depending on the officer’s personality. Some officers will be extremely friendly and others may be all business. One thing officers have in common is that they likely have a full docket of interviews scheduled each day – ranging from 10-15 – so the more pleasant and respectful you can make the interview for them, the more it will improve your chances of getting out of your interview quickly, with a favorable adjudication.

TIP 5 – Don’t Expect an Immediate Decision 
Once the interview is concluded, the officer will let you know the next steps in the process. Some officers may have the authority to tell you the application has been approved, while other officers will have to get supervisory approval. If the latter, you should receive a written formal decision within a few weeks of the actual interview.

While these new interviews may be a great unknown for most applicants, hopefully these tips will help you feel more confident as you prepare you for your big day