On Friday (August 25th), a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) spokesperson confirmed that, starting October 1, 2017, in-person interviews will be required for certain immigrants adjusting status from an employment-based visa (e.g.: H-1B, TN, L-1B) to that of a lawful permanent resident.
This in-person interview requirement is not completely new. It is currently required for certain individuals adjusting status based on a petition for alien relative (Form I-130) filed by a U.S. citizen spouse. In-person interviews were also required for some employment-based adjustments as recently as 2007.
This policy change is in line with President Trump’s promise to enhance screening of immigrants for the purpose of fraud detection and national security. The in-person interview requirement is expected to expand to additional adjustment of status categories in coming months.
Impact of the New Requirement on Processing Times
As it gets ready to implement this new requirement, USCIS will be taking steps to increase officer training and streamline operations to offset additional delays in processing times. USCIS is currently processing employment-based green card applications within 8-9 months of filing. The added in-person interview requirement, and the corresponding increase in workload, could increase that processing time by several months.
Although USCIS has yet released details regarding what questions will be asked of applicants, EIG expects it will follow the pattern of similar interviews, occurring at USCIS field offices. USCIS interviews typically include identity verification and a review of information provided on the forms.
EIG attorneys will continue to monitor this new policy and provide guidance, as well as one-on one interview preparation to employees.