As of October 1, 2017, many more green card applicants must appear at USCIS offices for in-person interviews. This change could affect hundreds of thousands of people applying for lawful permanent residence. The USCIS will be phasing in interviews for all employment-based green card applicants as well as others.
This new mandate will undoubtedly slow down the green card process, which is already quite backlogged. The USCIS has not officially announced specific plans to phase in the new workload but according to a recent stakeholder call with the USCIS Ombudsman, here's what we could expect:
- Employment-based adjustment of status applicants who applied before March 6, 2017 will fall under prior procedures, i.e. interview requirement will be waived for the majority of applicants.
- All employment-based adjustment of status applicants (based on Eb-1, EB-2, and EB-3 category) who filed on or after March 6, 2017, will undergo in-person interviews before final decision on the applications.
- Dependent spouse and children must attend the interview; however, USCIS could exempt children under 14 for interview. While the USCIS will try to interview family members together, it is possible that each applicant is interviewed separately.
- Officers are unlikely to review the approved I-140 applications at the interview; however, they may require you to bring documents used to support the I-140 so as to verify accuracy and credibility.
Additional updates to this new mandated interview procedure are expected and will be reported as soon as available. Consult with a qualified immigration attorney before taking any action on your immigration case.