USCIS Will Apparently No Longer Waive Interviews For Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applicants
On August 28, 2017 USCIS announced that it would begin ‘expanding’ the in-person interview requirement to include applicants for employment-based grant of adjustment of status to permanent resident (I-485 applicants). According to the announcement, this requirement is being imposed as “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.” By way of background, interviews had been required of all adjustment of status applicants prior to the 1990’s, when USCIS (then known as INS) decided that in person interviews could generally be waived in the interest of administrative efficiency.
There have been no further announcements from USCIS on this issue since that date, and there is some ambiguity in the August 28 announcement as to whether all employment-based applications filed or pending after October 1 will be interviewed, or whether there will be a gradual phase in of this requirement for those applications. For the present, we now assume that USCIS intends to interview all employment-based I-485 applicants.
Our office has begun receiving ‘transfer notices’ on pending employment-based I-485 applications, which is indication that USCIS is now transferring cases from the Service Centers to a local USCIS office in order for interview to be scheduled.
One must assume that this new interview policy will have the net effect of prolonging the adjudication time for employment-based I-485 applications overall.
* * *
Finnan, Fleischut & Associates will continue to keep our clients advised of important developments in this area. If you have specific questions about how these developments affect a current or possible future situation, please contact us.