A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Breaking News - Adjustment Applicants Based on Employment Must be Interviewed!

If you are applying for adjustment of status based on an offer of employment or other employment visa categories, you will be required to attend an in-person interview before your green card can be approved, according to an announcement by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today.  The new policy will be effective October 1, 2017.  

Dependents and family members of asylees and refugees will also be subject to the in-person interview requirement, when they petition to join the  principal  asylees and refugees by submitting the Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. 

For many years, employment-based applicants for adjustment of status were not required to attend in-person interviews, and their petitions were approved based on documentary evidence.  Only a handful of applications are selected for interviews for quality control and suspicion of fraud.   

According to USCIS, this change in policy is based on Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” and is 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. USCIS is also planning to expand the interview requirement to other categories of visa applications such as students. 

According to USCIS, in-person interviews will provide immigration 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."   When a person is interviewed, he or she is first placed under oath before testifying under penalty of perjury.  

It appears that the new policy will apply to all employment-based I-485 applications and refugee relatives I-730 petitions, without exception.  If so, substantial delay is expected, making the processing times of these cases even longer.  The agency is adding resources and beefing up technologies to accommodate this new requirement. 

October 1st is just a month away.  Applicants with such pending applications should get ready for these interviews.  Original and certified documents should be obtained as soon as possible.  These documents include birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce judgments, passports, income tax returns, employment verification letters, etc. 

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