As of October 1, 2017, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start expanding the in-person interview requirement for employment based green card cases and refugee/asylee relative petitions for beneficiaries who are in the United States.   USCIS is moving forward with this change as part of the Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”

“This change reflects the Administration’s commitment to upholding and strengthening the integrity of our nation’s immigration system,” said Acting USCIS Director James W. McCament. “USCIS and our federal partners are working collaboratively to develop more robust screening and vetting procedures for individuals seeking immigration benefits to reside in the United States.”

This will most likely result in a longer wait time for all green card cases which require an interview.   As in the past, USCIS is implementing new requirements without ensuring there is adequate staff to handle the new procedures.

Previously, most employment based green card cases were approved based on the paperwork and not an interview.   In some cases, where there may be a question of an immigration violation or an arrest record, the USCIS would schedule an interview.   This was a small percentage of cases.   In many instances, when an individual applies for an employment based green card, he or she has already gone through the vigorous security clearance process at the U.S. consulate for the work visa.   In addition, the information being vetted for an employment green card case does not typically require an interview with the employee.

The in-person interview process is helpful in cases such as the marriage based process.  The applicants for a marriage based green card need to demonstrate that their marriage is real.  In those cases, an in-person interview is helpful.

Applicants should expect this new interview requirement to start rolling out in October.

This information is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.  If you would like legal advice regarding your specific immigration case, please contact D. Benjamin at or contact us here.


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