USCIS to Expand In-Person Interviews for Certain Residency Applicants

As of October 1, 2017, USCIS will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain applicants for legal permanent residency. In particular, as of October 1st, USCIS will start requiring interviews for (1) Form I-485 applicants for adjustment of status to legal permanent residency whose I-485s are based on employment and (2) refugees and asylees (Form I-730) who are in the US following to join a principal asylee or refugee.

USCIS states that this policy will strengthen the integrity of our immigration system and provide it with the opportunity to verify information. However, these interviews are not only unnecessary but will only exacerbate the already tremendous backlog for interviews for family-based applicants for adjustment and for those applying to naturalize. It can take approximately six to eight months for an I-485 applicant based on marriage to obtain an interview. The extent to which these new misguided policy could slow this process down further is very troubling. Also, for employment-based I-485 applicants, who currently are not interviewed unless there is an important issue that must be verified, this expansion will not assist in properly adjudicating whether the applicant is working at the sponsoring company, the key issue for such a case. If USCIS is serious about fraud issues, it should conduct ad hoc investigations to ensure such employment.