Updates to USCIS Employment-Based Greencard Interview Procedures

22:05 19 October in News Updates

LAC previously notified our clients that effective October 1, 2017, USCIS would begin conducting in-person interviews of all applicants seeking employment-based (EB) greencards.

Since announcing the implementation of these new procedures, USCIS has issued the following updates:

Which cases will require an interview?

  • Every applicant who filed an employment-based I-485 Adjustment of Status (AOS) application after March 6, 2017 will require an interview before the greencard can be approved.
  • AOS applications filed prior to that date may still be called for interview on a case-by-case basis following previous procedures.  USCIS reports that 5 to 10 percent of EB AOS cases have been routinely referred to Field Offices for interview.
  • Derivatives (spouse and children) who filed their own AOS application based on the primary applicant’s I-140 petition will also be scheduled for interview.  USCIS will consider waiving the interview requirement for children under the age of 14.
  • USCIS will endeavor to schedule family groups together.

How will USCIS handle the transfer of AOS files from the Service Centers to the local Field Offices?

  • Under the new interview procedures, the Nebraska and Texas Service Centers will receive the AOS applications and transfer them to the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) in Missouri to ready the files for interview.
  • The NBC will be responsible for scheduling cases for interview at the USCIS Field Office with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence.
  • Once the NBC has sent out the interview notice, the file is transferred to the Field Office for completion of the interview.
  • Applicants and the attorney of record should each receive an interview notice in the mail approximately 30 days prior to the interview.

Which field offices are expected to have the highest EB interview caseload?

  • San Jose
  • San Francisco
  • Newark
  • NY
  • Houston
  • Seattle
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Atlanta
  • Los Angeles

What questions can applicants expect at the interview?

  • USCIS indicated that while officers are not to re-adjudicate approved I-140 petitions, applicants will be expected to be able to articulate the educational background and experience that qualifies them for the position, andwhich formed the basis for the approval of the I-140 petition.
  • Applicants should be able to verify the information provided on the AOS application.
  • Derivative spouses should expect questions as to the bona fides (good faith) of their relationship to the principal applicant.

Will greencard processing times increase due to the new interview requirement?

  • EB interviews will constitute approximately 17 percent of interviews conducted by Field Offices.   USCIS anticipates a small impact to EB AOS processing times due to this additional workload.  However, USCIS indicated that processing times for family-based AOS cases and naturalization cases will increase as EB matters will be prioritized.

How can applicants prepare for the interview?

  • When the AOS application is filed with USCIS, LAC will provide applicants with a complete copy of the application.  Applicants should carefully review the application both prior to signing and filing the application, and again prior to the interview.
  • Once the interview has been scheduled, LAC will arrange a phone or in-person consultation with the applicant to review any legal issues pertinent to the interview process.
  • LAC attorneys are available to accompany applicants to the interview as requested.  Please contact us for information on the legal fee for this additional service.

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