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USCIS Expands In-Person Interview Requirements for Certain Permanent Residency Applicants

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that, effective October 1, 2017, it will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applications that currently do not require interview for approval.

The in-person interview requirement will initially be limited to two categories of benefit application:

  1. Applications for lawful permanent resident (LPR or “green card”) status through an offer of employment; and

  2. Petitions filed by asylees/refugees for their spouse and/or childr(en) to join them in the United States.

USCIS also indicated it will incrementally expand the in-person interview requirement to other as-yet unidentified benefit types. No time frame was provided.

The press release indicated that the new mandate is to comply with Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” and is intended as a measure to root out fraud and protect national security and public safety. USCIS already has the authority to conduct in-person interviews when deemed necessary. The agency explained it will enhance training and technology and adjust its case management processes to meet the additional interview requirements.

USCIS is charged with adjudicating more than six million applications for immigration benefits each year. The Service Centers currently used to handle large volumes of cases in centralized processing locations are not equipped to handle individual interviews. Those are handled at USCIS Field Offices, which do not have the space or staffing levels to accommodate large volumes of interviewees.

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About this Author

Jennifer Cory, Womble Carlyle Law Firm, Charlotte North Carolina, Immigration LawAttorney

Jennifer Cory leads Womble Carlyle Immigration Solutions, which provides management of inbound immigration services for domestic and international employers and investors. Jennifer has practiced immigration law since 1995 and is certified as a Specialist in Immigration Law by the North Carolina State Bar.

Jennifer’s work focuses on employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions, including, but not limited to, preparation of treaty investor/trader visa applications, H-1B temporary worker petitions and L-...