United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed that as of October 1, 2017, an interview will be required for all employment-based green card applicants. This includes applicants in the EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 visa categories. Interviews will also be required for individuals requesting refugee and asylee status.
The law currently provides that all green card applicants should be interviewed unless USCIS waives the interview. For many years USCIS’s policy has been to waive interviews for employment-based green card applicants where: (1) the applicant is employed by the same petitioner who submitted the approved underlying employment-based visa petition; (2) the applicant has been approved as a person of extraordinary ability or exceptional ability; or (3) the applicant has been approved as a multinational executive/manager and has a continuing offer of employment from the same petitioner who submitted the underlying approved petition. This policy resulted in a majority of employment-based green card applicants having the interview requirement waived.
As part of President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”, USCIS has confirmed that there is now a new directive whereby all employment-based green card applicants will be required to appear for an interview prior to the adjudication of their green card applications.
On October 1, 2017, USCIS will begin to schedule interviews for employment-based green card applicants and refugee/asylee petitions. USCIS is also planning on an incremental expansion of interviews for other types of green card applicants in the future.
The USCIS has not yet clarified whether the interview requirements will be mandated for existing cases, or whether the interview requirements apply only to new applications. We expect further guidance from the USCIS will be released in the coming weeks.
This new directive will impact approximately 180,000 people a year and is likely to increase processing times for employment-based green card applications. To mitigate the delay in processing times , USCIS plans to implement enhancements in training and technology, and transition certain aspects of case management.
Should you receive a notification that an interview has been scheduled for your permanent residency matter, applicants are encouraged to reach out to their legal counsel for support and further guidance. While PwC Law should receive all notifications of scheduled interviews for applications it has filed, there is no guarantee that we will always receive them, so it is imperative for applicants to stay vigilant and let PwC Law know immediately when a notice has been received.
PwC Law continues to monitor this matter and will be sure to update you as changes occur.
For further details regarding the recent change in policy regarding green card interviews, or any other immigration matter, please contact a member of our team.