USCIS spokesperson Carter Langston confirmed that as of October 1, 2017, the employment-based green card process will include an in-person interview.

Formal interviews have been a possibility for employment-based permanent residency applicants. However, for the last 10 years, employment-based green card applicants generally had the interview waived. Historically, in-person interviews were a sign of trouble, indicating additional evidence was needed to be vetted at the interview. Langston reported that this is “part of a comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and security risks to the United States.” He further clarified that conducting in-person interviews will provide officers the opportunity to verify the information provided in an individual’s application, to discover new information that may be relevant to the adjudication process, and to determine the credibility of the individual seeking permanent residence in the United States.

This increase in in-person interviews was part of President Donald Trump’s “extreme vetting” plan outlined his travel ban executive order.

Many employment-based green card applicants have already been in the U.S. for many years as non-immigrants, have been interviewed in-person for temporary visas at U.S. embassies or consulates abroad on numerous occasions, and have often been working for years for the same companies that ultimately have become their green card sponsors. Additionally, USCIS announced that family members of refugees or asylees will be required to have an in-person interview for provisional status. Reinstituting the interview requirements for employment-based applicants and adding requirements for refugees and asylees will amount to more than 100,000 additional applicants a year being interviewed at local USCIS offices. This undoubtedly will increase USCIS backlogs and lengthen the already years-long long process of obtaining a green card or entering as a refugee or asylee.

Jackson Lewis has experience and expertise in preparing clients for immigrant and non-immigrant interviews. If you have questions about the process, please let us know. We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available about the new requirements.