New Details About In-Person Interviews for Green Card


On Thursday, September 28th, the Citizenship and Immigration Services ("CIS") Ombudsman held a teleconference to provide further details regarding USCIS' announcement it will expand mandatory in-person interviews for certain green card applicants, notably applicants applying for employment-based adjustments of status. As stated in the call, the interviews will be phased in incrementally. Field offices will interview all applicants with cases filed for Fiscal Year 2018 on or after March 6, 2017, with all Fiscal Year 2019 applicants being interviewed at the designated field office. Applicants who filed prior to March 6, 2017 will be interviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The CIS Ombudsman teleconference explained that the field offices will determine the interview schedule availability while the National Benefits Center ("NBC") will review the schedule and create the interview notice to be sent to the applicant and attorney. As stated Thursday, the NBC began sending interview notices around September 1, 2017. Applicants will not receive a transfer notice, though the interview notice will serve as notice that the case has been moved to the field office.

For the interview, applicants for employment-based green cards should be able to explain how they qualify for their green card positions, as well as answer questions regarding where they will work, the duties to be performed, their educational background, and experience. Family members will also need to provide evidence that they possess a bona fide relationship with the principal applicant. While the interviews for family members will most likely occur at the same time as the principal applicants, dependents may be interviewed at a separate time if applications are filed separately.

The CIS Ombudsman noted that officers are instructed not to re-adjudicate approved I-140s but will be assessing the validity and credibility of documents and information in the underlining I-140 petition. If additional documentation is required, NBC will issue a Request for Evidence asking for the missing documentation. If an officer finds the provided evidence not credible, the I-485 and I-140 will be returned to the service center with a Notice of Intent to Deny issued to clarify and overcome any issues. Finally, officers with "same or similar" concerns are instructed to reach out to service centers for clarifications without being required to return the case to the service center.

Please contact your Goel & Anderson attorney if you have any questions.