New Interview Requirements for Employment-Based I-485s
The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that it would begin conducting in-person interviews with employment-based (EB) I-485 applicants beginning on October 2, 2017. Until now, the USCIS has only conducted interviews on a case-by-case basis if they determined there was a need to do so.
The information being provided here was obtained from a phone call with the USCIS Ombudsman and members of the USCIS yesterday.
EB I-485 applications received by the USCIS prior to 03/06/2017 will not automatically be interviewed. Processing of those applications will be completed at the USCIS Service Centers unless there are specific applications that are identified for in-person interviews.
EB I-485 applications filed on or after 03/06/2017 will automatically be scheduled for interviews at the local USCIS field offices. There are currently 87 local field offices throughout the U.S.
The interviewing of EB I-485 applicants is a nation-wide implementation.
The USCIS Service Centers will complete preliminary processing of all EB I-485 applications before forwarding the files to the local USCIS office with jurisdiction over the applicant's place of residence.
Interview notices will be issued by the National Benefits Center (NBC) approximately 30-days before the interview date and then the file will be forwarded to the local USCIS field office.
The USCIS will not send transfer notices when a file is transferred to the local field office. Rather, the interview notice will serve as notice that the file is about to be transferred.
The USCIS may waive the interview requirement for applicants under the age of 14.
The I-140 petition is not supposed to be re-adjudicated during these interviews; however, the USCIS officer will validate that I-140 supporting evidence was accurate, bona fide and justified. For example, the USCIS officer may verify that the I-140 petitioner is still in business, that the job opportunity is still available, the requirements for the job opportunity and the fact that the applicant meets those job requirements.
I-485 applicants should expect to be questioned regarding:
All questions listed on the I-485 application.
Their admissibility to the U.S.
Their eligibility for the job opportunity, including where they are working, what they are doing, etc.
The bona fide relationship of any family members applying with the principal applicant.
Each family member will receive a separate interview notice; however, the USCIS will try to schedule and interview family members together.
Due to this additional interview requirement, the overall processing time of EB I-485 applications will likely increase.
The 10 USCIS field offices that will likely see the greatest delays from the new interview requirement are:
As more information becomes available regarding the new EB I-485 interview process, I will continue to share that with you.
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If you have any questions or concerns about the information provided in this email, please don't hesitate to contact me.