USCIS indicated that all applicants with employment-based I-485 applications filed after March 6, 2017 will be issued notices to attend an interview at their local USCIS field office before their case will be approved. Cases filed prior to March 6, 2017 will continue to be adjudicated by the USCIS service centers without an interview, while cases filed after March 6 will be forwarded to the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) to be pre-adjudicated, then sent to local field offices for interviews. Starting October 1, 2018 all I-485 and associated applications will be filed directly with the NBC and all applicants will be subject to interviews.
How will the interview process work?
Once an I-485 application is forwarded to the NBC and ready for adjudication, the NBC will issue an interview notice to the applicant and their attorney, about 30 days prior to the interview date. Dependent family members, including children, will each receive their own interview notice, and the field offices will strive to schedule family appointments together. The interview notice will contain a list of recommended documentation to bring to the interview. Please note that not every document listed on the notice will be applicable to each applicant. We will work with our clients to help them prepare the necessary documents.
What will be asked in the interview?
The ultimate goal of the field office interview is to detect fraud or ineligibility for permanent residence. USCIS has indicated that officers may ask applicants the same or similar yes/no eligibility questions as listed on the I-485 form which the applicant has already completed. They will also ask the primary applicant about the permanent job offer and his/her education and work experience as presented in the approved I-140 petition. Spouses and children attending the interviews may be asked to present marriage and birth certificates, and potentially additional documentation, to verify their relationship to the primary applicant.
If officers have any doubts or questions after the interview process, they may request additional documents from the applicants or consult with USCIS before final adjudication. USCIS has not provided any information regarding how the interview process will affect the processing time for I-485s, but we expect that those cases selected for interview will be delayed by at least a few months.
RSST Law Group will continue to provide additional relevant information as it becomes available. If you have questions about how this interview requirement may affect your employees, please contact our office.