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Employment-based green card applicants to be subject to in-person interview

Effective October 1, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will require employment-based visa holders who are applying for lawful permanent residence to attend an in-person interview. Currently, such interviews are generally waived. However, under the new policy, such waivers won't be granted.

USCIS has not released any information concerning logistics and staffing, but applicants should anticipate additional delays in the green card process as USCIS will have to handle a greater number of mandatory interviews. According to the USCIS, immigration officers will seek to validate information provided in the application, discover new information and evaluate the credibility of applicants during the interviews. The policy change is part of President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban Executive Order (“Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”) in order to develop “uniform screening and vetting standards” to identify terrorists or people who “present a risk of causing harm.”

USCIS also stated that visa holders who are family members of refugees or people who receive asylum will also be required to undergo an in-person interview when they apply for provisional status, a stage that precedes receiving a green card. According to statistics from the Department of Homeland Security, nearly 168,000 immigrants obtained lawful permanent residency in fiscal year 2015. Of these, roughly 122,000 people moved from an employment-based visa to a green card.