August 28, 2017. WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a statement that it will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applicants whose benefit, if granted, would allow them to permanently reside in the United States. This changed policy is adopted in line with President’s Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,”. Agency claims that it is part of comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the immigration system.
The statement notes, effective Oct. 1 , USCIS will begin to phase-in interviews for the following:
- Adjustment of status applications (I-485) based on employment (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4, EB-5)
- Refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition) for beneficiaries who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylee/refugee applicant.
Previously, applicants in these categories did not require an in-person interview with USCIS officers in order for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. Beyond these categories, USCIS is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types.
Immigrant community would find this extra step as a burdensome and time-taking process. Nevertheless the applicable law, regulations, and the requirements and standards for adjudication of I-485 is still the same and one should not find this unusual.
Acting Director of USCIS, Mr. James W. McCament, claims that this change reflects the Administration’s commitment to upholding and strengthening the integrity of immigration system, and USCIS and our federal agencies are working collaboratively to develop more robust screening and vetting procedures for individuals seeking immigration benefits to reside in the United States.
USCIS states that the in-person interviews will provide USCIS officers with 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. USCIS plans to meet the additional interview requirement through enhancements in training and technology as well as transitions in some aspects of case management.
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