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In-Person Interviews Expanded for Immigration Applicants

On August 25th, 2017, the U.S Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that in-person interviews for immigration benefit applicants were being expanded. This change complies with Trump Administration’s Executive Order 13780, “Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” and is part of USCIS’s strategy to further improve efforts to detect and prevent fraud. The interviews will begin on October 1st, 2017.

The USCIS will conduct interviews for:

  • Applications for lawful permanent resident status through offer of employment
  • Refugee relative petitions, which allows immigrants already living in the United States to file for their spouses and children to join them

What Has Changed?

Presently, applicants falling under either one of those categories are not required to complete an in-person interview with USCIS and applications for permanent residency can be adjudicated without an interview. While the USCIS can request an interview with any applicant at any time, they are typically not required for these types of applications.

The USCIS is planning to expand interviews to other benefit types as well, although it’s unclear at this time what other application types will require an in-person interview in the future.

“This change reflects the Administration’s commitment to upholding and strengthening the integrity of our nation’s immigration system,” said James W. McCament, acting USCIS director. “USCIS and our federal partners are working collaboratively to develop more robust screening and vetting procedures for individuals seeking immigration benefits to reside in the United States.”

USCIS officers believe that conducting in-person interviews will make it easier for them to verify the information provided in each immigrant’s application. It will also give them an opportunity to discover new information that may be relevant to the adjudication process, as well as determine the credibility of each individual seeking permanent residency in the United States.

The USCIS is charged with adjudicating more than six million applications for immigration benefits each year, and many are concerned that these new interview requirements will only put additional strain on the system, which will cause delays in the processing of applications. To meet the requirements of the additional interviews, USCIS is planning to enhance training and improve technology, along with transitions in case management.

Who Will Be Affected?

Immigrants nationwide, including those living in Texas, will be affected by this change. There will now be more requirements for employment-based green card sponsorship. Finding employment as an immigrant could also take longer due to these new in-person interview requirements. And many fear that since immigrants will need to go through in-person interviews in order to have their spouses and children join them in the United States, there will be an increase in the number of denials, as well as significant backlogs in processing, which will put additional strain on core family units that are presently separated by hundreds – and sometimes even thousands – of miles.

Finding Legal Help

If you or a loved one are concerned about the new interview requirements for applicants, don’t hesitate to contact Lyttle Law Firm to schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.

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