USCIS Updates on Interviewing EB Adjustment of Status Applicants
On Wednesday October 11, 2017, USCIS held a teleconference and provided updates on the recently-announced policy of requiring interviews for all employment-based (EB) applicants for adjustment of status.
Who will be interviewed. USCIS will be interviewing all EB applicants whose applications were filed after March 6, 2017, including both the principal applicant, spouse and any children over age 14 (interview waiver can be requested for those 13 and under). USCIS’ goal is to interview family units together, but there is no guarantee separate interviews of family will not be scheduled.
Where interviews will take place. USCIS will schedule interviews at the USCIS Field Office having jurisdiction over the application, most often a large city nearest your residence or in a nearby state. Find out which USCIS office has jurisdiction over your application here.
Content of Interviews. Officials stated that they will be reviewing each applicant’s responses to questions asked on the Form I-485 and associated applications, ensuring the applicant has no criminal or immigration history that would bar the applicant from adjustment. USCIS has stated they will not “re-adjudicate” an I-140 Employer Petition, but the principal beneficiary should be prepared to answer routine questions about the job offer that made them eligible for adjustment of status, or about their current job offer, if they’ve “ported” from the employer who originally sponsored. If there is a question about eligibility or portability that cannot be resolved in the interview, the Field Office will send the petition back to the National Service Center for further action. Derivative beneficiaries may be asked questions about their relationship to the principal beneficiary (i.e. spousal relationships, parent-child relationships), and asked for documentary proof of the bona fides of the relationship.
Adjudication delays. USCIS states that implementing interviews for EB cases should only result in a 17% increase in their workload and does not believe it should dramatically affect processing times. USCIS states it will be giving interview “priority” to EB cases (over family-based and naturalization cases) as their priority dates become current. EB I-485 adjudications already take over a year without an interview, and family-based I-485s (which usually already require an interview) are hovering around 10-11 months nationwide. Just guessing, we estimate an increase in overall adjustment of status process between three and six months, but again, this is just a guess. We will have to wait and see what happens.