Effective October 1st, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applicants. USCIS began to phase in interviews for the following:
- Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status) filed on or after March 6, 2017. Cases filed before March 6, 2017, will be adjudicated by USCIS Service Centers under prior procedures. Approximately five (5) to 10 percent of employment-based cases have been subject to interview, so the “odds” of a pre-March 6 case being pulled for interview remains about the same.
- 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. This requirement only applies to relatives of those who have been granted either Asylum or Refugee status.
These changes are expected to result in more than 130,000 additional interviews each year at USCIS District Offices. USCIS expects processing times to be impacted, particularly in the family-based and N-400 application lines. Employment-based adjustments should not slow down, given the annual goal to exhaust the employment-based numbers.
Applicants scheduled for interviews will receive an interview notice. USCIS will endeavor to schedule in family groups, as long their applications are filed at the same time. Note, however, that there may be extenuating circumstances that lead to instances where families cannot be interviewed at the same time.