USCIS Appointment and Green Card Interview Rules – NEW

New USCIS Interview for Employment Based I485 Applicants

For the past 15 years, USCIS has only required in person interview of employment based I485 applicants in situations where the USCIS adjudicator believed the applicant may have committed fraud, violated their nonimmigrant status or had a criminal record.  On August 28, 2017 that all changed.  USCIS has announced that their new policy is phase in in-person interviews for all employment based applicants.  This includes employer sponsored EB2 and EB3 based applications as well as self sponsored EB1 and NIW based applications.  These interview are expected to begin on October 1, 2017.

Scope of Interview and Possible Interview Questions

To determine what USCIS is looking for in these new interview, we can look to their announcement itself.  In their announcement, USCIS states that

Conducting 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.

It becomes readily apparent that the purpose of these interviews is to find a reason to deny your application.  Similar to marriage based fraud interviews, USCIS will use their available resources to conduct an investigation of the application prior to their interview to determine whether or not the applicant or the applicant’s employer made an false or misleading statements or submitted any false or misleading documents in support of either the labor certification or I140.  Moreover, in addition to background checks previously performed, USCIS is likely to perform credit checks and internet searches to see if there is any information available that contradicts what was submitted in the filings.

In marriage green card interviews, the adjudicating officer will review the forms filed, the documents submitted, and the question the applicants to determine not only if they meet the minimum requirements but also if their relationship is genuine and bonafide.  Questions about maintenance of nonimmigrant status are unusual in those case but in these new USCIS interviews for employment based applicants, it is likely to be one of the primary focuses.  If you are on an employment based visa, expect to be asked questions regarding your work, your job duties, the job location and all related questions.  USCIS will want to see if you properly maintained your status and if they determine that you did not, your case may be denied.  Furthermore, the likely main focus will be on the job identified in the I140.  Why did the employer sponsor you?  How did you hear about the job?  Do you currently work there?  How about your past experience?  Is it legit?  Are you currently working there?  Who are your coworkers?

After we appear at some of these interviews, we’ll know exactly what to expect but this is a new hurdle for employment based I485 applicants and if your interview does not go well, expect big delays and possible denials.  And if you have a spouse or child who has filed a derivative I485, expect to be grilled over those relationships as well, especially if the marriage is young or either of you have been previously divorced.  Our office has extensive experience with USCIS interviews and we can assist you in this matter.  If you are scheduled for an interview at a local office in Chicago, IL, Milwaukee, WI, St. Louis, MO, Des Moines, IA, or Indianapolis, IN, we can help you.  Contact us here.


No COS/EOS Notation on I-94

Hello, we are a couple from Europe, Lithuania, we are 48 years old. We had a B1, B2 Visa for ten years. The last time we came to America, August 24.2010. Visa is valid until August 25 , 2010. We received a migration authorization (Form I-94) until November 15, 2010, with the words: “Stay Limited No EOS / COS. In November 2009, we asked the Migration extend our presence in United States. The first received a letter from the migration of the month, it was the standard migration Letter saying that our request is registered and received a fee. A second letter received from the migration in February 2011 with additional questions – Why do we require an extension. Responded to questions until March 7, 2011. And March 30, 2011 we received last migration letter stating that our request is denied.
We still have not left the country, we want to find a migration lawyer who could help us. We very much want to stay in this country, and to have legal status ….. Do we still have possibilities if you can help us??? Do we have the chance to obtain legal status, or to sponsor – the employer’s green card??? How much could it cost if we have another opportunity for legal status of any??? Are we still in force 180 days?
Looking forward to any response from you. Thank you for your time prevented. I hope for your help.
With respect.
I sincerely thank you.

A CBP “No EOS/COS/AOS” notation is not binding on USCIS and you can still obtain an extension from USCIS. That being said, your case has already been denied and it looks like the 30 day window to file a motion to reopen/reconsider has passed so you will most likely need to leave the country. We can help you obtain new visas at the Embassy to study or work here. You may have some other options so please contact our office for more information and be aware that the 3 year bar kicks in when you are out of status for 180 days.

Green Card Holder Sponsors Wife’s Adjustment of Status but Dies Before Approval

My husband was a green card holder filed AOS based on 245(i) for me on April of 2001.  My husband died recently; I went to USCIS office in Houston to ask for an AP to attend husband’s funeral abroad.

I was told that my AOS application was “dead” since the petitioner-my husband, not a USC, died. I was also told to file an I-360 as widower.

Is this the correct route to follow?

No, widow self-petitions are only available for spouses of U.S. Citizens. However, you may be eligible for humanitarian reinstatement of the I-130 which would allow you to continue to pursue the I-485. Please contact our office for further details.

I-485 Denied Due to Missed Biometrics Appointment

we were denied status adjustment and legal residence and travel (my wife) and they have told her she has 30 days to leave the country. we filed all paperwork and they said they sent us letters asking for additional information which we never got the first one. We then got a second letter we went into the office and spoke to them about the letter that we were told they sent and they said they had no such record of any letter being sent. Not to worry it was probably just the biometrics date. We now have received a letter stating denial and don’t know what to do. Please tell me how much it would be to file motions or appeals to reverse the decision on this. we have all documents needed and can provide any additional info required wanted needed or whatever. 

Assuming that you provided USCIS with your correct address and/or properly updated your address with USCIS, we can file a motion to reopen and get your filing back on track. Otherwise, you may have to refile your applications. It is very important to take care of this as soon as possible as there is typically a 30 day filing deadline for a motion to reopen and if you need to refile, it should be done before removal (deportation) proceedings are initiated.

Adjustment v Consular Processing

I just got my Green Card. May my wife, who is currently in Germany, adjust her status to permanent resident?

Adjustment of status application can only be filed by persons in the US. She will need to consular process her application. This simply means that she will need to apply through the State Department and the Embassy to obtain an immigrant visa. Once she obtains the immigrant visa she will be able to enter the US and will become a US permanent resident.

H1B Renewal While Adjustment of Status is Pending

I am now in an H1B status and it will expire in a month. I already filed an I-485 adjustment of status and my I-140 after the I-140 was approved. I also have an EAD card which is valid for another 9 months and I know I can extend it. Do I still need to extend my H1B visa?

It is likely in your best interest to extend your H1B unless you have already used your EAD to work for a different employer. If, for some reason, your I485 is denied, it is good to have your H1B as a backup. Otherwise you would be out of status if the I485 were denied.

I-360 for a Widow of Permanent Resident

My husband was a green card holder filed AOS based on 245(i) for me on April of 2001.  My husband died recently and I went to USCIS office in Houston to ask for an AP to attend husband’s funeral abroad. I was told that my AOS application was denied since the petitioner-my husband, not a USC, died. I was also told to file an I-360 as widower. Is this the correct route to follow?

No, widow self-petitions are only available for spouses of US citizens. We may be able to get your I-130 reinstated and appeal the adjustment denial. If you need our assistance, please feel free to call our office at 305-515-0613 or email us at

I-485 Approvals Before Priority Date is Current According to Latest Visa Bulletin

In the past couple months, we have been seeing some client obtain I-485 approvals where their priority date is not current.  This is contrary to the law and may lead to a future revocation.  The USCIS Service Centers are willing to allow an informal application to rescind the approval and allow the person to retain their pending I-485, along with any approved work or travel authorizations.  Failure to take action in this instance may preclude future immigration benefits such as naturalization and may cause the applicant to lose his or her place in the immigrant visa queue.