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.


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