It’s now official! On August 25, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed that, as a part of President Trump’s “extreme vetting” directives, potential legal immigrant workers will be required to bear in-person interviews with USCIS.
This new interview requirement can apply to anyone moving from an employment-based visa to lawful permanent residency. The new mandate will also require visa holders who are relations of refugees or persons who receive asylum, to undergo an in-person interview after they apply for provisional status – a stage that precedes permanent residency.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have expressed that these interviews are “phased-in” beginning October 1, 2017. There is no additional guidance as to how long the phase-in period will be. USCIS will also take time in determining the impact that these new procedures will place on processing times.
Interviews are already a part of the immigration process, and, in the past, USCIS conducted them for ALL cases, which was their standard protocol.
However, decades past, USCIS started habitually waiving in-person interviews for employment-based cases at its field offices to avoid duplicating the efforts of USCIS Service Centers, that vetted the cases. Under this new policy, USCIS will not grant such waivers.
The added interview workload and necessary field office training will surely lengthen wait times for permanent resident applicants. Employers and staff ought to plan accordingly for these delays.