Immigrants with work visas who are trying to get green cards are likely to see delays in the process. On Aug. 28, the U.S. Citizenship and immigrantion Services announced that they will be required to submit to an in-person interview once their I-485 green card applications are submitted.
In-person interviews were already part of the green card vetting process, but the interviews have typically been waived over the past decade. The USCIS says that there will be no further waivers.
According to one immigrantion law advocate, everyone with a pending I-485 application for permanent residence status should expect the interview. Others here on work visas should expect to be scheduled for an interview once they reach the I-485 step in the process.
The change is due to President Trump’s travel ban executive order, according to the USCIS. That order called on federal agencies to come up with “a uniform baseline for screening and vetting standards and procedures, such as in-person interviews.”
This was part of the “extreme vetting” strategy that Trump campaigned on. The goal is to further enhance fraud prevention and detection and to limit security risks to the U.S., according to a USCIS spokesperson.
Critics, however, say that limited security resources could be better spent in other areas. Targeting people who are already in the United States on valid visas and who are seeking to become lawful permanent residents seems unlikely to garner results. They have already been subjected to fingerprint screening and background checks. Moreover, the newest version of the I-485 application has a supplement form meant to confirm the continued existence of a bona fide job offer.
Unfortunately, the mandate for in-person interviews will likely mean an increase in in-person interviews by a hundred thousand or more. The USCIS is unlikely to be able to ramp up its capacity very quickly, as the agency is already taking “a very long time” to process a number of different petitions and applications, according to the immigrantion advocate.
The USCIS also confirmed that the agency will soon begin requiring in-person interviews for people seeking green cards who have other types of visas, as well.