Trump Administration to require interviews for employment-based permanent residence applications

On Friday August 25, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed to Politico that certain permanent residence (green card) applicants must complete an in-person interview as part of the application process. The requirement will apply to anyone moving from a work visa to permanent residence, and is “part of President Donald Trump’s plan to apply ‘extreme vetting’ to immigrants and visitors to the U.S.”

Approximately 130,000 applicants are expected to be affected per year, and the requirement will be phased in over time.  Currently, interviews are largely waived unless there are criminal or inadmissibility issues. The new policy is expected to take effect on October 1, 2017.  The interviews will presumably occur at local USCIS Field Offices, where interviews for certain family-based green cards and naturalization applications already take place.

This new policy will certainly introduce delays to the permanent residence process. Additional reporting by NBC News mentioned that the interview requirement could expand to other populations; however, this had not been confirmed at the time of writing. We are watching this closely; further updates will be posted here as more information becomes available.

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2017