March 15th, 2019
USCIS Clarifies New Interview Requirement for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status
During a recent stakeholder call with USCIS, Associate Director of Field Operations Directorate, Dan Renaud, discussed the new interview requirement for employment-based adjustment of status applicants. Although it is not official agency guidance, a summary of the stakeholder call compiled by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) provides some new details concerning the expanded interview requirement and what to expect.
Who will be subject to the new interview requirement?
The interview requirement will apply to all employment-based adjustment of status applications based on a Form I-140 (EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3) and filed on or after March 6, 2017, the date of President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” Cases filed before March 6, 2017 will be subject to the previous adjudication process, under which approximately 5-10% of employment-based adjustment applications were subject to an interview. Under the new requirement, every principal applicant and derivative family member will be interviewed, though USCIS is considering waiving the requirement for applicants under the age of 14.
USCIS has also announced that it will expand the interview requirement to include I-730 refugee/asylee relative petitions. The USCIS call, however, only covered the interview requirement as it relates to employment-based adjustment of status applications.
When will interviews occur?
Interviews will take place only after the USCIS Service Center Operations (SCOPS) has adjudicated and approved the underlying I-140 petition. Interviews will then be conducted at field offices, where officers have been instructed not to re-adjudicate the approved I-140. Interviewing officers will, however, assess the I-140’s underlying supporting documents to determine if the evidence was accurate and credible.
What will be asked at the interview?
The interview will primarily focus on the applicant’s background and intentions. Officers will go over the applicant’s I-485 to ensure accuracy, particularly regarding admissibility and eligibility. Applicants will also be asked questions about their employment, educational background, and work history in order to determine the credibility of the I-140’s supporting documents. Derivative family members will also be interviewed and asked about their relationship to the principal applicant. For this reason, USCIS recommends bringing documents to confirm the relationship, such as birth and marriage certificates.
What happens if the officer denies my application?
If the Field Officer believes that an applicant is ineligible for adjustment of status, they will deny the I-485 and send the I-140 back to SCOPS. If the officer believes that the evidence supporting the I-140 is not credible, they will return both the I-140 and I-485 to SCOPS and recommend that SCOPS revoke the I-140. If SCOPS agrees with the Field Officer, it will issue a Notice of Intent to Revoke. If the applicant can overcome these revocation grounds, SCOPS will affirm the I-140 and adjudicate the I-485. If not, the I-140 will be revoked and the I-485 denied.