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New USCIS measure for employment-based green cards

Today, the USCIS announced that it will require in-person interviews for employment-based green cards. The interview will happen at the last step of the process (adjustment of status). According to the USCIS, it put this new measure in place to comply with the “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” executive order. The executive order called for a stricter vetting process for all individuals planning to enter the US.

H1B To Green Card

The US immigration legislation offers multiple paths to permanent residency.  One of the primary proceedings is immigration through employment. The most common path to an employment-based green card is the H1B visa. For most H1B visa holders, the first step is the PERM labor certification. It is where the employer has to satisfy a set of requirements issued by the department of labor. After the PERM, the employer has to file an immigrant petition for alien worker (I-140). The last stage is when the employee files for an adjustment of status (I-485). In this step, the employee is requesting to go from a non-immigrant status (H1B) to permanent residency (Green Card). Previously, the adjustment of status didn’t require an in-person interview but that’s about to change on October 1st 2017.

The Interview

By implementing the in-person interview, the USCIS intends to provide officers with more data. USCIS officers will be able to verify the applicant’s information and discover new information relating to the process. They will also be more effective at determining the credibility of the person seeking permanent residency. The USCIS is planning to expand in-person interviews to other categories as well over time.

It is still unclear what the interview will consist of and what questions will be asked. However, given the intent of the USCIS, the interview likely to be similar to interviews conducted at US consulates. We will certainly learn more after October 1st once the UCIS starts conducting interview.

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