Starting on October 1, 2017, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will require in-person interviews for (1) employment based adjustment of status (AOS) applicants and (2) for refugee or asylee relative petition beneficiaries who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylee or refugee applicant. This change will impact any EB-1A clients wishing to enter the United States and file for Adjustment of Status as an alternative to obtaining permanent residency through the Consular process abroad.
HOW TO EXPLAIN THE PURPOSE OF THE INTERVIEW TO YOUR CLIENT
The personal interview is a non-adversarial meeting with a USCIS officer. The officer’s goals may include to (1) confirm the information submitting in the individual’s application, (2) discover new information that may be relevant to the adjudication process, and (3) determine the credibility of the person seeking permanent residence in the United States. The officer will ask client about their relationships, intentions, immigration history, and basic demographic information.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING AND AFTER THE INTERVIEW
These interviews are often simply a conversation with the USCIS Officer. The Office will usually review the client’s original immigration and identity documents, ask the client to confirm the information provided on the Adjustment of Status application, and ask the client for a bit of additional information if the officer is confused or concerned by anything in the application. Most interviews are over in under 30 minutes.
There are four common interview outcomes. First, if the officer is satisfied and the client’s priority date is current the officer may approve the case the same day. In this case the client can typically expect to receive their green card in the mail within a few months of the approval. Second, the officer may hold the petition for further processing. Third, the officer may issue a new request for evidence (RFE). Finally, if the client’s priority date is not current the officer may indicate that everything in the application looks approvable, but the application will need to be shipped to a storage facility to be held until the priority date becomes current and an immigrant visa is available.
INTERPRETERS FOR CLIENTS NOT FLUENT IN ENGLISH
USCIS typically does not provide foreign language interpreters at adjustment of status interviews. The officer also may not allow your spouse or your sponsor to translate for you. As a result, clients who are not fluent in English may find it in their interest to hire an interpreter to attend the interview with them. Before the interview the client and interpreter will need to jointly submit Form G-1256 and the interpreter should bring his valid government-issued identity document and complete an interpreter’s oath and privacy release statement.