Immigrants seeking to become permanent residents in US face personal interviews

by Ray Clancy on August 29, 2017

The United States is introducing more personal interviews for certain immigrants seeking to work and become permanent residents, it has been announced.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that it will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration applicants from the beginning of October.

(fizkes/Bigstock.com)

The change is to comply with the recent executive orders introduced by President Donald Trump aimed at protecting the United States from terrorists, but it is likely to slow down an already slow process for obtaining a green card.

‘It is part of the agency’s comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the immigration system,’ said a USCIS spokesman.

Those likely to be called for an interview include foreigners seeking an adjustment of status applications based on employment, refugee or asylum relative petitions and beneficiaries who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylum or refugee applicant.

Previously, applicants in these categories did not require an in-person interview with USCIS officers in order for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. Beyond these categories, USCIS is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types.

While requiring applicants to be interviewed is already provided for within the law, USCIS has tended in recent years to waive the interview for broad categories of applicants to concentrate on higher risk cases and reduce waiting times.

There are concerns that more interview will slow the process down considerably. According to official figures as of the end of September 2016 it took an average of 333 days, just under a year, to process employment-based applications.

‘This change reflects the Administration’s commitment to upholding and strengthening the integrity of our nation’s immigration system. USCIS and our federal partners are working collaboratively to develop more robust screening and vetting procedures for individuals seeking immigration benefits to reside in the United States,’ said acting USCIS director James McCament.

He explained that conducting in-person interviews will provide USCIS officers with the opportunity to verify the information provided in an individual’s application, to discover new information that may be relevant to the adjudication process, and to determine the credibility of the individual seeking permanent residence in the United States.

USCIS said that it will meet the additional interview requirement through enhancements in training and technology as well as transitions in some aspects of case management.

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