As part of President Donald Trump’s executive order to apply “extreme vetting” to immigrants and visitors to the U.S., U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has stipulated new in-person interview requirements for certain categories of applicants who apply for permanent residency. The policy change complies with Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” and is aimed at further enhancing the integrity of the immigration system in the country.
The new policy will come into effect from October 1, 2017 and will be applicable to the applications in the following categories:
- Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
- Refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition) for beneficiaries who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylee/refugee applicant.
Prior to the notification of the new policy, applicants for permanent residency in the above categories were not required to attend the in-person interview for the adjudication of their application.
USCIS plans to incrementally expand the interviews to other categories.
Acting USCIS Director James W. McCament said that, “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.”
The new policy is likely to affect around 180,000 people per year and further lengthen the existing wait times for green card applications. As per the USCIS tracking tool, it took an average of 333 days for processing employment-based applications with interview waivers, as on September 30, 2016.