September 29, 2017 – USCIS has confirmed that effective October 1, 2017, in-person interviews will be required for all applicants filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status based on underlying I-140s. Any I-485 applications (including those for derivative family members) filed on or after March 6, 2017 will be affected by this new requirement. During a teleconference on September 28, 2017 with the Associate Director of Field Operations at USCIS, stakeholders were assured that these interviews would not involve a readjudication of underlying I-140 petitions, but would mirror similar permanent resident interviews based on employment conducted by the Department of State abroad, where the bona fides of the supporting I-140 documents would be verified, and each applicant’s eligibility and admissibility assessed. The Associate Director admitted this would have some impact on processing times, but maintained it would not cause an inordinate slowdown. Employer sponsors are not required to be at the I-485 interviews (and indeed, may not even be permitted to attend, although we should learn more on this soon). As adjustment applicants receive work and travel permission as part of the adjustment process, this development should not hamper applicants’ ability to work while they await their green cards, although the requirement adds yet another administrative hurdle to an already lengthy process. We expect further information as the program is implemented in the coming weeks.
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