Interviews for Employment Based I-485’s: What we Know so Far

3EB2E8ED-35F7-451D-B3AF-96539B02C187Beginning on October 2, 2017, USCIS started sending out interview notices for I-140 based adjustment of status applications. As of that date, all I-140 Adjustment of Status applications filed after March 6, 2017 will be subject to interviews. In case you were unaware, March 6, 2017 is the date the President signed Executive Order 13780m which began the whole move towards more intense scrutiny of applications. Below is some of the nitty gritty details of how this will work.

First, all approved I-140s (with their pending I-485 applications) will be routed to the National Benefits Center. Therefore, the most likely first notice you will receive after the approval of the I-140 is that your I-485 has been transferred to the NBC. The NBC will ensure that the case is ready for adjudication and, if necessary, issue an RFE for additional evidence that is needed to adjudicate the case. One thing to note in our experience so far: While NBC is fairly good at doing this, they do miss things sometimes. We would urge people to check the dates on their medical exams and, if you get an interview notice and more than 1 year has passed, get a new medical and bring it to the interview (otherwise the officer at the interview will request a new medical). Once they feel everything is set, they will send it on to the local office for an interview.

Second, the local office will NOT re-adjudicate the I-140. However, the local officers WILL assess the validity of the supporting documents and evaluate whether the evidence submitted was accurate, bona fide and credible. If the officer feels the underlying I-140 is not valid, they need to send the application back to the service center to re-evaluate it. The local office will ask where the foreigner is going to be working, what they are going to be doing, and could ask about experience and education as well. In addition, in employer sponsored cases they will check to make sure that the employer still intends to hire the employee in the requisite position, as well as questions about admissibility and maintenance of status.

If there are dependents, the local office will also be asked questions regarding their relationship tot he principal and to establish the bona fides of that relationship.

Third, in terms of what to prepare for the interview. For self-sponsored applications, despite the fact that the central office stated that they trained personnel on I-140 applications, in our experience the local offices have no clue what these applications are or what is required by them. It may be advantageous, because of this, to bring your attorney to the interview (at least until things settle down). In addition, you should make sure to bring all necessary documents to show maintenance of status, about any arrests or other grounds of potential inadmissibility, as well as employment documentation showing you intend to continue working in your field. If you were sponsored by an employer, you need documentation showing that the employer who sponsored you is still seeking to hire you in the same position OR that you have a new position at a new employer that is the same or similar to the original position (if the I-485 has been pending for at least 6 months). You should also bring a completed and singed I-485J. Also remember, that if you do have dependents they need to bring evidence of the bona fide relationship (marriage and birth certificate, evidence of join assets, home ownership, rental agreements, etc.). Lastly, as stated above, bring a new medical if necessary.

Remember, the purpose of the interview is to develop a more robust screening and vetting process. You need to be prepared.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

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