USA Makes In-person Interview of Green Card Applicants Compulsory with Effect in October 2017

A new mandate for green card applicants in the United States! The US government has mandated in-person interview for employment-based visa holders applying for green cards in USA. The new addition to the green card application process is applicable to whoever is seeking lawful permanent residency in the US. It means that L1 and H1B visa holders who have already applied for green cards will have to undergo in-person interviews from October 1, 2017.

Confirmed by a representative of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the in-person interview of green card applicants is a result of the Trump Administration’s “extreme vetting” of immigrants in USA. Moreover, it will slow down the green card approval process.

In the fiscal 2015, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services issued green cards to approximately 168,000 immigrants in various categories of US visas, as per the data from the Homeland Security Department.

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In-person interview of green card applicants is relatively not new. Technically, it has long been part of the green card application process, but it was not mandatory for all. H1B, L1, R1, O and other employment-based visa holders having good records and immaculate work history would be exempted from in-person interview for green cards until this requirement is made an unavoidable part of the “extreme vetting” expansion policy, according to a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

A spokesperson for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Carter Langston clearly stated that in-person interview of green card applicants would no longer be waived. Rather, it will incrementally expand in the future. The new mandate for those seeking permanent residency in USA has now been added to the comprehensive plan to detect frauds and mitigate national security risks, according to Carter Langston.

Apart from the employment-based visa holders, the visa-holding family members of refugees who have been provided asylum in USA need to appear for in-person interviews while applying for provisional status before they undergo the green card application process.

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In-person interview of green card applicants is “a colossal waste of everyone’s time,” according to a leading US immigration attorney. The new change to the green card application process will certainly add to the workload of the federal agency, thereby increasing wait times for the applicants. As of June 2017, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services started processing green card applications which were submitted more than six months before.

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There are yet no details about the venue for in-person interview of green card applicants. Watch out this space for the next update and subscribe to our free newsletter for the latest visa, immigration, travel and Indian community news.

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