Sign In
  • September 13, 2017

    Longer Wait Times Expected for Green Card Applicants After Immigration Policy Change

    A change in policy by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services could result in much a longer wait time for immigrants applying for permanent resident status. Benjamin Kurten talks about the policy change, which affects previously exempt applicants.

    Benjamin T. Kurten

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it will begin scheduling in-person interviews for additional categories of individuals applying for permanent resident (aka Green Card) status.

    Benjamin Kurten Benjamin Kurten, U.W. 1997, is a shareholder at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren S.C., Milwaukee, and is the chairperson of Reinhart’s immigration group.

    USCIS, in its announcement, claims that this change in policy is an effort to comply with the March 6, 2017, Executive Order 13780 Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, and “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.”

    The agency has not, however, publically provided any examples of how its current practices have failed to sufficiently combat the threat of terrorists entering the U.S. or detect and prevent fraud in the permanent residency process.

    Formerly Exempt Applicants Now Requiring In-person Interviews

    Pursuant to its announcement, USCIS will begin Oct. 1, 2017, to schedule in-person interviews for:

    • individuals applying for permanent resident status based on offers of permanent employment (e.g., those who have filed an I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status based on a filed or approved I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker); and
    • individuals applying for permanent resident status based on the refugee or asylee status of a relative in the U.S. (e.g., those who have filed an I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status based on an I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition).

    Individuals applying for permanent resident status under either one of these categories were previously generally exempted from having to undergo an in-person interview with an immigration officer prior to having their application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident status approved.

    An Additional 100,000 Interviews

    The expansion of in-person interviews for these two categories of immigrants is expected to result in possibly an additional 100,000 interviews or more annually at local USCIS offices across the United States. These additional interviews will be on top of the interviews already conducted for many other categories of permanent residency applications that are already conducted at local USCIS offices.

    USCIS claims it will enhance its internal training and technology to meet the increased interview requirements. However, the expansion will likely result in a significant increase in the time that it takes these categories of immigrants to receive final decisions on their applications for permanent resident status – local USCIS offices are already busy with conducting interviews for other immigration benefit categories, including naturalizations and family-based categories.

    More to Come

    USCIS also announced on Aug. 28, 2017, that it will continue to incrementally expand its interview requirement for additional categories of applicants who previously enjoyed exemption from the need to attend an in-person interview with a USCIS officer before the approval of their applicant for permanent resident status in the United States.

    Need help? Want to update your email address?
    Contact Customer Service, (800) 728-7788

    International Practice Section Blog is published by the State Bar of Wisconsin; blog posts are written by section members. To contribute to this blog, contact Betty Eberle and review Author Submission Guidelines. Learn more about the International Practice Section or become a member.

    Disclaimer: Views presented in blog posts are those of the blog post authors, not necessarily those of the Section or the State Bar of Wisconsin. Due to the rapidly changing nature of law and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the State Bar of Wisconsin makes no warranty or guarantee concerning the accuracy or completeness of this content.

    © 2024 State Bar of Wisconsin, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158.

    State Bar of Wisconsin Logo

Join the conversation! Log in to leave a comment.

News & Pubs Search

Format: MM/DD/YYYY