I-485 Employment-Based Interview: Here’s What to Expect

When the USCIS announced in September that they would start requiring in-person interviews for employment-based applicants who had filed an I-485 application for an adjustment of status, uncertainty rippled through immigration law offices from coast to coast.  What would the interview be like?  How would it differ from the family-based or naturalization interviews?  Would their list of questions differ from the previous list?  Should an attorney accompany the applicant?  (If this development is news to you, check out Robin Vermette’s pervious blog post on the topic, here).

I recently had the opportunity to attend an employment-based interview for an adjustment of status applicant and can allay your fears: The interview is straight-forward and parallels the same I-485 questions as in family-based interviews.   And, an attorney should accompany the applicant if the applicant is concerned, but proper preparation can diminish these concerns.

Here is how the process went at our USCIS field office:  After waiting for about 15 minutes in the waiting room, the Immigration Services Officer assigned to the case welcomed us into her office.  The Officer administered an oath to the client, asked for identification, and commenced reviewing the I-485 application.  After much paper shuffling, the Officer took the client’s picture (glasses removed) and other biometrics, and began the interrogation portion of the interview, asking questions of the applicant including: What is your name? Where were you born?  What are your parents’ names?  Do you work?  If so, in what capacity?  This line of questioning continued and covered almost of all of the items listed on the Interview Notice checklist.  The Officer reviewed current and past visas, passports, paystubs, notices in the file, and other employment-related documents.  Our client was well-organized and had all of his documentation available.  After 45 minutes, the interview was over.  The Officer stood up, smiled, and said “Congratulations.”  The client was to expect his green card in about two weeks.  The client breathed a sigh of relief and we left the building with smiles on our faces.

On our way out the door, the Officer gave us a tip: Put your last name on your mailbox.  If USCIS sends the green card but the post office returns it as undeliverable, then USCIS will require an additional temporary visa application, accompanied with a whopping $400 fee.

And, one word of advice from us: Bring a current letter of employment.  This item is a new requirement that is not listed on the Interview Notice.  In a pinch, recent pay stubs might suffice, but we recommend bringing a current letter of employment for extra assurances.

All in all it was a straightforward, painless experience, and at least this immigration law office looks forward to the next immigration law development.

 

About the Authors: Laura Hartz and Julie Morse

 

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