Starting in October, there could be a bureaucratic backlog for businesses with employees carrying temporary work visas looking to make them permanent.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) this week announced its new policy on the expanded use of in-person interviews. Effective October 1, the government will begin requiring an in-person interview prior to approving any employment-based green card application (Form I-485).

The in-person interview requirement will also apply to beneficiaries of refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730). This change complies with March’s executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” It is part of the agency’s comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud, and to further enhance the integrity of the immigration system.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

The agency’s announcement leaves many questions unanswered about the new policy, including whether derivative family members in employment-based cases will be required to attend in-person interviews. However, employers and affected applicants should expect delays and an initial increase in the processing times of employment-based applications for adjustment of status.