Monday, March 23, 2009

USCIS to Conduct “Green Card” Interviews in Saipan.

Green card applicants may now have their interviews handled in the CNMI at the new Application Support Center in Saipan. Before, an applicant would need to fly to Guam for the interview. Now, both the interview and biometrics (fingerprinting and other ID gathering) can be done here. This will save many aliens the expense of two roundtrip tickets to Guam (one for the visa applicant and the other for the sponsor/petitioner). The savings are crucial, given the high filing fees and other expenses, such as the medical exam.

Some of our clients who have had green card applications pending for quite a while are now having their interviews rescheduled from Guam to Saipan. I have not tried to schedule an appointment online yet, but apparently this is possible. Here is the official press release from USCIS for more details:

USCIS to Conduct “Green Card” Interviews in Saipan
CNMI Customers Will Save Time and Money

SAIPAN, CNMI —U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it will begin conducting "green card" interviews on March 23 at its new Application Support Center (ASC) in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) .

Applicants from Tinian, Rota and Saipan seeking U.S. Lawful Permanent Residence or "green cards" will be now be scheduled for interviews at USCIS' new facility in Garapan.

“We are very pleased that legal counsel gave us the go-ahead to provide this essential service to our CNMI customers,” said USCIS District Director David Gulick, who is based in Honolulu. "It makes sense for us to do as much as we can to serve the community through this local office. Now customers will save the time, effort and expense of traveling to Guam for their interviews.”

In addition to the traditional ASC biometric services such as fingerprinting, the Saipan office already offers expanded services including general immigration information and naturalization interviews. Now “green card” interviews will be added to those services.

Customers interested in speaking to an Immigration Services Officer should make an “InfoPass” appointment online at Customers with appointments will receive priority.

People can call the toll-free USCIS customer service line at (800) 375-5283. In addition, the most current information about federal immigration in relation to the CNMI can be accessed via the USCIS Press Room at

USCIS is the agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that provides immigration benefits.

Currently U.S. immigration law only applies to immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens as defined within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). U.S. immigration law in general will be applied to the CNMI, with the Transition Period currently scheduled to begin on June 1, 2009.

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