On November 30th of last year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a policy memorandum to guide its representatives on when they may waive the interview requirement for Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. It took effect on December 10th and applies to all applicable petitions received on or after that date.
What is a Conditional Permanent Resident?
A foreign national who has been married to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident for less than two years at the time they were admitted into the country or adjusted their status is granted permanent residency on a conditional basis. (The same benefit may also apply to their unmarried minor children.)
Conditional permanent residents hold a green card that is valid for two years. It cannot be renewed; instead, the person must file a Form I-751 to lift all conditions from their residency within 90 days before their green card expires. They may file jointly with their petitioning spouse (stepparent for children) or individually if they obtain a waiver of the requirement to file jointly, and must provide evidence that the marriage is bona fide.
What Has Changed?
A conditional permanent resident is generally required to attend an interview with USCIS officials before their petition is approved. Its purpose is to verify the details in the application or petition and enable USCIS to assess the applicant’s credibility or learn additional information that could have a bearing on the outcome.
There are circumstances under which an officer may waive this requirement, and the new policy memorandum specifies these conditions:
- With marriage-based petitions, the officer is satisfied that the record alone confirms that the relationship is genuine.
- USCIS has already interviewed the principal petitioner (for cases occurring on or after December 10, 2018)
- The Form I-751 or its supporting documentation does not contain evidence of misrepresentation or fraud
- There are no complicated issues or facts that need to be resolved in an interview
These considerations apply regardless of whether the Form I-751 was filed jointly or individually.
Contact a Seattle Immigration Attorney
Applying to remove the conditions from your residency is an important occasion that brings you one step closer to U.S. citizenship. To ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible, work with a Seattle immigration attorney who has helped many of her clients fulfill the legal obligations required for permanent residency. To speak with Katrina Zafiro and her team today, call 206-547-9906.