Immigration policies often pose challenges for those who marry a US citizen or green cardholder. But, one aspect of the various processes involved has been eased. The USICS has announced that under a policy update, the agency may waive the interview requirement, which a spouse had to undergo on completion of the tenure of a conditional green card.
To illustrate, if an Indian national marries a US citizen or green card holder, he or she gets a ‘conditional’ green card, which is valid for a two-year period. Obtaining such a green card itself is challenging as there are forms to fill in and interviews to be undergone at the US consulate in India.
But, this is not the end of the story, as once in the US there is again a requirement to fill in forms and undergo a mandatory interview – the latter requirement is now eased under a policy update.
The spouse who is in the US on a conditional green card, obtained via a consular process, has to file Form I-751 for removing the ‘conditions’ or in other words moving to a full permanent resident status. This form is required to be filled in ninety days prior to the expiry of this two-year period.
Under a revised policy mandate introduced by the administration in November 2018, post the filing, the process also entailed a mandatory interview by a USCIS officer. Under a policy update, this requirement is rolled back.
USCIS may waive the interview requirement if the agency officer determines there is sufficient evidence about the bona fides of the marriage, there is no indication of fraud or misrepresentation in supporting documents, and there are no complex facts or issues to resolve and there is no criminal history.
Prior policy requiring mandatory conditional permanent resident interviews did not prove to be an efficient use of USCIS staffing resources. Thus, USCIS has announced a policy update to adopt a risk-based approach when waiving interviews for conditional permanent residents (CPRs) who have filed a petition to remove the conditions on their permanent resident status.
“Implementing a risk-based strategic approach to the CPRinterview process will increase efficiencies that improve processing times, allow for a better use of agency staffing resources, and help reduce the pending caseload while still maintaining procedures to identify fraud and protect national security,”said USCIS Director.
“This update is consistent with agency priorities to break down barriers in the immigration system, eliminate undue burdens on those seeking benefits, and effectively respond to stakeholder feedback and public concerns,”she added.
Boundless Immigration, a technology service entity in the immigration space, points out that the increase in mandatory I-751 interviews caused the USCIS backlog to nearly triple. Between October 2018 and September 2021, the backlog of pending applications peaked at 3,23,803.
The most recent data available, through December 31, 2021, shows that the backlog is currently standing at 2,52,775 pending cases.
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