On Apr. 7, 2022, USCIS updated its guidance regarding the circumstances under which an interview can be waived for Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. Per the updated policy, USCIS officers may consider waiving an interview if:
- the record contains sufficient evidence that the marriage was bona fide, not entered into for the purpose of evading immigration laws;
- there is sufficient evidence that the conditional resident (CR) is eligible for waiver of the joint filing requirement, if applicable;
- there is no indication of fraud or misrepresentation in the record;
- there are no complex facts or issues that would require an interview or sworn statements; and
- there are no criminal bars rendering the CR removable.
The Apr. 7, 2022, policy update overturns a Dec. 10, 2018, policy update through which the Trump-era USCIS required interviews in all cases except where the USCIS had previously interviewed the CR. Under that policy, interviews were required in all cases where CR status was granted based on consular processing, which involves an interview by a U.S. consular officer.
My impression is that this policy update is justified. The Trump-era policy implied that USCIS doesn’t trust the ability of U.S. Consular officials to conduct interviews. But no evidence was presented in support of that argument.
Further, I-751 processing times are inordinately long, especially at the Nebraska and Potomac Service Centers, so waiving interviews in low-risk cases is a good use of the agency’s limited resources:
|Service Center||Processing Time|
|California||7.5 to 11 months|
|Nebraska||16.5 to 33 months|
|Potomac||20.5 to 24.5 months|
|Texas||8 to 11 months|
|Vermont||11.5 to 17 months|
For more information, see Guide to Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.