In a welcome change to how the government adjudicates green card renewal cases, USCIS has announced a new policy update with respect to I-751 cases. Under the new protocols, the agency will be scrapping a Trump era policy that required interviews for conditional permanent residents filing to remove the conditions on their green cards. Moving forward, interviews will no longer be mandatory for all cases. Instead, USCIS will adopt a “risk-based approach” that, in most cases, waive interviews for most couples who have filed joint I-751 applications for the foreign national’s permanent green card. This should hopefully shorten processing times for these types of cases, which are notoriously slow, sometimes taking up to 24 months to either receive a decision or be summoned for an interview.
Under the new policy, interviews may be waived if the officer determines
- There is sufficient evidence of the marital relationship, such as a strong and consistent record of joint documents
- There is no reason to suspect fraud/misrepresentation, or that the documents are not what they purport to be
- There are no complex facts or issues, and
- The conditional permanent resident does not have a criminal history that would potentially render him/her removable
In short, “clean” cases without any issues should hopefully be adjudicated in short order without having to call the couple in for an interview that–in most cases where it is clear that the couple is bona fide—essentially unnecessary.
It is important to remember that removing the conditions on one’s green card is not the same as renewing one’s green card. If a person has received a conditional green card, it will expire in two years, and that person will be expected to file the I-751. On the other hand, if a foreign national has received a permanent resident card without conditions, the card should indicate that is valid for ten years. Prior to the card expiring, the immigrant will have to file the I-90 application to renew it.
The above is general information only. It is not specific legal advice nor intended to create an attorney client relationship. If you need advice, please consult with an attorney.