New Interview Waiver Guidance for the Form I-751
April 10th, 2019
AILA issued a 'practice pointer' this week pertaining to the revised USCIS interview waiver guidance for the Form I-751, or the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. This form is for conditional permanent residents who obtained status through marriage and want to remove the conditions on their status. USCIS released a new policy memorandum last year that went into effect December 10, 2018, which provides USCIS officers guidance on when to waive the interview requirement for I-751 petitions. This new policy entirely replaced a 2005 policy in which interviews were deemed unnecessary unless there was insufficient evidence of the legitimacy of the marriage or insufficient evidence of eligibility of a waiver. Under the old policy, USCIS issued Requests for Evidence (RFEs) to obtain additional evidence instead of interviews as well. However, under the 2018 policy, the frequency of interviews will increase as the requirements for a waiver became more comprehensive.
What are the requirements under the new policy?
The 2018 policy mandates interviews unless the USCIS officer is satisfied that the petition meets all of the following conditions:
- there is enough evidence of the legitimacy of the marriage and that the marriage was not intended to evade U.S. immigration laws
- USCIS has previously interviewed the I-751 petitioner (for example, an interview for an I-485 or I-130)
- there is "no indication of fraud or misrepresentation" on the form
- there is nothing complicated enough that there is need to explain in an interview
This means that it will be more difficult to obtain a waiver for the interview, and that the number of interviews for I-751 petitions will increase. In addition, I-751 petitions are facing significant delays in processing that have increased from about 12 to 18 months. These delays are only expected to continue to increase due to the heightened number of in-person interviews.
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This information comes from a news release from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA Doc. No. 19040830).