According to U.S. immigration law, conditional-resident spouses who wish to apply for a permanent green card must attend an in-person interview with USCIS. Because the stakes are significantly high, making a mistake during the interview could mean losing the conditional resident’s status.
However, if immigration officials believe the marriage is authentic and not fraudulent, then couples can avoid the I-751 interview altogether. It is imperative to file a complete and accurate marriage-based green card application on the initial attempt to avoid having to prove your marriage is genuine for a second time in two years.
How Conditional Residents Can Avoid the Interview
A USCIS Service Center will initially review your I-751 petition. If immigration officials are satisfied that your marriage is bona fide and not meant to evade immigration laws, they may waive the interview and approve permanent residency.
The following are some ways to increase your chance for success of avoiding the interview:
- File a comprehensive and thorough petition – You must have plentiful supporting evidence to prove that your marriage is genuine and there are no suspicions that it is fraudulent in any way. If there are any circumstances that raise questions about the authenticity of the marriage, USCIS will generally set the interview. While you can file a petition on your own, having an experienced attorney help you ensure that your forms are properly completed and guide you through the complexities of the legal process, so can avoid costly mistakes.
- Submit copies of as many documents as possible – Gather evidence which proves that your marriage and conditional status was entered in “good faith.” It is best to provide enough documents to exceed the minimum requirements and show the development of the marriage from start to present. Common types of documents include joint lease/mortgage agreements, joint ownership of finances and assets (e.g. checking/savings accounts, credit cards, tax returns, insurance policies, utility bills, etc.), birth certificates of children born during the marriage, ten to 20 pictures of the married couple together, sworn affidavits from at least two people who are close to the couple, and other relevant documents.
Remember, all applicants for a marriage-based green card are required to attend an initial interview with USCIS to prove if the marriage is authentic.
How USCIS Schedules an Interview
If a USCIS Service Center deems it necessary to schedule an interview, the case will be transferred to the Service Center’s Adjudications Unit, where an adjudicator will designate a fraud level. There are three types of fraud levels: fraud level C, fraud level B, and fraud level A.
If the adjudicator doesn’t find any technical issues and believes the case can be approved, the case will be assigned fraud level C. If the case has a minimum number of supporting evidence, there is something that creates suspicion, and there is still a chance for approval, then it will be assigned fraud level B. Lastly, if the case contains many technical issues, then it will be assigned fraud level A.
When your case is assigned a fraud level, your local district office will receive it and assign a percentage to each fraud level. All level C cases have a 10 to 50 percent chance of resulting in an interview. All level B cases have a 30 to 100 percent chance. All level A cases must be interviewed.