I’m a conditional resident, having married a U.S. citizen. Our marriage has been up and down since the beginning, because my husband spends a lot of time at his office and I hardly see him. It was hard getting him to help fill out the I-751 application. We got it into the mail days before it was due. I just want this process to be over and done with! I submitted a few documents to USCIS with the Form I-751, but not a lot. Am I likely to be called in for an interview, or can they just approve my case without one?
It’s certainly possible for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review and approve an immigrant’s joint petition to remove the conditions on residence (Form I-751) without calling the couple in for an interview. That’s exactly what happens in approximately four out of five I-751 cases that are submitted to USCIS.
Nevertheless, whether USCIS chooses to call you in for an interview depends entirely on the facts of your case and the quality of your I-751 submission. It’s important to remember that the purpose of conditional residence is to give USCIS a second look at whether your marriage is bona fide, or the real thing (as opposed to being a scam to get the immigrant a green card).
If yours was a marginal case to begin with – in other words, the officer had doubts about your relationship and asked for extra evidence at that time – the agency may call you in for an interview just to have a thorough second look at your case.
And if the documents you submitted seem too sparse or don’t really point to a shared life, with joint assets, shared financial obligations, and so forth, that might also give USCIS cause to interview you.
It’s definitely a good thing that your husband signed onto the joint petition. If he hadn’t, and you had asked for a waiver of the joint-filing requirement, that would raise the chances of being called in for an interview significantly.
All that said, while your reluctance to attend an interview is understandable, realize that a rocky marriage is not a disqualifying factor for permanent U.S. residence. The important thing is whether the marriage is real, not whether it’s stable. If you are called in for an interview, however, be sure to work extra hard to find more documents proving your valid marriage – and better yet, seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney.