USCIS District 11 (MA/RI/NH/ME/VT) recently announced that USCIS National has directed local USCIS offices to waive up to 80% of family-based interviews. This is a huge change in USCIS practice, especially for marriage-based green card cases. Historically, almost ALL marriage-based green card cases required the US citizen spouse and the noncitizen spouse to appear at at USCIS office for an interview, before the green-card could be approved. Now, USCIS plans to approve almost all without an interview.
This change is great for YOU! First, this is likely to reduce the processing time for the green-card application. Currently, in Massachusetts, marriage-based green card applications take about 6-12 months to get approved. We expect this processing time to drop significantly with this big change. Second, you will not have to spend so much of your precious time on the USCIS interview. You won’t need to prepare for the family-based interview, travel to the interview, or spend hours at the USCIS office for the interview. Finally, your legal fees decrease with this change because you do not need to hire a lawyer to meet with you to prepare testimony for the interview, update your marriage-documents, travel to the USCIS office, wait for the interview to be called, and represent you at the USCIS interview.
USCIS may call you for an interview, and we don’t yet know what that will mean. Are all cases called for an interview in bad shape? Or, will USCIS conduct some randomized interviews regardless of how the paper application looks? What we do know is that this change makes your submission of your paper application all the more important. That paper application, if prepared correctly and thoroughly, could result in your green card being approved. You don’t want to hold back on submitting certain documents or the medical exam “until the interview” because your goal now is to NOT have an interview.
Our team at Cambridge Immigration Law focuses on representing clients on marriage-based immigration applications. We make sure that our clients submit the best application possible. We believe that our clients will have an excellent opportunity to avoid the USCIS interview!