How To Avoid I751 Interview For 10 Year Green Card
I don’t know about you but immigration interviews stress me out! It’s no wonder that most people who are removing conditions on their conditional green card want to avoid I751 interview as much as possible. I was one of them. I hoped and prayed that I would not be chosen for this interview and luckily I wasn’t.
So, in this post we’ll look at some ways you too can avoid I751 interview and get your green card approval mailed to you without showing up to USCIS offices.
Note that this is not a guarantee and it will be case specific. I obviously don’t know everything that is going on with you and your situation so take these as examples only and not specific garantee to avoid I751 interview.
Felicia arrived in the US on a K1 fiancé visa and married her long time boyfriend Mark. Her year conditional green card is about to expire in 90 days. She decides to send in form I-751 to remove the conditions on her green card. After gather all the evidence of their bona fide marriage, she submits the application to USCIS.
Several months later, she is requested to go to her biometrics. She is hopeful that she will bypass the interview and be send the 10 year green card in the mail.
The example case above is very common. You think that you’ve submitted enough evidence of your bona fide marriage but sometimes you will still be chosen to show up for an interview. But, you can reduce the chances of being called in and avoid I751 interview altogether.
Note: If you are called in for an interview, you must bring your spouse with you! There is no way to avoid this as USCIS wants confirmation you are still together as a couple.
How USCIS Determines You Need An Interview
Thankfully, USCIS has specific guidelines to follow when determining who will be interviewed and who will not. These guidelines can be found on the Adjudicators Field Manual.
Don’t worry, you won’t have to read this lengthy online manual. I’ve broken it down for you in bite sized pieces:
Step 1: Initial review.
This step is the very first step in the long process of case adjudication. It includes a brief look at your packet and documents to ensure that it is complete and payment has been submitted.
Step 2: Acceptance notice mailed.
Next, USCIS will mail you form I797C confirming that they have accepted your application and that it will be reviewed shortly. This letter confirms that your application has passed the first “sniff” test and was deemed acceptable.
Step 3: Adjudication of your I751.
Now is where it gets interesting! Your I751 application is finally put on someone’s desk for a thorough review. They will go over it with a fine toothed comb to be sure that you are eligible for the 10 year green card. If you missed anything, they will find it and send you a request for evidence. Don’t worry, you can correct any mistakes by submitting the documents that USCIS asks for.
Step 4: Interview/Approval decision
Finally, after the detailed review of your case, you will be sent one of three letters.
- A – Approval letter for I751. Congrats! You will get your 10 year green card and will avoid I751 interview.
- B – Interview letter for I751. This will request that you and your spouse attend the I751 interview. You must prepare!
- C – Denial letter for I751. This is less likely because even if you didn’t submit enough evidence, USCIS will give you another chance to submit the documents they are looking for.
I751 Interview Requirement and Fraud Levels
If you are required to attend an interview, it means that USCIS found that evidence was lacking with your case. It could also mean that they were suspicious of your relationship to begin with.
Below are the fraud levels and exactly what they mean:
Fraud Level C
- Your case is straightforward with no missing signatures, missing documents or lack of evidence.
- USCIS adjudicator thinks the case can be approved (no interview necessary).
- All required supporting documents are attached and there is no indication of fraud that can be identified in the documents or through the biographic data of the parties involved.
- Good job! You are least likely to be required to show up for an interview.
Fraud Level B
- Your case has no missing information and minimum number of supporting evidence and documents.
- There is something in your case that creates suspicion about whether your marriage is bona fide. This can include lack of strong documented evidence or the circumstances of your living arrangement.
- Don’t worry! You can still get approved without an interview if you subsequently submit the documents that will prove your marriage is bona fide.
Fraud Level A
USCIS adjudicator strongly suspects marriage or immigration fraud. Reasons fraud level A might be given to your case include:
- you and your spouse don’t live together;
- you have no joint financial documents;
- petitioner signature is missing from the forms;
- not enough evidence of a bona fide marriage;
- a large age difference between you and your spouse that is uncommon;
- you were previously denied I-751;
- you filed the petition after your conditional GC expired;
- other reasons that USCIS deems suspicious.
- Houston, we have a problem! You will be required to attend an interview with your spouse. There is no way to avoid I751 interview in this case. You need be get prepared now!
Once fraud level is determined, your case will be sent to the district office. They will then assign a percentage of each cases in these levels to be interviewed.
- 100% of level A cases are interviewed.
- 30%-100% of level B cases are interviewed.
- 10% – 50% of level C cases are interviewed.
How To Avoid I751 Interview And Still Get Approved
So, how exactly do you avoid I751 interview and still get approved for your green card? It’s not rocket science but there are methods to avoiding face time with an immigration officer.
Prepare and submit a strong and organized I751.
The main objective in getting I751 approval is to prove that your marriage is genuine. USCIS wants to be sure that you entered the marriage for the purpose of love and not just for a green card. The more you can convince USCIS that your marriage is real, the more likely you can avoid I751 interview.
- Download form I751, removal of conditions
- Follow this step-by-step guide on preparing your I751 application
Include as much evidence of bona fide marriage.
- Lease or mortgage documents showing joint ownership/residence.
- Birth certificates of children born to the marriage. (this is great evidence!)
- Financial records showing joint assets and liabilities, such as:
- joint savings and checking accounts with transaction history (at least 6 statements a year)
- joint credit card statements (at least the last 3 months)
- insurance policies where you and your spouse are each other’s beneficiaries
- joint tax returns (be sure to include transcripts directly from IRS)
- joint utility bills (with both names on them)
- Car title showing joint ownership (with both names on it)
- other joint loans (home loan, auto loan, personal loan)
- Any other documents that can prove you have bona fide marriage.
- Affidavits written by people who know you and your spouse personally.
- At least 10 photo Examples could include wedding photos, traveling, special events with family and friends, etc. (You should also hand write the place, names and dates on the back of photos.)
How To Prepare For I751 Interview
The I751 interview is meant to weed out people who are committing immigration or marriage fraud for the purpose of obtaining a green card. So, if you are in a real marriage and have been called to attend the I751 interview, these tips will be very helpful to you!
But, if you are trying to “game” the system by committing fraud, you risk being denied the 10 year green card and possibility being deported.
Arrive early for your I751 interview.
Getting there a bit early is important because there will likely be some delays that day. Whether that is with traffic, getting the kids off to school, or at the USCIS office going through security. It’s best to arrive about 15-20 minutes before your scheduled interview time.
Dress business casual or professionally.
You don’t need a suite and tie or a fancy dress but it’s best to look professional. Think of the way you would dress for a job interview and find similar clothing. Make sure you look neat and presentable. The last thing you want is to make a bad first impression even though what you look like shouldn’t be considered when it comes to immigration.
Bring enough evidence of a bona fide marriage.
Don’t expect to be approved after your I751 interview without a good amount of evidence. I’m not talking about a few photos and bills with both your names on it.
I’d recommend front loading your entire application. This means including the following:
- 15-20 photos
- joint tax returns
- joint bank statements
- joint utility bills
- joint rent or mortgage documents
- joint insurance documents
- travel itinerary
You will be asked a lot of questions about your marriage. Try to talk about some of things that will be asked with your spouse so you are both on the same page.
I’ll go over some common interview questions below.
Be honest and don’t lie.
If I could give you only one piece of advice, I’d say DON’T LIE! I’ve seen so many people get caught lying about their immigration past or criminal history. This only causes more trouble for you so try to avoid it.
Even if you don’t get caught, USCIS can revoke your green card years later if they find that you lied to get it.
Note: If you’ve gotten divorced or filed for divorce due to abuse, you can file an I751 hardship waiver of the joint filing requirement.
Common I751 Interview Questions and Answers
The following questions are not a complete list. They are examples of the top 10 most common questions asked at the I751 interview.
Try to practice answering these questions with your wife so that you have the same answers. This doesn’t mean that you are trying to scam USCIS but that you and your spouse have similar answers.
Q: How did you meet?
A: Briefly describe how you met each other. Try to stick with the facts only and don’t ramble on and on. “My wife and I met online and began dating soon after. We met for the first time 6 months later in Paris, France.”
Q: Whats your date of birth?
A: This is pretty simple and is used to see if you truly know each other. Answer it by stating each other birthdays. Getting this wrong is a red flag but it doesn’t mean it will result in an automatic denial.
Q: Have you ever been denied for visa? (beneficiary)
A: It’s important to be honest about whether you were EVER denied a visa. USCIS already knows if you have been but they are checking to see if you will tell the truth.
Q: How did you become US Citizen? (petitioner)
A: This question is for the petitioner. Answer honestly and state whether you were born in the US or naturalized through a parent or spouse or any other way.
Q: Has anyone in your family been denied a visa? (beneficiary)
A: This question wants to see if your family members have any interest in moving to the US. Sometimes, when a beneficiary has many family members applying for a visa and getting denied, the beneficiary has more motive to marry an American to help family get to the US. Always be honest, it won’t result in an automatic denial as long as everything else about your case seems legit.
Q: Do u have any children in anywhere in the world?
A: This questions wants to know whether either of you have children outside the US? This is to see if you know each other histories or if there are children being hidden from each other. Also, USCIS wants to see if the beneficiary will be sponsoring any other children in the future. “Yes, I have one child that still lives in the Philippines and they will not be moving to the US at this time.”
Q: What do you do for living ?
USCIS wants to know what field of work both of you are in. Another variation of this question is “what does your spouse do for a living.” You should both know what each other does for their careers. Don’t worry if you are unemployed, you have already passed the income requirement when you initially adjusted status to get the 2 year green card. “I am a manager of a department store.” “I am a nurse working at Cedar Sinai Medical Center.”
Q: Is this your first marriage?
This question is used to find out if you were honest with your spouse. If you weren’t honest, then either you will be forced to lie in front of USCIS or lie to your spouse. Either one is bad. Be honest with your spouse before the interview is scheduled so that you both know each others past.
Q: Have you ever been arrested?
USCIS will want to probe and get more information about your criminal history. Most convictions are public record so they will find that information whether you spill the beans or not. But, if your convictions was dismissed or sealed, you should still be truthful about the situation even if USCIS can’t access those records.
Conclusion: Avoiding I751 Interview
Hopefully you now feel more confident about how to avoid I751 interview. There are a few things that are in your control but of course, you can’t control all aspects of the adjudication process.
By putting together a strong solid I751 application you increase your odds that USCIS will not call you for an interview. A strong I751 case involves a lot of evidence of a bona fide marriage and financial co-mingling.
So, what do you do if you are called for the I751 interview with your spouse? Get prepared! Check out this article with practice questions.
If you have already divorced your spouse, you will likely need a divorce waiver for the I751 and you must show up for the interview. Learn more about the stokes interview and how to pass this very difficult immigration interview.
Need more help preparing for your I751 interview? Consider signing up for premium case support and get 1-on-1 support through the entire process.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.