UPDATES: Marriage Based Interview Waivers and Fast Track Processing for DACA, Naturalization, and Green Card Renewals

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick updates you regarding a recent practice followed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – the waiver of marriage based green card interviews during the Coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, our office has observed that the agency is processing certain types of applications much more quickly than others.

Want to know more? Stay tuned for more information about this important topic.


Green Card Interview Waivers for Employment Based Applicants

Beginning in April of this year, our office began to receive approval notices for employment-based adjustment of status applications, without the need for the applicant to attend the in-person face-to-face interview as is typically required by USCIS.

As you may recall on March 18th USCIS announced the suspension of in-person services at field offices nationwide, which meant the cancellation of face-to-face interviews. It was not until June 4th that USCIS announced that it would begin resumption of services at field offices nationwide.

Presumably to avoid a growing backlog of cases needing to be scheduled for an interview, USCIS began to grant employment-based green card petitions without requiring the applicant to attend the in-person interview due to the suspension of in-person services.

USCIS never officially announced a policy change allowing for these interview waivers, and instead these changes were occurring as a matter of practice based upon the agency’s discretion.

Marriage Based Green Card Interview Waivers

A few months later, our office also began to receive approval notices for certain marriage based green card applicants without the couple having to attend their in-person interview.

What types of interviews are being waived for marriage-based applicants?

In general, we are seeing the following types of interviews being waived by USCIS for marriage based green card applicants:

  • Green card applicants married to military personnel
  • Green card applicants who entered with a K-1 fiancé visa
  • Green card applicants who have been married for more than two years

We believe that these categories of applicants in particular are having their interviews waived at USCIS’ discretion, because these applicants are generally “low risk” applicants, who have been fully vetted by immigration previously, or who will be required to file removal of conditions in the future, which is an additional fraud prevention mechanism requiring couples to prove their bona fide marriage at a later date in order to continue to maintain permanent resident status.

Fast Track Processing of Certain Cases

Additionally, our office has seen faster processing and adjudication of DACA renewal applications as well as naturalization applications. We have already started to receive interview notices for naturalization applicants who filed their cases at the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020. This is a very good sign as it shows that USCIS is prioritizing both DACA renewals and naturalization applications to prevent backlogs for these applicants.

In addition, our office has received approvals for Form I-90 applications to renew ten-year green cards within 30 days or less for applicants residing in California, and we have also received an approval within 30 days for an applicant that resided on the East Coast.

Those are our updates. We hope you enjoyed them.

Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text or call 619-569-1768.


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For other COVID 19 related immigration updates please visit our Immigration and COVID-19 Resource Center here.