What happens if my I-751 and N-400 interviews are merged?

Erick Widman

Conditional residents who get status via marriage should file Form I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence) to request that the conditions on residence be eliminated and so they can ultimately become legal, permanent residents. It’s imperative that conditional residents file the form quickly and with enough evidence to prove they were married in good faith. The petition requests the withdrawal of the conditions on residence and finalizes the process of becoming a permanent resident. Failing to file the petition can lead to serious problems, including deportation. A successful I-751 approval petition results in a 10-year green card, which will allow the holder to live and work permanently in the United States.

Our expert immigration lawyers at Passage Immigration Law can walk you through the details of immigration petitions and assist you with the complete process while presenting your options. For a quick consultation with our seasoned immigration lawyers, call our team at (503) 427-8243, or you may schedule a quick consultation here.

I-751 Petitions Explained

Form I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence) is used to extend a 2-year conditional green card to a 10-year green card.

When you petition for status for a family member, USCIS will issue them either a 10-year green card or a conditional 2-year green card. The recipient is likely to be given the 2-year green card if they have been married to their US-citizen spouse for less than 2 years. This does not impact your ability to obtain a regular 10-year green card down the road, you just need to take the extra step of submitting form I-751.

You will be eligible to file form I-751 three months before the expiration date on your conditional green card. If you are still married to the US citizen who petitioned for your initial green card, you will need to prove to USCIS that your marriage is genuine. If you prepare the evidence such evidence as recent pictures of you with your spouse, joint bank statements, and mortgages or properties under both individuals’ names to present to USCIS, you can avoid any suspicion of fraud. We have more details about the full requirements and USCIS standards for supporting evidence here. Even if you are no longer married to the citizen who originally petitioned for your green card, you should still be able to successfully petition to remove the conditions from your green card, but you will need to file an additional waiver to explain why the marriage dissolved.

What Is the N-400?

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services’ Form N-400 allows legal, permanent residents and other eligible people to apply for naturalization and citizenship. It has a detailed questionnaire and many sections that must be filled accurately. Those who want to apply for naturalized citizenship must provide documents that prove their legal status and identity along with Form N-400.

It may take months or sometimes years to get approved, but it is worth the wait. The process requires complex documentation, so you should retain the services of a trusted lawyer with experience in completing the N-400. Our experts stand ready to help you complete each step of the process accurately and on time.

What Happens If My I-751 and N-400 Interviews Are Merged?

If you have been married to a US citizen for at least 3 years and have a pending I-751, you are also eligible to file for citizenship. You can submit the N-400 while your I-751 is pending and combine the two interviews with USCIS into one.

Each interview is handled differently by the assigned USCIS officer, but the preparations for a merged interview are the same. You will need to be prepared to prove you are fulfilling the naturalization requirements, have studied for the civics tests, and are able to prove your genuine marriage with additional evidence (if any). You will need to prepare to answer questions about both your I-751  and N-400, but there is much overlap in the information and supporting evidence needed to prove the requirements for both cases. It may seem like twice the work to prepare for a single interview, but it saves a lot of time and worry. As long as you are well-prepared and have studied for the civics test, you should have no trouble with any of the interview questions.

If your interviews are merged, you won’t receive a 10-year green card. You will instead be issued your naturalization certificate on the day of your oath ceremony!

Speak to our Attorneys

If you have any concerns about the required documentation for the forms, we urge you urge you to retain an experienced immigration lawyer. Immigration lawyers are not restricted to practicing only in states where they have passed the bar, so you are free to find a qualified immigration lawyer anywhere in the United States.

The skilled lawyers at Passage Immigration Law have extensive experience with filing Form I-751 petitions on behalf of our clients. By working with our empathetic and meticulous team, hundreds of satisfied spouses have secured their 10-year green card.

Please contact us right away with any questions you have about how to star the process of removing your conditional status. For more information on the process, or to find out if you do need a lawyer to file your USCIS Form I-751, you can book a quick consultation online. You can also call us at (503) 427-8243. We have convenient locations in Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles, California, and Seattle, Washington.

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