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Monday, 6 April 2020

ALLAN WERNICK: As coronavirus closes USCIS offices, all but emergency requests being handling for now

USCIS is closed for all but emergency requests until May 4 or longer.
USCIS is closed for all but emergency requests until May 4 or longer.


Q. My wife got a two-year conditional green card and in October 2019 we filed form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions from Residence. I understand that because of coronavirus, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is closed. Will that delay a decision on the petition?
Name withheld, Creech Air Force Base, Nev.
A. Not all I-751 petitioners are interviewed. The agency schedules interviews when the petitioner didn’t submit strong evidence that the marriage is bona fide or “real” or at random. Maybe USCIS will approve the petition without an interview.
USCIS is closed for all but emergency requests until May 4 or longer. Presently the agency takes up to two years to issue a decision on I-751 petitions. It is unclear if the coronavirus will further delay petitions and applications.

Q. My husband and I file tax returns as married filing separately. Will that make it harder to get my green card? Will USCIS think we are a “green card” marriage if we file that way? I’m pregnant — won’t that be enough to show ours is a real marriage?
Julie
A. Assuming the two returns show the same address, you and your husband may file separate tax returns without impacting your right to get a green card. Given that it takes more than a year for USCIS to interview marriage green card applicants, you will have given birth by then. That’s certainly good evidence that the marriage is bona fide or “real.”
A married couple may lawfully file separate returns as married filing separately. Sometimes a couple pays less in taxes that way. A problem arises only if one spouse files as head of household to save money. Married individuals may file as head of household only if they are living apart.

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