Speeding Up the Process: A Strategy for Faster Removal of Conditions


Today we want to share a potential strategy that may expedite the processing of your I-751 Removal of Conditions case. As we all know, navigating the immigration system often means waiting a long time for USCIS decisions. However, in some cases, individuals with pending removal of conditions cases have an additional action they can take to help speed up the process. We hope this insider tip provides you with a valuable solution. Let’s dive right in!


Does this Apply in Your Situation?


First, it’s important to keep in mind that this strategy only applies in certain situations. The strategy we are explaining today applies only to immigrants who become eligible to apply for US citizenship through naturalization during the time that their removal of conditions application is processing, and who want to become U.S. citizens. Eligibility for naturalization has several requirements including things like a certain amount of time that you have been a permanent resident, having physically been present in the USA a minimum amount of days, following other laws, having good moral character, and more. Learn more about naturalization here. The earliest moment that some immigrants typically become eligible to apply for naturalization is 2 years and 9 months after they receive their very first green card. This time counts even if your first green card was a conditional two year card.


The Nitty-Gritty of the Strategy


The strategy involves applying for naturalization even BEFORE you receive an approval decision on your removal of conditions application. So you have a pending removal of conditions but move ahead with applying for your citizenship simultaneously.


You might be wondering, “WAIT, how is it possible to become a US citizen before removing the conditions on your green card?!” And, yes, it is completely true that the law does not permit USCIS to naturalize an immigrant before the conditions on their residence are removed. However, lucky for you, the current system actually allows you to START the process of naturalization before obtaining a decision on your removal of conditions. Current USCIS policy is that if an officer is interviewing an immigrant for naturalization and the immigrant still has a removal of conditions case pending, the officer will simply make a decision on the pending removal of conditions at the same time so that they can go ahead and schedule you for a naturalization oath ceremony to become a citizen. Remarkably, this strategy can give you a serious advantage in processing time for the removal of conditions, especially now that most removal of conditions are taking many years to process.


Understanding the Mechanics of USCIS Case Processing


To comprehend why this strategy is advantageous, we need to explore how these two different types of cases are processed. USCIS has different types of offices that handle different types of cases. One type of office is called a USCIS Field Office. Field Offices are located in every major city in the USA because they handle cases that require in-person interviews and other public interactions. On the other hand, another type of USCIS office is called a “Service Center.” Service Centers are large warehouse-like facilities that are never open to members of the public. They receive and process cases behind the scenes. For case types that can be decided on the basis of the written application packet alone without needing an interview, the employees at the service centers can fully process the case and send applicants a final decision by mail. For other case types that require an in-person interview, a service center can handle the preliminary processing, but then they send the file to a Field Office to complete the final steps.


Most removal of conditions applications do not require an in-person interview, so these cases are processed entirely at the service centers. However, all naturalization cases are handled through a local Field Office, because the application process requires that the immigrant take an in-person history and civics test and be interviewed by an officer. It is this discrepancy in processing procedures between the two case types that makes the strategy we’re discussing today possible!


How the Strategy Works to Speed Up Removal of Conditions Cases


When you have a removal of conditions case sitting in a service center awaiting processing, no one is going to look at the application to make a decision until you get to the front of the line. Depending on the current processing times, that could be literally years where your application is sitting on a shelf doing nothing. However, when you send in your application for naturalization, the service center will be forced to retrieve your removal of conditions application to send it bundled along with your naturalization application to a field office in advance of your naturalization interview. At the naturalization interview, the officer will make a decision on both cases simultaneously. Woohoo! You are officially through all the steps of your immigration process!


Some Important Caveats and Considerations


As with all of our free online resources, please keep in mind that this is general information that may or may not be applicable to your specific case. We always recommend you get legal advice from a qualified immigration attorney before pursuing this or any other immigration strategy. Also remember that this strategy only works if you are eligible for both benefits—removal of conditions and naturalization. If your removal of conditions case is complex, you may want to wait to file for naturalization first until you are completely through removal of conditions. Similarly, ensure your eligibility for naturalization before applying prematurely, as it could result in wasted time, money, and increased complexity. Consulting with an immigration attorney will clarify any doubts or potential issues.


Effectiveness of the Strategy


The effectiveness of this strategy for speeding up removal of conditions applications also depends on the current average processing times of removal of conditions applications compared with the average processing times for naturalization cases at your local field office. While it can be beneficial regardless of comparative processing times, living near a field office with shorter naturalization processing times may yield greater timesaving advantages than if your field office also takes years to process naturalization cases. However, even if your removal of conditions application is completed before you get scheduled for your naturalization interview, you have still saved some time waiting for naturalization – so it’s a net win!




We hope this option provides you with a potential solution to spend less time navigating the US immigration system. Remember, eligibility for both removal of conditions and naturalization is crucial, and understanding local processing times can further enhance the strategy’s effectiveness. Stay tuned for more informative content in the future. See you next time!

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Speeding Up the Process: A Strategy for Faster Removal of Conditions
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