U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced additional guidance regarding the adjudication of spousal petitions involving minors, following up on the agency’s February update to its policy. The guidance, published as an update to the USCIS Adjudicator’s Field Manual(AFM), instructs officers to conduct an additional interview for certain I-130 spousal petitions involving a minor. Generally, the bona fides of the spousal relationship are assessed in person byUSCIS when the alien spouse applies to adjust status, or by the Department of State when the alien spouse applies for an immigrant visa.
However, I-130 spousal petitions involving a minor party warrant special consideration due to the vulnerabilities associated with marriages involving a minor. As such, USCIS is modifying its policy to require in-person interviews at this earlier stage for certain I-130 petitions involving minor spouses.
“As part of our continued efforts to strengthen guidance for spousal petitions involving minors, we have instructed USCIS officers to conduct an additional in-person interview earlier in the immigration process for certain petitions that warrant additional scrutiny,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “While USCIS has taken action to the maximum extent possible to detect and closely examine spousal petitions involving a minor spouse, Congress should address this issue by providing more clarity under the law for USCIS officers.”
Interviewing earlier at the I-130 petition stage provides USCIS with an additional opportunity to verify information contained in the petition and assess the bona fides of the claimed spousal relationship.