I-751 - Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
Who needs to file I-751?
Answer: Form I-751 is the second step for completing the permanent residency process. This form is for conditional residents who have obtained their residency status through marriage to a US citizen. The purpose of I-751 is to request that U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services remove the conditions on residence.
When an applicant obtains a green card through marriage, the green card is usually valid for 2 years only. However, there are cases where the applicant may be issued a 10 year green card. This usually happens when the applicant has been married for at least 2 years at the time of the adjustment of status interview.
John is a US citizen. He married Annabelle on March 8, 2013. Annabelle came on a J1 visa that expired back in 2008. John and Annabelle filed the required paperwork on May 8, 2013. They were scheduled to appear for adjustment of status interview on Oct 25, 2013. Annabelle received a conditional green card, which is good for two years. She received a conditional green card valid from Oct 25, 2013 to Oct 24, 2015.
John is a US citizen. He married Annabelle on March 8, 2012. Annabelle came on a J1 visa that expired back in 2008. John and Annabelle filed the required paperwork on Oct 25, 2013. They were scheduled to appear for adjustment of status interview on March 10, 2014. Annabelle received a permanent resident card good for 10 years. Because John and Annabelle were married for more than 2 years at the time of the adjustment of status interview, Annabelle was entitled to a 10 year green card as opposed to a 2 year green card.
When do I need to file I-751?
Answer: If you are still married and plan to file the petition jointly (with your spouse), then you must file I-751 as well as supporting documents during the 90 day period immediately before your conditional residency card expires.
If you would like to request that the joint filing requirement be waived, you may file I-751 at any time before you are removed from the U.S.
What happens if I don't file I-751?
Answer: You will be placed in removal proceedings.
Can I file I-751 after my card has expired?
Answer: You can but you will have to provide an explanation as to the reasons for the late filing.
Can I file I-751 on my own?
Answer: Yes, you can request a waiver of the joint filing requirement. However, this process is complex and requires much more evidence than a petition filed jointly. It is highly recommended that you hire an attorney to help you with the I-751.
What evidence should I submit with my I-751?
Answer: You must submit a copy of your green card (front and back). If you are filing jointly, submit as many documents as you can to establish that you entered into the marriage in "good faith," and not for the purpose of circumventing immigration laws. Examples of acceptable documents:
- Birth certificates of any children born to the marriage
- Evidence of joint property ownership – deeds, mortgage notes, etc.
- Lease Agreements
- Sworn affidavits from family and friends
- Financial documents showing joint ownership of bank accounts, loans, joint tax returns, insurance policies, joint utility bills;
- Any other document that may be relevant.
Please note that if you are no longer with your spouse and would like to file I-751 on your own, you may have to submit additional documents in order to establish your eligibility for a waiver of the joint filing requirement. The required documents depend on the type of waiver you are seeking. If you have to file I-751 seeking waiver, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an immigration lawyer. You should keep in mind that a denial of I-751 may result in your removal from the United States. Also, remember that filling out the form and sending it to USCIS is NOT enough. You must enclose supporting documents sufficient to establish your eligibility. Waiver cases are complex and most applicants retain immigration lawyers.
My I-751 was denied. Now what?
Retain an immigration lawyer immediately. She/he will determine the reasons for the denial, review all facts and circumstances pertaining to your case and plan a strategy.
This blog is for informational purposes only. No information in this blog shall be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer.
Authored by: Aneliya Angelova