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The Top 5 Things You Need to Know Before Applying for the I-751 Removal of Conditions

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In this post, we share with our readers the top five things you need to know before applying for the I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.

  1. You must file the I-751 Removal of Conditions if you were granted Conditional Resident status (a 2-year green card) based on marriage to a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident

A conditional permanent resident receives a green card that is valid for a 2-year period. Conditional permanent residence is given to foreign nationals who have been married for less than 2 years, on the day that the application for permanent residence was approved. Conditional permanent residents have “conditional” status instead of “permanent” resident status, because they must prove that they did not marry the US Citizen or LPR spouse solely to obtain an immigration benefit. These individuals must go through the additional hurdle of filing Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence to obtain a permanent resident card (10-year green card).

  1. You must file the I-751 petition in a timely manner

The I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence must be filed during the 90-day window immediately before the conditional residence will expire (see the conditional green card’s expiration date and subtract 90 days).

  1. Consequences of Failing to File

If you fail to remove your conditions before the 90-day window closes, you will automatically lose your permanent resident status on the second anniversary of the date you were granted conditional status. You are then subject to removal from the United States. You may only file an I-751 petition after the expiration date of your conditional residence if you demonstrate that your delay in filing the petition was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control

  1. Filing for Removal of Conditions where your marriage has ended

You may file still the I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence even if your marriage has been terminated due to divorce, annulment, or separation, so long as you can demonstrate that you entered the marriage in good faith

There are generally two ways to file the I-751: jointly with your spouse, or individually by filing a request that the joint filing requirement be waived. If you will file the petition individually, as a waiver of the joint filing requirement, you bear the burden of demonstrating that although your marriage irretrievably broke down, you entered the marriage in good faith.

  1. The I-751 Petition is a Document Intensive and Lengthy Process

Filing for the I-751 is no easy process. Whether you are filing jointly or individually you must prove to USCIS that you married for love and not to gain an immigrant benefit. In order to prove this, you must demonstrate cohabitation with your US Citizen or LPR spouse, joint responsibility of assets and liabilities, and produce a wealth of documentation including: joint tax returns, lease agreements, insurance documents, financial records, utility bills, bank accounts, photographs, etc. that can help show that your marriage is a bona fide marriage.

In addition, processing of an I-751 can take anywhere from 7-12 months or longer especially in waiver applications depending on the volume of applications that need to be reviewed by USCIS.

Currently, USCIS is experiencing delays in processing I-751 petitions, and has announced that receipt notices will begin to be issued giving applicant’s continued status for a period of 18 months past the expiration date on their conditional permanent resident card. Formerly, USCIS issued a 12-month extension upon receipt of a removal of conditions application. This means that delays will continue, and applicants can expect to wait up to 18 months to receive their 10-year green cards.  There are also delays at the California Service Center in processing receipt notices for I-751 Removal of Conditions Applications. USCIS asks that applicants do not file a duplicate application unless they have received a rejection notice or instructions by the CSC to do so.

For more information regarding the I-751 petition, please visit our website.