Need to File Form I-751

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Need to File Form I-751 to Remove Conditions of Residence? Start Here 

            A typical green card would take a decade to expire and can be renewed as many times as you want. However, if your green card was based on marriage to a US citizen or another green card holder, and you received it before your second anniversary, then the green card you receive will be valid for only 2 years. There is a condition attached to this 2-year green card: In order to get the permanent, 10-year green card, you need to file Form I-751 jointly with your spouse. It aids the petitioner to remove conditions on their living status in the U.S. This form functions to provide you, the petitioner with a permanent green card that is renewable within every ten years just like everybody else’s.

So, When is the Best Time to Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence with Form I-751? 

        Form I-751 is a time-sensitive document that should be filled and submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within a specified period. Unless you are filing for a waiver of the joint requirement, you and your spouse must file the I-751 in the 90 day period prior to the expiration date. In other words, the earliest you can file is 1 year 9 months from the date you become a permanent resident, and the latest you can file is the expiration date. If you’re late, USCIS will only give an exception to applicants that write a letter clarifying that the circumstances that led to their late submission were a consequence of an unavoidable phenomenon beyond their control. That, however, is not a guarantee that your application will be accepted. And if it’s denied, you can – and likely will – be placed in removal (deportation) proceedings.

        Another condition that determines the time frame for filing an I-751 form is your marital status. An individual filing for a petition to remove conditions of residence by themselves is allowed to do so at any time after they receive their conditional residence green card. (These cases are almost always more complicated, as they involve showing hardship, abuse, or divorce). Immigrants who fill the I-751 jointly with their sponsoring spouse, however, are given a strict ninety-day period before the expiry date of the conditional green card to apply.

Am I Eligible to File Form I-751? 

        If you possess a conditional green card, then you are eligible for a petition to remove conditions of residence, if filed at the right time and in the right category. The information as per your residence status on your permanent or conditional residence can be obtained from the front part of your green card. Look for the letter “CR1” on the “Category” heading or the expiry date which should state two years.

        Usually, the I-751 form is to be filed jointly by the applying spouse and their sponsoring spouse. Exceptions are allowed if the applying spouse indicates that their partner died, is divorced, or is abusive.

How Do I File Form I-751?  

        The Form I-751 instructions are relatively straightforward and easy to follow. The Filing process entails ten categories, where relevant information about your application is required:

  • Personal information forms the first part, which entails your name, addresses, USCIS online account number, and alien registration number.
  • The second part requires your biographical information
  • The basis of the petition forms the third part. Make sure to get this right!
  • The fourth and fifth segments require you to fill in information about your spouse and children if applicable.
  • The sixth section caters for individuals living with disabilities.
  • The seventh and eighth parts are meant for you and your spouse to verify that the information rendered is correct, and thus a signature will suffice. 
  • The tenth segment is usable in the event an interpreter and/or a lawyer aided you. Fill in their information here.

Upon completion, print the form I-751 pdf and send it to the USCIS via mail. Remember to check the form I-751 processing time for the field office from which you filed your document so that you have an idea of how long you have to wait.

What’s Next?

You must be able to tell your own story. Form I-751 is easy to fill out, but the documents and affidavits are where the real case lies. If you just follow the instructions, your case may require significant additional evidence. Worse, if you didn’t bother to tell your story through your initial documents, you may be summoned for an interview (which are rare for I-751’s) where any discrepancies in your initial submission and your testimony in the interview may be questioned. This will delay your case and any subsequent filing for naturalization (citizenship.)

Remember, the receipt notice for the I-751 will, if filed properly and timely, extend your conditional green card for 18 months. (It used to be 12 months but USCIS processing slowed and now the extension is for 18 months.) During the time that your 2-year green card is expired, you will need both the expired card and the original I-751 receipt notice in order to show proof of status. You are allowed to work and travel as long as you carry both of these documents. Guard them carefully!

What the HMA Law Firm Will Do For You ?

      You made it as far as getting the 2-year green card. On your road to US citizenship, the I-751 is an absolutely necessary middle step. Don’t mess it up. Don’t take chances. And if you are separating from your spouse, or have suffered abuse or other hardship, don’t try to file by yourself. Having to deal with a separation from your spouse under whatever circumstance is enough pressure as is. Our team ensures that you avail all your relevant documents and systematically organize them in preparation for the filing process. So, let us handle the technical stuff for you so that you do not have to. Call us today for consultations and expert advice. Let us tell your story.

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