Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Linda Lee
If you received your green card by applying to the green card through marriage process (formally known as Adjustment of Status), and your marriage was less than 2 years when your green card was approved, what you received is a conditional green card, known as CR1 visa (Conditional permanent residency).
The conditional green card is valid for only 2 years. After this period, if you wish to remain as a permanent resident in the U.S. you need to remove the conditions of your green card. This is done by submitting the form I 751 petition to remove conditions on residence. If you successfully submit this form and it gets approved, then you will move from the conditional permanent resident status to the permanent resident status, and your green card will be valid for 10 years.
To remove the Green Card conditions you must:
- Submit a Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence (Form I-751).
- Prove to USCIS that your marriage is a bona fide marriage.
- Submit the application within 90 days prior to your conditional green card expiration date.
- File jointly, meaning that both you and your spouse must file together. Although, if this is not possible, you may still be able to remove the conditions of your residency by filing an I-751 waiver.
Filing for permanent residency can be a complex and confusing process, and with so much at stake, it is crucial that couples seek the legal guidance of an experienced immigration lawyer. Ensuring that your I-751 Marriage visa petition is successful requires specific documents and proof that the marriage is not simply an attempt to evade immigration laws. At The Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, our attorneys are dedicated to helping married couples, including same-sex couples, with the process of obtaining permanent residency in the U.S. please feel free to call us at (213) 375-4084 to discuss the best course of action for your circumstances, including a document review.
I-751 Form: What is it for?
The objective of the USCIS form i751 is to prove to the USCIS officers that your marriage is a bona fide marriage, meaning that it is a legitimate marriage. The reason for this proceeding is to avoid granting green cards to applicants from fraudulent or fake marriages that took place only for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits (marrying only to obtain a green card for example).
One thing that you need to consider when filing the I-751 form, is that it is meant to be a “joint filing” process, meaning that you and your spouse should file together. If you cannot file jointly with your U.S. Citizen spouse because you went through a divorce, there is still a chance for you to remove the conditions of your residency and obtain the 10 year green card if you apply for an I-751 waiver. The i751 waiver can also be a path if the U.S. citizen has died, if there’s evidence of an abusive marriage, or if putting the applicant into removal proceedings will cause extreme hardship on him/her. If one of these is your case, please refer to I-751 Waiver to learn more.
For now, let’s assume you and your spouse are still together and your marriage is moving forward (Congratulations by the way!).
I-751 Form Filing Considerations
There are 3 major factors to consider when filing for the form i751 petition to remove conditions on residence:
- You must prove that the marriage is a bona fide marriage
2. You must submit the application on time
3. The I-751 form is meant to be filed jointly, but there are exceptions
You must prove that the marriage is a bona fide marriage:
Remember that the whole purpose of the I-751 form is to prove the legitimacy of your marriage, so we cannot emphasize how important this step is. Considering that now you have been married for about 2 years, there should be enough evidence to prove your marriage is a good faith marriage (or bona fide marriage). The following checklist could help as guidance (although proving the good faith of a marriage does not restrict to only these):
- Proof that you and your spouse are living together: Generally speaking, married couples tend to live together. If you and your spouse don’t live together, it can raise a red flag for the USCIS officers.
To prove you two live together, some helpful documents to show can be: lease agreement, utility bills or driver’s licenses with the same address.
- Proof of a marital relationship: In two years of marriage, you probably have tons of pictures of you two together and they are immensely helpful. Here you can show pictures of your wedding, of trips you have taken together, vacations you have had together or events that you attended together.
- Proof of commingling of finances: helpful documents here are joint bank accounts and joint tax returns.
- Proof of you and your spouse having children together: If you and your spouse had children together, you can show birth certificates of your children.
- Affidavit from friends and family: Third parties can testify that your marriage is real. Here you can ask your friends, family, or even neighbors, to write an affidavit letter stating how and when they met you and your spouse, the relationship they have with you and how they have witnessed the existence of your marriage.
You must submit the application on time:
The form I-751 petition to remove conditions on green card must be filed within 90 days prior to your conditional green card expiration date. Failing to submit the I-751 form on time will result in you being out of status. This means that you are considered of unlawful presence and can be put into removal proceedings. If you are in this situation or if the deadline to submit your I-751 form is approaching, we strongly recommend contacting an experienced immigration lawyer that can help you file successfully. At the Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles we can help you with filing the I-751 form as we have helped many other conditional permanent resident clients in the past. Give us a call at (213) 375-4084.
You must file jointly, but there are exceptions:
As mentioned before, the form I-751 is meant to be filed by both you and your spouse together. But if you cannot file jointly with your U.S. Citizen spouse there is still a chance for you to remove the conditions of your residency and obtain the 10-year green card (IR1) if you apply for an I-751 waiver.
The I-751 waiver can be filed under 4 cases typically:
- Death of the U.S. Citizen spouse
- An abusive marriage, and
- Extreme hardship for the conditional resident if deported.
I-751 USCIS Processing Time
The timeline and USCIS processing time for the form I-751 depend, among other factors, on whether the application was filed jointly, or with a waiver.
As for now, for jointly filed petitions, the processing time for petition to remove conditions on residence (I-751) at California Service Center is between 15 to 19 months.
I-751 Removal of Green Card Conditions VS Green Card Renewal
One of the common misconceptions green card holders and lawful permanent residents have is to mistake the removal of green card conditions with the green card renewal process.
The removal of green card conditions process, as explained throughout this article, is the process of transitioning from a conditional resident type of green card, to a permanent green card. This process is typically done within 90 days prior to the conditional green card expiration date (2 years after approval).
The green card renewal on the other hand, is a different process. It is meant for permanent residents who already have a permanent green card (10-year green card) and need to renew it or replace it. This might be necessary if the 10-year period is about to end, or if the permanent resident got his/her green card stolen for example, or simply lost it.
Whether you need to remove the conditions of your green card or renew it, here at the Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles we can help you. With 80 years of combined experience and over 35,000 cases approved, we can provide you with the best assistance and guidance. We will work 7 days a week on your application and will constantly update you about your immigration process. Go ahead and give us a call at (213) 375-4084 for a consultation.
I-751 Filing Fee
USCIS filing fees for the I-751 form are $595.
Additional to this, there is an $85 fee for the biometrics appointment.
|Number of Petitioners
|Petitioner filing alone
|Petitioner + 1 child removing conditions
|Petitioner + 2 children removing conditions
|Petitioner + 3 children removing conditions
|Petitioner + 4 children removing conditions
|Petitioner + 5 children removing conditions
If more than 5 children are removing conditions with their parent on the same form, add a further $85 for each additional child. Please visit the USCIS website for updated fee schedules.
Where to file the Form I-751?
The direct filing address for the Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence is:
- For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):USCIS
P.O. Box 21200
Phoenix, AZ 85036
- For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:USCIS
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Hiring a Lawyer to File I-751 Form
Hiring our law office to assist with filing the I-751 form offers several benefits which are listed below.
Expertise and Experience: Our lawyers are well-versed in the complex immigration laws and regulations. We have experience navigating the intricacies of the immigration system, which can be particularly helpful if your case involves any complexities or issues.
Legal Advice: Our attorneys can provide you with personalized legal advice based on your situation. We can review your case, identify potential challenges, and provide strategies to address them effectively.
Documentation Preparation: The I-751 form requires extensive documentation to prove the legitimacy of your marriage. Our law office can help you gather the appropriate evidence, ensuring that you submit a strong and convincing application package.
Avoid Mistakes: Immigration forms can be detailed and require precise information. Mistakes or omissions on your application can lead to delays or even denials. Our I-751 experienced attorneys are skilled in completing forms accurately, minimizing the chances of errors.
Legal Representation: If your case faces complications or if there are concerns about your eligibility, we can advocate on your behalf. Our attorneys can communicate with immigration authorities, respond to requests for evidence, and represent you during any interviews or hearings.
Knowledge of Changes: Immigration laws and procedures can change frequently. Our law office stays up-to-date with the latest changes, ensuring that your application adheres to the most current requirements.
Increased Confidence: Having our attorney guide you through the process can provide peace of mind. You can be more confident that your application is well-prepared and that you are taking the right steps to achieve a positive outcome.
Time and Stress Savings: Immigration processes can be time-consuming and stressful. Our law office can take on much of the administrative burden, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your life.
Higher Chance of Success: Our expertise can increase your chances of success. We can help you present your case in the best possible light and address any potential red flags. We have a 99% approval rate.
Appeal and Litigation: If you filed your application on your own and it was denied, our attorneys can assist you in the appeal process or explore further legal options if necessary.
Give our office a call today to speak with an attorney experienced in filing I-751 forms to schedule a consultation at (213) 375-4084.
I-751 Form FAQ
Why does the I-751 processing take so long?
The processing time for Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, can vary widely and may take a significant amount of time for several reasons:
- High Volume of Applications: USCIS receives a substantial number of I-751 petitions, particularly because it involves conditional green card holders seeking to remove the conditions on their permanent resident status. The high volume of applications can lead to processing delays.
- Resource Constraints: USCIS may face resource constraints, including limited staffing and budgetary challenges. These limitations can affect the agency’s ability to process applications efficiently and in a timely manner.
- Complexity of Cases: Some I-751 petitions may be more complex than others, requiring additional time for review. Complex cases can involve issues such as divorce, separation, or other circumstances that require careful adjudication.
- Background Checks and Security Screening: USCIS conducts thorough background checks and security screening for all applicants. This process can be time-consuming, especially if there are any issues that need further investigation.
- Request for Evidence (RFE): If USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) in response to an I-751 petition, it can significantly delay the processing time. RFEs are issued when USCIS requires additional documentation or information to make a decision.
- Administrative Backlog: USCIS may experience administrative backlogs in processing various types of immigration applications and petitions, including I-751 petitions. This backlog can lead to longer processing times for all applicants.
- Regional Processing Variations: The processing time can also vary depending on the USCIS service center or field office responsible for handling the petition. Some locations may have shorter processing times than others.
- Policy Changes and Prioritization: USCIS policies and priorities may change over time, impacting the processing of different types of petitions. Changes in immigration policy can affect the processing times for I-751 petitions.
To address delays in the processing of your I-751 petition, it’s essential to monitor the USCIS website for updates on processing times and to ensure that you have submitted a complete and accurate petition. Respond promptly to any Requests for Evidence (RFEs) if you receive one, and consider seeking legal advice or assistance from an immigration attorney if your case is delayed significantly or if you encounter challenges during the process. While processing times can be frustrating, maintaining patience and diligence is crucial during this period.