How to Remove Green Card Conditions: I-751 Form
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 (800) 792-9889 to discuss the best course of action for your circumstances, including a document review.
Form i 751: 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!).
What to consider when Removing Conditions on Green Card:
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 (800) 792-9889.
The I-751 form is meant to be filed 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.
If you are living one of these unfortunate circumstances, please check:
where we will explain each one of these cases.
How long is the USCIS processing time for the I-751 application?
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.
How much is the filing fee?
Additional to this, there is an $85 fee for the biometrics appointment.
Removal of green card conditions and green card renewal, is it the same?
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 (800) 792-9889 for a consultation.