How to handle an I-751 case
An I-751 is used to remove the conditions on your green card. If you were married to a United States Citizen for less than 2 years on the day you received your green card then the green card that you received was, as they say, conditional. In order to make your green card a permanent green card you have to remove the conditions on it. USCIS does not fully trust marriages which were less than 2 years old at the time of the granting of the green card and makes the green card holder prove that they are still married in order to receive a permanent green card. If this is your situation then you must timely file your I-751 or USCIS will start removal (deportation) proceedings against you.
When Should the I-751 be filed?
You should file the I-751 within 90 days of your conditional green card expiring. Simply look at your conditional green card. It will tell you the date of expiration on the front of the card. Do not file it before the 90 days starts or it will likely be returned to you by USCIS.
What Evidence do I need to provide along with the I-751?
The I-751 form itself will list the requirements for filing. The evidence required will include:
a) Any documents showing that you own things together such as: homes, bank accounts, stock accounts etc.
b) Documents showing joint debts, such as: credit card debts, car debts, leases, gym memberships, utility bills etc.
c) Birth certificates of your children (this is the best evidence of a real marriage)
d) Affidavits, signed under oath, by 2 people who are willing to testify that they know you and that they know your marriage is real.
e) Proof that you have vacationed together. This could be pictures from your trip(s) and copies of airline tickets.
f) Photographs of the 2 of you with family members (you should describe who the family members are and when the photos were taken)
g) insurance documents such as: medical insurance showing that your spouse is covered by your medical insurance plan; joint car or joint life insurance etc.
h) jointly filed federal or state tax returns.
What is the Wait Period?
It may take several months up to a year or more to receive your permanent green card. You will receive a notice of receipt from USCIS which will state that your green card is extended for one year and that employment and travel are authorized. You must keep the receipt with your green card. If you do not receive approval in a year you can get an infor pass at your local office to see what the delay is in your case and obtain an I-551 stamp in your passport. You may also be called in for an interview, at the local USCIS office, if USCIS wants to interview you prior to making a decision on your case. If this happens I strongly suggest you meet with an attorney prior to your interview.
The information provided is general in nature and is not intended to be legal advice. Before you file anything with USCIS it is strongly recommended that you consult with an Immigration Attorney. It is strongly recommended that you hire a qualified lawyer when preparing this type of case. An attorney can make sure everything is done correctly so that your case is not delayed, or worse, denied.
Our office handles these cases all the time for a low flat fee. I would be happy to talk to you, free of charge, about your case. I may be reached at 916-709-4643 or 888-801-6558.
Lawrence Gruner is an Immigration Attorney with over 20 years of experience handling Immigration cases. He is located in downtown Sacramento. He handles cases throughout California, the United States and the World.