What is Form I-751
Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, is used by conditional Green Card holders to obtain a permanent unrestricted Green Card. This form is used specifically for people who obtained their conditional Green Card based on a marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (Green Card holder) or for individuals who obtained their Green Card based on an EB-5 Investment Visa (Removal of Condition for EB-5 Investors).
A conditional Green Card expires after two years and at that time, the holder of the Green Card has to file for a regular Green Card using Form I-751 within 90 days of expiration.
Who has to remove the conditions on their Green Card?
The spouse who has a conditional Green Card has to file to remove the conditions on his or her permanent resident card within 90 days of that card’s expiration.
Typically, the couple files jointly, but there are scenarios where the USCIS will waive joint filing and allow the spouse to file for a permanent Green Card on their own. This is especially true if the spouse can show that they experienced undue hardship in their relationship.
What are the Eligibility Criteria (Marriage-based I-751)?
Generally, you are able to apply to remove your conditions on permanent residence if:
- You are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years (your children may be included in your application if they received their conditional resident status at the same time that you did or within 90 days);
- You are a child and cannot be included in the application of your parents for a valid reason;
- You are a widow or widower of a marriage that was entered into in good faith;
- You entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage was ended through divorce or annulment (Waiver Petitions to remove the conditions of residence based on divorce (I-751)
- You entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse;
- The termination of your conditional immigrant resident status would cause extreme hardship to you.
What kind of Evidence Should I Submit?
- A “personal declaration” in which you describe, in great detail, how you met your spouse, why you got married, and the feelings that you had or still have towards him or her, and why.
- If you and your spouse have a child or children together, present the birth certificate for each child.
- Wedding pictures and/or photographs of other moments when you and your spouse, and/or other members of your families and friends have been together.
- Declarations (formal letters) from people who know you and your spouse and who can affirm that your marriage was based on sentimental or cultural ties, who witnessed your marriage ceremony or who knew you as a married couple. These letters should include as many details as possible.
- Letters that you received from your spouse while you were dating, separated, or during any other stage of your relationship.
- Letters from people addressed to both you and your spouse, or in which the person who wrote the letter refers to both of you as a couple.
- Papers with the names of both you and your spouse that show that you bought a car, a house, furniture, or something else together.
- A rental agreement for your house or apartment with both of your names on it, or a letter from the building manager or owner proving that you lived together.
- Letters or statements from a bank that show that you had or have a savings or checking account together. Filing a Form I–751 Waiver Prepared by Northwest Immigrant Rights Project September 2006 5
- Insurance papers that show that you were or still are covered by your spouse’s insurance plan, or that your plan covers or covered him or her.
- Bills, such as electricity, water, heat, cable TV, phone, or others that show both you and your spouse’s names.
- Income tax papers that show your name and your spouse’s name.
- An identification card that shows that you use your spouse’s last name.
- Applications or membership cards for video clubs, grocery stores or similar businesses, that show joint membership for your and your spouse.
- Any other documents you can think of to show that you did not get married just to get immigration papers.
Removing Conditions on Permanent Residency for Investors
The process of removing conditions for investors under the EB-5 category includes:
- Detailed information regarding the status of the project
- Documentation related to the commercial enterprise
- Documentation that demonstrates the petitioner’s investments and flow of funds
- Documentation showing that the petitioner has maintained their investment
- Documentation of job creation
What if I am Late in Filing to Remove the Conditions on Residence?
Removal of Conditions must be timely filed. If you fail to timely file your petition to remove the conditions or appear for the interview, your immigration status may be terminated. However, USCIS may waive the untimely filing for “good cause and extenuating circumstances.”
Is a Personal Interview of the Joint Petitioners Required?
You and your spouse must appear for a personal interview at the district office that serves that area where you live. However, the director of the regional service center where you file your petition has the discretion to waive the interview requirement. The director will review the petition to determine whether an interview is required. If the director is satisfied based on the written petition that your marriage was not entered into in order to obtain immigration benefits, he or she may waive the interview requirement and approve the petition. If the director is not satisfied of the validity of your marriage based on the petition, he or she will forward the petition to the district office to conduct an interview.
What if my Petition to Remove the Condition on Residence is Denied?
If you file the I-751 and USCIS denies your petition, you will be placed in removal proceedings, and there is no appeal of a denied petition. An immigration judge, does however, have review jurisdiction over the denied petition. Avoiding denial or placement in deportation proceedings is best achieved by hiring an experienced immigration attorney in Austin to assist you along the way.
An Austin immigration lawyer – Abogados de Inmigracion en Austin TX – can help you determine if an I-751 petition to remove the condition on residence may benefit you or your family. Learn more by contacting Michael G. Murray, P.A today!