Filing Your I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions
Winning your green card based on your marriage is an exciting time, but it can also lead to some confusion. Some do not expect to receive a green card that will expire in just two years. If your marriage is less than two years old at the time your spouse files for your family-based visa and adjustment of status, you will be granted “conditional residency.” 8 U.S.C. 1186(h)(1). While conditional permanent residents and permanent residents have the same rights and responsibilities, conditional residents must file an I-751 Petition to Removal Conditions up to 90 days prior to the expiration of their green card. Conditional permanent residents must file evidence of their bona fide marriage to be approved for permanent residency.
I-751 Petitions are required to be filed jointly by both spouses. However, some marriages end prior to the expiration date of the green card, or it may not be possible to file an application jointly with participation of both spouses. A waiver of the joint filing requirement may be requested in limited circumstances. These include marriages that terminated, despite being entered in good faith; death of a spouse; the foreign national spouse was subjected to battery or extreme cruelty at the hands of the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse; or extreme hardship.
Historically, I-751 Petitions have taken a very long time to adjudicate. Upon filing the I-751 Petition, the applicant’s permanent residency is automatically extended. The I-751 Receipt, along with the expired green card, serves as proof of one’s permanent residency while waiting for the application decision. USCIS recently announced that I-751 receipts will extend the applicant’s permanent residency for two years due to the incredibly long adjudication times. New receipt notices will be issued to applicants who filed their I-751 Petition prior to September 4, 2021.
With the expired green card and the I-751 Receipt notice, one may continue to work and travel outside the United States. Before traveling, one can request the local USCIS Field Office place an I-551 Stamp in the passport. This stamp serves as temporary proof of lawful permanent residency. It is up to the discretion of the local USCIS Field Office to grant an I-551 Stamp.
The attorneys of Flecha Law have extensive experience in filing both jointly-filed I-751 Petitions and I-751 Petitions with a request for a waiver of joint filing. If you have questions related to filing an I-751 Petition, we invite you to contact us for a consultation.