The Importance of Filing Properly for an I-751 Petition

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How Should I file for an I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence?

The removal of conditions process is an additional safe-guard that USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) uses to make sure that a marriage was bona fide before approval for a permanent green card.

If you obtained your green card through marriage and have been married for less than two years when you received your green card, that green card will be temporary for two years

You must file an application for removal of conditions, Form I-751, during the 90-day period immediately before your conditional residence expires. This allows you to obtain your “permanent” green card which is valid for ten years.

However, if the petition to remove conditions is not filed, you will automatically lose your permanent status two years from the date on which you were granted conditional status and you will become removable from the United States.

As we discussed, the purpose of this filing is so that USCIS can verify that the marriage was bona fide from its inception. In other words, USCIS wants to make sure that the marriage was entered into in good faith and not for the sole purpose of obtaining the immigration benefit. Filing Form I-751 alone will not be sufficient to receive an approval of the removal of conditions. In fact, you are guaranteed to receive an RFE (Request for Evidence) if you do not include evidence of the bona fides of the marriage. RFE’s are issued frequently, even where evidence is submitted. An RFE can cause undue delays leading to the beneficiary’s conditional green card to expire while the petition is pending. Therefore, it is imperative that you file your case properly and with substantial evidence from the beginning.

What evidence should accompany your Form I-751?

The evidence that you include with your petition should cover the period of time from the date of the marriage to the present. Here are some examples:

  • Birth certificates for any children born to the marriage;
  • Lease agreements listing both spouses as leasees;
  • Joint bank statements;
  • Proof of jointly owned assets;
  • Insurance policies listing the other spouse as beneficiary;
  • Jointly filed taxes;
  • Joint bills;
  • Photographs.

Is it possible to avoid the I-751 Interview?

Yes. As part of the # removal of conditions process, both spouses are required to appear at an interview (INA § 216). Most couples fear this interview because it involves being subjected to what can be intrusive personal questions about their marriage. What’s more, if something goes wrong during the interview the conditional resident status maybe in peril. However, if USCIS is satisfied from the initial filing that the marriage was bona fide they may waive the interview and approve the I-751 petition. Having an experienced attorney guiding you through the document collection and filing process will increase your chances of avoiding and RFE and having your interview waived.
This blog entry is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. This blog is for educational purposes only. Remember that each case is unique.

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