SGM Law Group is happy to share the recent success story of a challenging I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence) approval after the original petition was denied by USCIS.
In June 2013, the client approached us with a decision from USCIS stating that her petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence was denied. The client is a foreign national and had filed for the Adjustment of Status (AOS) based on her marriage to a US citizen. The reason for denial was that she filed a new Adjustment of Status (AOS) petition when she had already been granted a conditional permanent residence status two years ago through her US citizen ex-husband. Once a person is married to a U.S. citizen, the foreign national receives a Green Card that is valid for a duration of two years. The foreign national is then expected to file a I-751 petition (Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence) in order to remove the conditions and receive a valid ten year Green Card. However, the client divorced the U.S. citizen husband before completing 2 years of marriage, filed an I-751 petition based on good faith marriage and during the pendency of that petition married another U.S. Citizen.
Unfortunately, her prior attorney advised her to withdraw her I-751 petition and file a new AOS package through her current husband. According to her attorney, this was the only way for her to obtain permanent resident status in the US. as her prior marriage had ended in a divorce.
This was incorrect advice since USCIS would never adjudicate a new AOS application when the individual had already been granted a valid two year Green Card which had not been terminated by USCIS or an Immigration Judge. By withdrawing her I-751 petition, the client had put herself in dangerous territory as she was left without status in the United States.
What we did:
As soon as we retained the client, we knew we had to work fast. The longer the client is without status, the more at risk she is for further complications or potentially deportation. Also, there are generally no guarantees of petition approval, so with an added denial to the case, it can be challenging to remove the conditions and provide enough evidence to establish that her prior marriage was entered into in good faith. We began with filing a fresh I-751 petition. We submitted detailed evidence establishing that her previous marriage was bona fide. We also presented supporting evidence which established that the previous marriage was terminated through no fault of hers. Additionally, we requested USCIS to reconsider all the evidence submitted with her previous I-751 petition which was initially withdrawn.
Based on our detailed legal brief proving the bona-fide marriage and supporting evidence, USCIS approved her latest I-751 petition and removed all conditions on her residence. She will now be eligible to apply for US Citizenship within a year.
Clients are highly recommended to seek a second opinion if they have been advised to withdraw any previously filed petitions. It may not be possible to undo the damage done by withdrawing or abandoning a perfectly legitimate application. Further, a new marriage based petition will not be adjudicated by USCIS if a person has been previously accorded conditional status by USCIS and that status has not been terminated.
SGM Law Group is always prepared to assist clients with challenging immigration cases in marriage and family based petitions. If you have any questions regarding your case, please contact our immigration lawyers.