Your conditional green card is close to expiring, so it’s time to move to a regular one. Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, is for conditional permanent residents who received their status via marriage and want to remove their permanent residency status conditions by converting it into a 10-year green card. Keep reading to learn about the required supporting documents, how to file the form, required evidence, details about an I-751 affidavit sample, and explore some frequently asked questions.
What Is Form I-751 Used For?
Form I-751 is to ask USCIS to remove the conditions on your green card so you can reap the benefits of permanent residency in the long term. You need to provide evidence that the marriage is genuine and didn’t use it only to gain access to the United States. Removing the conditions on the green card for those who have a conditional green card but the marriage has dissolved is still possible if you can prove that the marriage was originally bona fide. You should seek an immigration attorney for these cases due to the complexity and risk of losing immigration benefits.
Do I Have A Conditional Green Card?
USCIS grants a conditional green card to individuals married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident for less than two years old when they apply for permanent residence. These conditional green cards differ from regular green cards because they have a shorter validity period. If you have a CR-1 visa, you have a conditional green card.
Who Should File Form I-751?
If you have a conditional green card, you must file Form I-751 to remove permanent resident status conditions. Otherwise, your conditional green card will expire, and USCIS will begin removal proceedings against you.
When to File Form I-751
When should you consider filing the form? The answer depends on whether you are still married and filing jointly with your spouse, filing by yourself, and whether your green card is expired.
Married and Filing Jointly
Ninety days before your conditional green card expires, submit a joint petition with your spouse. Don’t apply before the 90 days, and don’t wait until after it expires to apply. If your conditional green card is expired, you can get an exemption by writing a letter explaining why you could not file before the expiration. However, be aware that there are no guarantees that USCIS will grant the exemption.
If your marriage is overdue to a death, divorce, annulment, etc., you still can file for the removal of conditions yourself. There is a section to fill out to waive the joint filing requirement. Make sure your lawyer reviews all your information to ensure you demonstrated extreme hardship.
Expired Conditional Green Card
You can still file the form if your conditional green card has expired. However, there are specific criteria. First, you must submit a letter clearly stating why you are filing late. USCIS may make an exception if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances and if the length of the delay was reasonable, thus demonstrating good cause. extraordinary situations outside the applicant’s control is a good reason for a late filing.
Form I-751 Instructions – Step by Step
Below you will learn how to fill out the form in our I-751 instructions manual. The first step after downloading the form is to type or print all your responses in black ink.
Part 1: Information About You, the Conditional Resident
This section pertains to information about you (conditional resident). Fill in your first, last, and middle names and any other names you have used in a legal context. Also, fill out your birth date, country of birth, country of citizenship, A-Number, U.S. Social Security Number (if applicable), USCIS online account number (if applicable), marital status, the mailing address/physical address, and the additional questions in line 18-23. Some of the questions include:
- Are you in removal, deportation, or rescission proceedings?
- Did you pay a fee to anyone other than an attorney in connection with this petition?
- Have you ever been arrested, detained, charged, indicted, fined, or imprisoned for breaking or violating any law or ordinance?
Part 2: Biographic Information
The second section asks questions regarding your ethnicity, race, height, weight, eye color, and hair color.
Part 3: Basis for Petition
The first question in this section asks if the conditional residence is based on your marriage to your spouse or your parent’s marriage to a U.S. citizen/lawful permanent resident. Select the appropriate box. If you cannot file a joint petition, select the reason why in the “Waiver or Individual Filing Request” section. The options are:
- My spouse is deceased
- My marriage was entered in good faith, but the marriage was terminated through divorce or annulment.
- I entered the marriage in good faith, and, during the marriage, I was battered, or was the subject of extreme cruelty, by my U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse.
- My parent entered the marriage in good faith, and, during the marriage, I was battered, or was subjected to extreme cruelty, by my parent’s U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or by my conditional resident parent.
- The termination of my status and removal from the United States would result in extreme hardship.
Part 4: Information About the U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Spouse
In this section, enter the basic information about the green card holder or U.S. citizen spouse.
Part 5: Information About Your Children
If you have children, fill out their names, birthdates, and A-Numbers in this section along with their physical address(es).
Part 6: Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities and/or Impairments
If you possess disabilities or an impairment (i.e., deaf, blind, etc.) that you need assistance with from U.S. immigration officials, document it in this section.
Part 7 and Part 8
These parts help verify that all the information you and your spouse submitted is accurate and that you understood all the questions.
Part 9: Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature and Part 10: Contact Information, Statement, Certification, and Signature of the Person Preparing this Petition, If Other Than the Petitioner
This section provides the information of anyone who assisted you in completing the form.
Form I-751 Checklist of Supporting Documents
If you are wondering what documents you need for I-751, here’s a list:
- Copies of your conditional green card or permanent resident card (front and back view)
- Copies of any children’s green cards (if they are included on the petition)
- Documentation supporting the legitimacy of the marriage (paper trail showing you cohabitated, lease, mortgage, utility bills, joint financial accounts, shared assets, etc.)
- If you are not filing jointly, evidence to demonstrate why like a divorce decree, spouse’s death certificate, etc.
- Should you have been convicted of a crime or any criminal activity, give this documentation
- If applicable, you should include documentation in support of why you are filing alone (spouse’s death certificate, documentation of domestic abuse, etc)
- If applicable, you should attach an explanation of why you are filing late
Are you a military personnel filing abroad? If you are, include two passport-style photographs, the fingerprint cards (Form FD-258), and your military orders.
Document to Prove Relationship Legitimacy – I-751 Evidence
Your immigration attorney may advise you to submit additional legal documents to demonstrate the relationship. Forms of I-751 evidence include:
- Proof of shared residency
- Property deed
- Bill from the utility company
- Joint bank statements
- Proof of raising children together
- Children’s birth certificates/ adoption certificates
- Photos of the couple with the children
- Children’s school or medical records
- Other forms of proof:
- Photos from vacations, weddings, parties
- Written or mailed communications
- Receipts from gifts exchanged
Where to File Form I-751
The I-751 filing address depends on where you reside in the U.S. You should find out the location of your appropriate office prior to filling out the form.
The I-751 filing fee is $595. You must pay a $85 biometric service fee for each person applying to remove conditions on their residence on the same form. You may pay the fee with a money order, personal check or cashier’s check. When filing at a USCIS lockbox facility, you may also pay by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. If you pay by check, you must make your check payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Service centers are not able to process credit card payments.
Next Steps After Submitting Your Form
Keep an eye out after filing the form because you should receive a confirmation receipt (Form I-757) from USCIS that they received it. The overall processing time for the form will change depending on which service center is handling it and the length of their wait times. Regardless, your green card will be valid until USCIS decides on your I-751. Be aware that you may have to interview with USCIS as a conditional green cardholder. If all goes well and USCIS approves your petition, you will receive a notice and a 10-year green card via mail.
Checking I-751 Status
As with many USCIS forms, you can check the status on their website. If the application is taking longer than expected, you can contact USCI to request an update as to the status of your application.
Reasons for Form I-751 Denial
There are generally only three reasons for denial:
- Your marriage was fraudulent, or judicially annulled, or you have filed another immigrant status application
- You failed to attend the interview or filed your application late without any justification
- You provided inconsistent or false information on your application
What To Do If Denied
You will receive a Notice to Appear (NTA) if your application is denied. Removal proceedings will be initiated against you, and you will be required to attend a court hearing. However, you can defend your residence status:
- File a new I-751 on different grounds than the first one
- Submit a motion to continue the removal proceedings against you
- If your second petition is approved, then file a new motion to end the removal proceedings against you
- If your second petition is denied, the judge will decide whether your petition was denied on reasonable grounds. In this case, your conditional green card will be valid until the end of the proceedings
I-751 Affidavit of Support
An I-751 affidavit can be an essential component in proving the legitimacy of your marriage. USCIS maintains the right to investigate any marriage they suspect is a sham marriage. If USCIS finds your marriage fraudulent, serious repercussions may occur, including criminal penalties and even imprisonment. Therefore, an I-751 Affidavit, written by a family member, community leader, or friend, is a great document to share with immigration officials to support your relationship legitimacy.
Affidavit of Support Sample
Below is an I-751 Affidavit Sample – try to follow a similar format. The affiant is the affidavit writer.
[USCIS P.O. Box Address]
Subject: Affidavit of Support for John and Jessica Myers
Dear USCIS Officer,
Allow me to introduce myself – my name is Gabriella Munez, and I was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1990. I’veknown John Myers (spouse of Jessica Myers) since the early 2000s and have been present for many of his notable life events, including meeting and falling in love with his now-wife Jessica. I have spent considerable time with the couple, seeing them at least once a year for the past five years, and I have witnessed for myself how they are in a committed and loving marriage.
I was present at John and Jessica’s marriage in 2019; such a beautiful ceremony and joining of two families! I look forward to the day this couple will be attending my wedding! They have spoken about growing their family by having kids in the next few years, and I think they will be excellent, kind parents. I swear in this letter that the information is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (809) 382-9928 or email me at [email protected]
[Date of birth and birthplace]
To recap, it’s essential for the person writing the affidavit of support to explain:
- how do they know you
- the nature of your relationship with them and your spouse
- the length of time they’ve known you
- Any other relevant information they can provide to bolster your case
Form I-751 Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the petitioner in Form I-751?
The petitioner is the conditional green card holder who wants to remove the conditions on the green card.
What are I-751 processing times in 2023?
This depends on the service center processing your case and their wait time. However, the processing time can generally range from 11 to 19 months. You can check your USCIS case status here.
Does I-751 require an interview?
Yes, every applicant must attend an in-person interview to remove the conditions on their green card. This is a requirement as per applicable U.S. immigration law. However, due to the massive immigration backlog, this requirement is usually waived for most applicants.
How many photos do you need for I-751?
You will need two photos for each petitioner and dependent. The photos must be passport-style and colored. You must provide the photos regardless of the age of your dependents.
How long is conditional permanent residency valid?
After getting married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, it is valid for the first two years.
Do USCIS affidavits need to be notarized?
You don’t need to notarize the I-751 affidavit of support, but you should include a sworn statement that the contents are true and accurate.
Who needs an I-751 Affidavit of Support?
Conditional permanent residents who would like the conditions of their green card removed should obtain an affidavit from a friend, relative or community leader close to them.
What is the I-751 request for an additional evidence letter?
If the USCIS is not satisfied with the evidence that you provided or the evidence is not clear, they will ask you to submit additional evidence. In many cases, you will not need to present evidence you have already submitted. Instead, you will be expected to provide new documentation that would strengthen your petition.