Boston I-751 Lawyer for Removal of U.S. Residency Conditions
What Is an I-751 Petition?
Conditional resident status is granted to a spouse if the day their residency is approved is before their second wedding anniversary.
An I-751 petition is necessary to remove the conditions from a U.S. Conditional Residency (valid for 2 years) obtained through marriage to a US. Citizen or legal permanent resident, or through a step-parent in some situations.
Who Is Required to Remove Conditions on their U.S. residency?
Those who have been properly granted conditional residence through their marriage to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident or through a step-parent, and in some situations their dependent children.
If the dependent children were granted conditional residence at the same time as the parent or within 90 days of the parent obtaining conditional residency, they may be included in the same I-751 petition as the parent. On the other hand, if the dependent children acquired the conditional residency later, or if the conditional resident parent is deceased, then each dependent child must file a separate I-751 petition.
Please note that not all children who are issued a 2 year conditional residency by USCIS are actually subject to the I-751 (removal of conditions) requirement and this should be corrected promptly.
Do I have to file the removal of conditions petition, I-751 with my spouse or can I file it on my own?
You are not required to file a “Joint I-751 Petition with your spouse if one of the conditions exists for the filing of a Self-Petition. If you are still married, then you must file form I-751 jointly with your spouse (joint I-751 petition).
You may be required to present evidence that your marriage was entered into in “good faith” and not solely for the purpose of receiving residency, in order for the I-751 Self Petition to be approved.
You may be able to file an I-751 Self-Petition if you are Widowed, Divorced/Lawfully Separated or in a case of Domestic Abuse
In certain circumstances you may request to waive the joint filing requirement, and file the I-751 by yourself (I-751 Self-Petition). This can be done at any time after you were granted conditional resident status and before you are removed from the United States, if:
- Your spouse or step-parent died and the marriage was entered in good faith
- You or your parent and step-parent terminated their marriage through divorce, annulment or a legal separation and the marriage was entered in good faith
- You or parent were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by your petitioning spouse or step-parent and the marriage was entered in good faith
- The termination of your status and removal from the United States would result in extreme hardship
When Should You File Form I-751 for the removal of conditions on US residency?
You should file Form I-751 for the removal of conditions from your conditional U.S. residency, 90 days before it expires, if you are filing a Joint Petition with your spouse. If you fail to file this petition, you may lose your permanent resident status when the conditional residency expires and you may become subject to deportation/removal from the United States.
If you are filing a Form I-751 Self Petition under one of the following categories then you may file as soon as one of the conditions exists, even if earlier than 90 days before the expiration of your residency:
- Divorce or Annulment of the Marriage;
- Subject to Spousal Abuse or Domestic/Parental Abuse;
- Death of your Spouse; or
- If you will suffer an Extreme Hardship if you are removed from the U.S.
Note: Late filing of an I-751 is allowed if your failure to timely file not your fault, you file a written request with USCIS to excuse the late filing, and the delay in filing was reasonable.
What Documents are Required for an I-751 petition?
Generally, a Form I-751 should include the following:
- Copy of the Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) for you and any conditional resident children you are including in your petition;
- Evidence of the Relationship demonstrating the marriage was entered in good faith, from the date of the marriage to date and if appropriate the circumstances for the end of the relationship. These may include:
- Birth certificates of children born from the marriage, if any;
- Lease or mortgage contracts showing joint occupancy and/or ownership of residence;
- Financial records – Joint Bank Accounts with paycheck direct deposit from both spouses
- Complete joint Federal and State tax returns
- Joint Insurance policies – Health, Car & Property
- Joint bills or loans.
- Driver’s License or State ID’s with same address
- Photographs with friends and family
- Employment Records with marital status
- Medical Records
- Complete copy of any court records form any criminal matter for either spouse or children since date of marriage
- In some instances, Affidavits from people who have known both spouses since the conditional residence was granted and have personal knowledge of the marriage and relationship
- If you are filing as an individual due to the death of your spouse, submit a copy of the death certificate with your petition, along with evidence of the qualifying relationship.
- If you are filing as an individual because your marriage has been terminated, submit a copy of the final divorce decree or other document terminating or annulling the marriage, along with evidence of the qualifying relationship.
- If you are filing as an individual because you and/or your conditional resident child were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty, submit the following:
- Evidence of the abuse, such as copies of police, courts, medical records, school officials, clergy, social workers, and other social service workers.
- Restraining orders or evidence of any legal steps you may have taken to end the abuse
- Evidence that you sought the safety of a shelter for the abused or similar protection
- Photographs and medical records showing your injuries;
- Copy of your divorce decree, if your marriage was terminated by divorce on grounds of physical abuse or extreme cruelty.
- If you are filing for a waiver of joint filing due to “extreme hardship,” submit evidence that your removal would result in hardship significantly greater than the hardship encountered by other foreign nationals who are removed from this country after extended stays. (The evidence must relate only to those factors that arose during the two-year period for which you were admitted as a conditional resident).
- If you are a child filing separately from your parent, submit a full explanation as to why you are filing separately, along with copies of any supporting documentation.
NOTE – All documents must be translated. Translations do not have to be Formal or Notarized. They must be complete and accurate and must contain a certification such as this: – “I ____ (name) hereby state that this is a true and accurate translation of the foregoing document and I am fluent in both English and ______ (language).” It is appropriate to translate your own documents.
You must have available an original or certified copy of each certificate or document listed above as the government generally requests to see the original at any interview or hearing.
Process to Apply for the Removal of U.S. Residency Conditions with a Form I-751
The process of applying for Removal of Residency Conditions with a Form I-751 generally requires that you obtain documents that demonstrate your marriage was in “good faith” and records that demonstrate you are eligible for the category that you are applying under, whether it be a Joint Petition or a Self-Petition.
Prepare applications with the appropriate supporting documents and file with the corresponding USCIS office:
- Form G-28 (if required)
- Form AR-11 (if required)
- Form I-751
- In the case of a self-petition, in most categories there is a requirement to demonstrate evidence of a good faith marriage in addition to evidence of eligibility for the category under which you are filing.
*The application and supporting documents will be ready for client review 15 to 21 days after the client has provided ALL of the necessary information and documentation enumerated under “List of Documents.”
- Receive Notice of Extension of Legal Permanent Residence
- Appear at USCIS Office for Biometrics/fingerprinting
- Submit additional documentation (if required)
- Receive Notice of Approval or Notice of Interview from USCIS
- Prepare for Interview with USCIS (if required)
- Appear at USCIS Office for Interview (if required)
- Receive Notice of Decision from USCIS after interview and any additional investigation is completed
Duration of the I-751 Application Process
The processing time of a Form I-751 depends on the location of your residence and the category of your application. The time can range from 9-49 months, depending on the service center or field office that is processing the case (For example, the Vermont service center takes usually between 9-18 months). Check estimated processing times online as they change often: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/
Upon the receipt of the I-751 Petition USCIS will generally issue a Notice of Receipt within 30-60 days, which will extend the validity of your Residency (Green Card) for an additional 24 months (according to the USCIS announcement of September 4, 2021 which extended this period from 18 to 24 months).
What are the Costs to Apply for an I-751?
There are generally two different costs involved in preparing a removal of conditions application I-751:
- The I-751 removal of conditions attorney fees / (see our legal fees for Removal of Conditions), and
- The USCIS filing fee for Form I-751 and generally a biometric services fee for each applicant included in the I-751 petition.
- USCIS fees change periodically, you can verify what the fees are by visiting the Filing fees calculator on the USCIS website
Additional Consideration for I-751 Petitions
All records, documents, applications and registrations should contain proper information about the names, addresses, financial status, and marital status for all family members (school, medical, etc.)
Generally the family (all members of household) should not be receiving financial assistance (housing, WIC, FreeCare, Heat/Electricity/Gas, Daycare, Food-stamps) and if they are or have been receiving benefits, make sure that all income is reported on any benefit application.
Taxes should properly reflect all sources of income and deductions should be limited to ones supported by clear evidence and have the correct marital status and dependents (Head of Household is rarely proper for use on a tax return in connection with an I-751 petition).
Addresses & marital status should be properly provided to all agencies, schools, employers & companies.
All child support must be paid to date.