Should You File Form I-751?
When your green card is approved based on a marriage that is under 2 years, you will receive a conditional green card and conditional permanent resident status, and that status is good for only two years. To remove the conditions of your permanent resident status, you will need to file with USCIS I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions, and you will also need the advice and guidance of a San Jose immigration attorney.
A conditional green card is not renewable after a period of two years. If the conditions of your residence have not been removed before your conditional green card expires, you will no longer have permanent resident status, and you become removable (deportable) from the U.S.
Let a San Jose immigration lawyer help you understand and complete Form I-751. Immigration law in the U.S. is always complicated and difficult to understand, and the slightest evidentiary error may mean a lengthy delay or even the denial of your I-751 petition.
What is Form I-751?
A conditional resident who obtained that status through marriage must file a I-751 petition to remove condition in order to obtain a permanent green card, which only has to be renewed every ten years.
Spouses should jointly file the I-751 petition. During this process, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may conduct an additional background check on both spouses to determine if the marriage is genuine and not a scheme that was contrived merely to obtain a green card.
Exceptions to the joint filing requirement are usually allowed in circumstances where one spouse has passed away, where the spouses have divorced, or where the spouses have separated due to spousal abuse or cruelty.
What Constitutes Marriage Fraud?
Marriage fraud occurs when a U.S. citizen marries a non-citizen only to help that non-citizen acquire a green card. If they do not live as a married couple, marrying and requesting a green card constitute marriage fraud, which can be penalized with up to five years in federal prison and other immigration penalties such as bars to all future benefits.
Investigations of marriage fraud are sometimes quite extensive. Your social media posts may be scrutinized, and your family members, neighbors, or employer may be interviewed. If you file a I-751 petition, it is important to include whatever evidence you have that your marriage was entered into in good faith and is genuine.
What Should Accompany Form I-751?
This evidence may include documentation of joint bank accounts, mortgage agreements, and copies of your children’s birth certificates, along with copies of airline ticket receipts, telephone and utility bills, vehicle titles, insurance policies, photographs, and any other pertinent items. It is important to note that the evidence should reflect the realities of the relationship. Just manufacturing the evidence when the relationship doesn’t exist is not worth the detrimental result of being discovered.
If USCIS requires additional information before approving the I-751 petition, you may receive a request for evidence (RFE). This does not mean that your petition will be denied, but you must respond and provide the requested information before the deadline set by USCIS.
Can Conditional Resident Status Be Extended?
In January 2023, USCIS announced that it will extend the current green card expiration dates for petitioners who properly file Form I-751. The extension – for 48 months from the green card’s expiration date – is intended to accommodate the lengthy processing time for I-751 forms.
The processing time for I-751 forms is now from twelve to eighteen months in most cases and even longer for some applicants. However, conditional resident petitioners will remain authorized for work and travel during the 48-month extension period.
How Should You Proceed?
The smart first step is consulting a knowledgeable immigration attorney from the very beginning, before you file any immigration case..
Your immigration lawyer will discuss how the requirements apply to your personal situation, explain the application process, and make sure that your case filing is accurate and complete so that no misunderstandings or mistakes on your end delay the processing of your application.
Your lawyer will also advise you regarding which items should be included with a I-751 petition and how to respond if you should receive a request for additional information. If immigration authorities ask to interview you personally, your lawyer will help you prepare for that interview.
Finding the Right Immigration Attorney
There is no need to make an extensive search for the right immigration attorney. At Yew Immigration Law Group in San Jose, we fight for the rights of immigrants who are coming to the U.S. from around the globe as they seek visas, green cards, and U.S. citizenship.
If you are seeking to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status, or if you are facing any difficulty regarding a visa, a green card, or the entry or status of a loved one, get the legal help you need at once by calling the San Jose offices of Yew Immigration Law Group.
When you select Yew Immigration Law Group, you’ll work with an experienced California immigration lawyer who can guide you through an often confusing process. Yew Immigration Law Group provides practical solutions to immigration problems by putting our clients first.
To learn more about any immigration-related legal matter, or to schedule your first consultation with a San Jose immigration attorney, contact Yew Immigration Law Group now – from wherever you are in the world – by calling 408-645-6395.