The I-751, petition to remove the conditions on lawful permanent residence, can be confusing. For starters, let’s break down the I-751 into two categories:
- Joint marital filing, or something I like to call: being in love with your best friend
- Waiver filing
Depending on the category of filing, USCIS has different standards. So, understanding that there are two different types of categories is vital.
Timing! Timing! Joint marital I-751 filing:
For a joint filing, USCIS requires the I-751 to be submitted no more than 90 days before the expiration of the green card. For example, if you file the I-751 100 days before the expiration of the green card, it will be rejected. There is such a thing as filing too early!
Now, the question might be asked, why is the government strict on time? The answer is actually the entire reason of the I751 filing. Immigration only provided a two-year green card. The marriage that created the green card was very young in Immigration‘s eyes. Immigration officers like to see that a marriage survives at least two years after a green card is issued. So, the reason for the I751 filing is time, time that the spouses are together, time building a life together, ample time to create evidence that a marriage was real.
Can you file late? It is always bad to be late to a party. Although it is not uncommon to see people filing an I-751 ten, twenty, twenty-five years after a green card expires, you would have to clearly explain why you are late. If the explanation is not accepted, deportation court would likely be scheduled. The rule requires everyone to file an I-751 joint filing in a 90-day period. If you are pursuing a late filing, it is recommended to have an immigration attorney assist with the filing. A lot of times with the late filings, there may be a naturalization option. More information can be found here: https://www.fickeymartinezlaw.com/immigration/i-751-removal-of-conditions/filing-n-400-while-the-i-751-is-pending/
Waiver filing, the unexpected death, divorce, or domestic violence:
When starting a marriage, no one expects a spouse to die, or no one expects divorce to occur, or no one expects domestic violence and being abused physically, emotionally, verbally. USCIS permits a waiver filing any time during the two years of the Conditional Green Card. However, if pursuing a waiver, the green card holder must still prove that the marriage that created two-year green card was still valid, loving, real after the green card was placed in the immigrant’s hands.
For example, if infidelity occurs six months after receiving the green card, and a divorce occurs a year after that, USCIS would desire to see evidence during the first six months prior to the infidelity.
Another example, if abuse occurs during the first year of holding the green card, USCIS would desire to see abuse records, in addition to marital items such as bank statements, photos, anything that can prove the marriage is real.
Can an I-751 waiver be filed late? The unexpected always has a tendency of derailing and delaying someone’s life. A divorce could rock someone’s finances, destroy living arrangements, uproot children, etc. it is expected for an immigrant to focus on themselves, their life, Their livelihood. Although it is best to file an I-751 waiver timely, an explanation for a late filing is usually easy to establish.
If you need assistance with an I-751 Immigration filing, please contact our immigration office to set up a consultation.
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