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The I-751 Removal of Conditions on Permanent Residence “When do I need to file?”

Married-150x150When a married couple has been married less than two years when one of them receives Lawful Permanent Residence by way of a Petition by the other, the Beneficiary receives Conditional Residency, which is evidenced by he or she receiving a Green Card with a validity period of two years.  As was hopefully explained by the Immigration Officer who decided your case, you need to file, in most cases, another Petition on Form I-751 to remove the conditions on your permanent residency before your Conditional Residency expires.

If you are still married and living together with the Petitioning Spouse, you must file a Joint Petition to Remove Conditions, with both signatures and submit the same type of documentation that you took with you to the USCIS interview, i.e., joint bank statements, joint tax returns, holiday and vacation pictures, joint utility bills, insurance cards, etc.  You must also send two Affidavits from friends or relatives who can attest to the soundness of your marital relationship.  In this situation you must file the Joint Petition in the 90 day window prior to the expiration of your Green Card.

If you were the Beneficiary of the Family Petition, and you are separated from your Spouse, you should not file the Joint Petition.  If you believe you will reconcile with your Spouse, you must do so and file the Joint Petition before the two-year anniversary of receiving your Green Card.  If you believe that you will divorce, you should pursue that divorce without delay, as you will not be able to file the Form I-751 by yourself until you are divorced and have a Divorce Decree in hand to prove that.

If you are divorced, you may file the I-751 by yourself at any time—either before the 90 day window, during the 90 day window, or even after your Conditional Residence has expired.  But as you may be placed in Removal Proceedings in the Immigration Court, even as you wait for your divorce, you should not procrastinate.  If filing by yourself, you need to provide the same documentation referenced above—from the time period between your first obtaining Permanent Residence until the time of separation from the Petitioner Spouse.

Failure to take these steps may result in the loss of your Lawful Permanent Residence and may subject you to Removal from the United States as you will lose your legal status here.  It is crucial that you consult with a qualified Immigration Attorney to ensure your continued legal status in this Country.  Please call this office to schedule a consultation with one of our highly experienced attorneys.

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