I remove conditions on my lawful permanent resident status.
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States out of our offices in St. Louis, Missouri, and San Diego, California.
USCIS requires an individual who receives a two-year conditional green card based on marriage to file an I-751 petition for removal of conditions prior to the two-year anniversary or the start date of that conditional green card.
So in order to cut down on marriage fraud, USCIS has a system where if you are married less than two years on the day that your green card is issued. So it’s not whether you’ve been married two years on the day of your interview, it’s on the day that they issue the green card. So the case has been approved and USCIS is about to issue the green card. If you’ve been married two years at that point, you’ll get a 10-year green card. If you’ve been married under two years, you’ll get a conditional green card and there’ll be a start date on that green card.
So let’s just say the start date is June 1st, 2020. So June 1st, 2020, you’re going to have to file one-year and nine-months after that. And you file in that three-month window between the one-year nine-month mark and the two-year mark. So in this situation, one year would be June of 2021 and then nine months after that would be March of 2022. So your I-751, you’d have to file in that window of March 1st, 2022 to June 1st, 2022. So that’s the window where you file the I-751.
If you’re still married at that point then you and your spouse would file what we call in our office, a joint I-751. You file it together. You submit more marital evidence. You try to submit as much marital evidence as you can. And both the petitioner and the US citizen sign that I-751.
There are scenarios where you might file it on your own. If you’ve been divorced and it was a good faith marriage, then the immigrant can file for an I-751 on their own. And the interesting thing is they don’t have to wait for that one-year nine-month to two-year window. If your divorce is final, you can actually file the I-751 early before that window.
You might not necessarily want to do that. And the important thing here is that you’re going to need lots of evidence to overcome the assumption on the part of USCIS that this marriage was entered into solely for the purposes of getting an immigration benefit. So when we find that scenario, we try to do everything we can to show that the marriage is legitimate. We get a long statement from the immigrant beneficiary, and then we try to get a statement from the US citizen if they’re willing to do that,
If there’s been abuse you can get a waiver. And if you can show hardship, an extreme hardship for the foreign national to have to go back home, that’s another way you can get a waiver. So in those situations, we call those I-751 solos and you can file without your spouse in that scenario.
One thing getting back to the divorce situation is, you have to be actually divorced. You can’t be in the divorce. You need to get that divorce finalized. So there are a lot of timing issues when you want to file on the good faith marriage exception that you really need to think through and make sure that you get everything done correctly.
We’ve also had cases where the couple filed the I-751 jointly. The case was pending for a really long time and the marriage ended. There are ways that you can either convert that into hardship or a [inaudible 00:03:37] or a good faith marriage exception 751.
A lot of times, we just like to file a new case, but each case is different and you need to think at all through. This whole topic of 751s, especially 751 solos, where the couple is no longer together is something that we do a lot of in our office. We like those cases, they’re sort of fact-intensive. We’ve had a lot of good success. Many of those have been approved without an interview. And, I mean the 751 solos, who’ve gotten those approved without an interview. Many of our 751s jointly filed, we’ve had approved without an interview too. And that’s really the goal. You don’t want to have to have an interview.
The Trump team increased the number of interviews associated with those kinds of 751s, but even still, we’re getting lots of them approved. And we’re getting that ten-year green card for the foreign national without an interview. So that’s of course the goal.
If you have questions about the I-751 process, give us a call (314) 961-8200. You can email us at [email protected] Be sure to join us in our Facebook group. It’s called Immigrant Home. We’d love to see it in there. And of course, we have our YouTube channel. We’ve been updating it every single day with a new video since as early as January 1st, 2020. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have our YouTube show, our Facebook show it’s called The Immigration Answer Show, and I take calls for an hour. Be happy to answer yours. If you have any, give us a call and we’ll see you then.