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I-751 waiver applications

If you become a resident based on a recent marriage (less than two years) you become a “conditional” permanent resident (green card holder). Normally, you would file a petition with your husband or wife two years later to become a full permanent resident. If the marriage ends before your petition is filed – or your spouse refuses to cooperate with your petition – you may still be eligible to become a permanent resident.

What do you need to prove for an I-751 waiver?

There are three different ways that you can apply for an I-751 waiver.

  1. Divorce + good-faith marriage. If your divorce is finalized by the deadline for your I-751 petition then you can use this option. You may also use this option if your spouse has passed away. The I-751 petition is due two years after your conditional residency card was issued. If your divorce is almost finalized USCIS will generally grant a short additional window for you to file proof of the finalized divorce (but the I-751 petition still needs to be filed on time). To use this strategy you are also required to show that the marriage was genuine. To prove that we use the same sort of evidence you may be familiar with from your initial marriage-based application process.
  2. Abuse by U.S. spouse. If were abused by your U.S. spouse this option may be available to you. The abuse does not need to be physical in nature. Event purely psychological abuse can serve as the basis for a successful I-751 petition. In such cases we would typically recommend submit an evaluation by a psychological expert.
  3. Extreme hardship. The final way to seek approval of an I-751 waiver is by showing the hardship you would experience if you were forced to return to your home country. See below for more information about proving hardship.

Whose hardship matters?

For I-751 waivers, USCIS looks at whether the petitioner would experience hardship if forced to leave the U.S. In other waiver applications the focus is on family members, but here the focus is on the petitioner herself.

What factors will be considered?

Immigration law does not define the term “hardship”. Instead, court cases have said the following factors should be considered: age; length of presence in the U.S.; family ties to the U.S. versus to the foreign country; community ties; financial impact; health issues; and, the availability of immigration benefits.

What evidence is presented?

It is very important to present strong evidence in support of a hardship case. The attorney will work with the immigrant, family members, and friends to write detailed letters explaining the circumstances of the case. These letters must be carefully prepared to address the relevant legal question. The attorney will also work with you to locate records that support your case, including medical, financial, employment and education records. In cases with special health or psychological circumstances, it may be useful to have a psychologist conduct an evaluation.

This Post Has 42 Comments

  1. Hi,
    I am in a dilemma. I had filed my i751 jointly but my marriage is on the rocks. Me and my wife are getting divorced. But I’m confused Where to send my waiver request after getting the divorce decree. I mean what is the address to send waiver request along with cover letter explaining to switch my case from jointly to solo. Appreciate your response.

    Thank you

  2. Hi

    I have my Removal of conditions I-751 interview this month. Received Notice of Action . It does not mention that my spouse should accompany me. It says the only people who can accompany are – your lawyer if you have one, an interpreter if you have one.

    I believe usually the applicant and the sponsor spouse are to be at the interview. Please advise.

    1. Hi, Ash:
      If you filed a joint I-751 petition then yes, your US citizen petitioner will normally be allowed – and expected – to attend with you.


  3. I read about many examples where the US Citizen spouse was able to withdraw a jointly filed I-751. USCIS then sent a withdrawal letter to the alien spouse and marked the case as withdrawn (=never filed). The alien spouse had to refile a new I-751.
    1- Isn’t USCIS supposed to give the alien spouse an option to switch to a divorce waiver before completely withdrawing the petition (especially if the alien spouse advises them of upcoming divorce proceedings)?
    2- Will USCIS likely mark the case as A-fraud level simply due to the US spouse withdrawing their signature on the I-751?

    1. Hi, Tosi:
      USCIS doesn’t provide any legal advice to I-751 applicants, or anyone else. The applicant is on their own.
      In this case it sounds like the foreign national will have to re-file based on one of the waiver grounds.

  4. I filled the I-751 waiver in July 2020 and got my divorce finalized in Jan 2021. My attorney has submitted the divorce as supporting documentation in March 2021 and after that, I received the biometrics appointment notice. Within the biometrics being requested, does that means will be called to an interview? My case has been well documented. Please share your thoughts.

    1. Hi, Laura:
      USCIS is doing interviews across the board on I-751s, unlike the good old days, so you can bank on an interview in your future. The ACS appointment, though, doesn’t have anything to do with that – it’s just a procedural step that happens in all adjudications of this type. You can keep up with your local office’s processing times at


  5. I am awaiting my 751 interview. I filed jointly with my wife a while back when we were still together. Since then we have separated, and a while later filed for divorce. I just received notice from USCIS that my case is ready to be scheduled for an interview, but I also just received the letter saying my divorce is final. Should I file 751 again with updated information or should my ex-wife and I just go to the interview together and explain everything to them? My wife and I have been separated for about 3 years and I now have a new girlfriend who is pregnant with my child, so I really cannot risk having to leave the country.

    1. Hi, Mark:
      These situations are definitely dicey, and I would strongly encourage you to have a lawyer present at the interview. At least two things could happen. They could process the joint-filed I-751 as it stands, since it’s legally approvable with her signature even if she doesn’t attend the interview. But CIS is strict about interviews, especially these days, and if she doesn’t appear they could certainly deny the I-751. Alternatively, you can seek to amend the I-751 at the time of the interview to base it on good faith marriage plus divorce. In that case you need to bring your divorce decree (certified copy) and any available documentation about the bona fides of the marriage. I realize that’s made harder by the fact that I-751s take so long these days. Again, I would strongly recommend having a lawyer there for this sort of change-of-strategy situation.

      1. Thanks Greg. So having my ex-wife go to the interview with me and explain the situation together would not help? We could definitely provide proof of a good faith marriage and of the divorce.

  6. Question for a friend: she was in a bona fide marriage and after they had sent I-751 they decided to divorce. He said he didn´t mind her keeping her GC.
    She went to her home country to visit family and friends and he entered withdrawal.
    Could he have done that, in the first place, considering SHE was the petitioner?
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi, Tania:
      In an I-751 petition filed by both US citizen sponsor and conditional resident, both signatories are technically petitioners. So either has the legal standing to withdraw their own support of the petition prior to approval. But she can switch strategies and pursue a “waiver” I-751 based only on her own signature and showing good faith marriage plus termination of the marriage through divorce.


  7. My conditional green card will expire in Sept 2020 and my divorce is pending. When would the immigration office issue RFE requesting for final divorce decree after I file for I-751? Immeidately?

    1. Hi, Jessica:
      Yes, if you file on the basis of good faith marriage + divorce then they will request a copy of the dissolution decree. They are supposed to give you additional time to get it if the divorce is pending.
      Best ~

  8. I am married to a foreign woman with a conditional gc. She has been disappearing more and more since she got the gc. I found out she’s working as a sex worker/stripper even before she got the gc and permission to work. When I expressed to her I was not ok with it at all she got irate then after calming down has offered me money to stay married. I also found out after her getting here that she was involved in a fake marriage to obtain a green card approximately 10 years ago as well as being arrested approximately 5 years ago for a fake European passport/green card. Recently she has left the house for nearly a month with minimal contact and saying she needs time to think. I feel duped and don’t want to be involved in her scandal. I have an appt with a divorce attorney soon. Can she still get a waiver? We have zero joint assets or accounts. She started a separate bank acct shortly after acquiring her gc.

    1. Hi, Dani ~
      So long as she didn’t marry you primarily for immigration purposes then she hasn’t done anything illegal. If her marriage – in her eyes – was in good faith, then yes, she has an approvable I-751.

      1. Hi.
        I had my citizenship interview with pending I 751and passed the test. My interview officer gave me my oath ceremony application.Day after immigration called me and says that my oath is canceled due to I 751.
        God with question is this.I want to move to different state for specific education.Can i move and change my driver license so i can work part time while i am student.Wife will stay our base home.?Thank you in advance.

        1. Hi, Ed.

          Not sure that I understand the question. I don’t see why an N-400 would be canceled due to an I-751, unless your I-751 was denied and you aren’t a resident anymore. Or if you didn’t file an I-751 when required to.

          A driver’s license doesn’t have anything to do with work authorization. So regardless of where you move and what driver’s license you get, that doesn’t change your work status.

  9. Hi,

    I am filing an I-751 form to remove a condition on my 2 year GC.
    I’ve gathered all of my evidences and feeling that things should be ok.
    I filed for divorce but it won’t be finalized until February 2019. My Greencard is expiring by the end of January 2019 so I cannot wait longer.
    I have a question about when filling. There are two boxes that I have to choose “Married” or “Divorced”
    Should I choose Divorced and say “pending” in the next box that asks me when my marriage has ended?

  10. Hello, I am a US Citizen and I married a foreign. He received the 2 year temporary visa which was going to expire November 6th 2018. He filled on October 25th for adjustment of status. Back in July of 2017 there was a Domestic Violence case. He assaulted me. I called the cops and he was detained for about 10 hours. I did drop charges but he still has a misdemeanor on his record. We have been separated since September 2017. I want to file for divorce, He has threatened me verbally many many times and I would like for him to be removed from the US. What do I have to do ????

    1. Hi, Juliana. Very sorry to hear about the problems. A U.S. citizen has the right to withdraw a Form I-130 petition and Form I-864 affidavit of support up to the time the petition is approved and residency granted. You should talk to a lawyer right away about getting your withdrawal filed if that’s what you are interested in pursuing.

  11. Hello,
    My current conditional Green Card Expires Jan 10/19. I filed an uncontested divorce Sept 26/18. The County clerk said it should take around 4 months for a judge to look at my case (So around Feb 01/19)

    I have evidence of a bonafide marriage. Would it be best for me to file I-751 and also include evidence that my divorce has been filed? I have a stamped and dated note of issue from the county clerk, and also my case is listed on the court’s website.

    From what I’ve read on your website they would send me an RFE for the divorce decree after I file I-751 and that would buy me around 3 months. Will I be able to continue to work legally after I send in the I-751 with the evidence I have up to this current point?

    Will I have to do an interview with USCIS once I send in the divorce decree and talk about my marriage?

    1. You can file the I-751 only 90 days prior (not more) to your card’s expiration. So it seems you have plenty of time to finalize the divorce. Whether the “good faith” marriage or a another strategy is better for you depends on the facts of your case.

      Yes, once you I-751 is filed you will get a notice showing that you are eligible to work for 18 months while the case is pending. You can get additional extensions stamps too.

      And yes, you will almost certainly have an interview for your I-751.

  12. Hi,
    My friend is currently thinkingto divorce her husband. Her conditional GC will expired in Mar 2019. She will need to file 1751 next month to removed the conditional status. The question is, if she and the spouse filed a divorce and both sign the divorce paper, (this may take 90days to finalize it.)can she use this document and send it with the waive along the other evidence (to prove this is a legit married)?She also wants to move to different state and get her own apartment while applying for waiver.

  13. Hello,

    I need to file I 751 divorce waiver, my green card expires on 12 of January next year, and my divorce will hopefully be final by the end of the January next year as well. What should I do, since requirement for filing 751 divorce waiver is final divorce?
    Thank you, looking forward to hearing from you

      1. Hello.
        How are the chances for a i751 with a divorce waiver pass the requirements of the ucis? I have many proofs of bona fide marriage, but still worried my petition be rejected.

        1. Hi, Daniel:
          I’ll put it this way. We have never – knock on wood – had a I-751 waiver case denied. So long as the marriage was indeed legitimate, ultimately the case should be approved (subject to all the other legal requirements, of course). There’s no easy rule of thumb as to how much evidence is required. But err on the side of filing a *lot* of evidence, since USCIS has gotten very harsh with processing these cases.

  14. What happens if an american citizen spouse files a divorce when his/her spouse who have temporary resident card and is in two year process is out of country for a wedding in family?

    1. Hi. I live in California. My US citizen wife asked me to forge her signature for a home loan worth $250,000 and now we’re fighting she said she can use that agaisnt me. Will I get deported for forging her signature even though she asked me to? Thank you.

  15. Hello..I h received conditional green card that expires on sep 24,2018..and I mailed my I 751 green card extension form on aug13,2018.i haven’t received receipt notice from uscis yet neither has the application fee been deducted yet.. how can I get the process expedited? And also will I be allowed to continue to work Incase I don’t hear back from uscis by my green card expiration date?.your guidance is much appreciated.thanks!

    1. Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite the processing. You can contact USCIS customer service, though, to place a case inquiry request. Although I-751 processing is badly delayed, you should have gotten the receipt by now. Check out this page for a downloadable letter that you can try to show your employer as proof of status.

  16. I have found out my husband has been videotaping me while drunk and plans on using this information against me to file a divorce after our interview with immigration for him to receive his temporary green card .
    He also claims he is emotionally abused when in a fact it the opposite.

  17. My husband is on his conditional card. He does not live in my home. He threatened to shoot me, because I told him I was not signing off on his 1-751 to be removed… He brought all his kids here and wants me to file for them too. His kids mother is trying to get her papers thru her mother in New York City.. I currently have a PFA on him for protection. He has to turn his gun in to Police station.. I pressed charges on him for terroristic threatening of shooting me with his gun. He has pistol whipped his sister in front of me and her two year old daughter. He has never taken me to meet his family in Jamaica.. He takes constant trips back there and stay for a month at a time, but goes back four times a year, including other places.. He has brought his father here in the states to get hip surgery done.. When his son and daughter comes his son mother comes he takes them on trips and vacations without any knowledge. I’m not on any of his businesses, credit cards, debit cards, He moved out in March of 2018 and the gun threat started after he moved out… Now I’m feeling that I’m a victim of marriage fraud… Because after marriage he moved with his sister and only kept his name on the gas and electric bill so there is trace that he stays there. He has not changed his address with immigration. We have only two things jointly, bank account that only has 2.87 and a gas and electric bill.. when his sister moved he came back and lived in my basement for 1 1/2 yr and when my son came home he came to sleep in the bed with me, but he had a seperate blanker sleep far to the edge of the bed wrapped in the blanket with his back turned towards me.. When he came back he came in with a king size pillow top bed, 50 inch flat screen tv and a dresser. I’ve seen pi’s with him on dates with other woman. After our interview no more dates, pics and other things married couple do.. And the abuse and abandonment worst as it got close to signing. Then all of a sudden he wants to be nice.. This is the worst marriage ever!!!!

  18. Hello, I’mlooking for a second opinion. I’ve been assisting a friend whose conditional green card is soon to expire. He has an immigration attorney who will be filing a waiver on his on his behalf based on the marriage falling apart. The issue is that the attorney seems resistant to filing prior to the divorce being finalized. The couple separated in Jan but did not meet the grounds for divorce in one of the 2 states they resided in, and residency requirement in the current state until recently. Keep in mind the US citizen (spouse) does not want a divorce and/or is refusing to divorce in an effort to prevent the conditions from being removed. Is there a provision in the law that provides an exception to this situation for not filing on time AND will the individual still legally be able to work while “out of status”?

    1. Hi, Angela. A couple things.

      (1) If your friend wants a second opinion she really needs to sit down with a second attorney. It’s really impossible to offer much input here about whether the first attorney is doing things correctly or not.

      (2) There are multiple grounds (three) for getting an I-751 approved when a couple is separating. One is showing divorce + good faith marriage. To win on this ground – which is often the easiest – you need a final divorce decree. If the divorce is being contested then that can really draw out the process. If the attorney is advising to wait for the decree that is potentially good advice as you will get a Request for Evidence if you don’t provide the decree.

      (3) If the I-751 is not filed by the 2-year deadline then your friend will automatically be out of status.

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