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If you get a green card through marriage to a US citizen or legal permanent resident, and you have been married for less than two years, then you will be issued a conditional green card. A conditional green card expires two years after it is issued. In the 90 days before its expiration you need to file an application to remove the conditions on your green card. The paperwork used for this process is called the I-751 Application to Remove Conditions on Residence.
Most I-751 petitions will be scheduled for an in-person interview at your local USCIS office. I recently attended an Adjustment of Status interview and the immigration service officer shared some great ideas on preparing for the I-751 Application to Remove Conditions on a Green Card. Here are some tips, right from the local USCIS officer:
- Get a Manila Envelope to Keep your Supporting Documents In: The day that you get your conditional green card, get a manila envelope and write the expiration date on the front of it. Every month put at least one document that you can use to prove that you have a legitimate relationship.
- Use a Variety of Documents to Prove Your Relationship: Just submitting a bunch of cell phone bills with both of your names on it is not enough to show a legitimate relationship. The USCIS officer reviewing the case will be looking for a variety of documents. Submit bank statements with both of your names on it, joint credit card statements, trip itineraries if you’ve taken vacations together, utility bills with both of your names on it, pictures, birth certificates of kids born to the two of you, insurance statements, apartment lease agreements with both members of the couple listed, affidavits of friends and family, etc.
- What if the utilities/apartment lease are just under one person’s name? Then call up the the utility company/landlord and request that their name be put on the account!
- Don’t file the I-751 application and supporting documents too early, and don’t file too late! File within the 90 days before the expiration of your green card. Use this free online date calculator to calculate the date that is 90 days before your green card expires. It is important not to file before the 90 days, since your petition will be rejected by USCIS. Also, don’t wait until after the card expires, or you might get an order to appear in Immigration Court and be placed in removal proceedings! Again, the form must be filed in the 90-day window before your conditional residency expires.
Following these tips will not guarantee success in getting your I-751 approved, but it will put you on the right path.
Finally, if your original petition does not agree to co-sign your I-751 then you will have to ask for a special waiver. That is an entirely different process, with its own rules. (Here is a short explanation). A waiver-based I-751 petition is more complex, and something you may want assistance with.
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