If you applied for a green card based on a marriage that was less than two years old at the time you were approved for U.S. residency or entered the U.S. with an immigrant visa, then you are a conditional resident. Your status will run out in two years (as shown on your green card). Somewhere within the 90 days prior to that expiration date, you will need to submit Form I-751, issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to remove the conditions on your residency and switch to permanent resident status.
Children of such a relationship who did not receive their residence within 90 days of the primary applicant will also need to file Form I-751.
This article will discuss how to prepare and file that application.
First, download the form and instructions from the "I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence" (opens in a new window) page of the USCIS website. Review both carefully.
The primary person to fill out this form is the immigrant. However, one of the first things to notice is that the form must be signed by both the immigrant and the U.S. spouse. If your U.S. spouse is unable or unwilling to sign onto this form, you'll need to get a waiver. In this case, it's best to talk to an immigration attorney.
Most of the questions on this form are self-explanatory. If you answer yes to question 8, about whether you are now married to someone else, see an attorney. Your permanent residence may be denied on grounds that you no longer qualify based on the original petition, and you will need a full analysis of your current immigration possibilities.
If you have children, and they received conditional residence within 90 days of you, then simply including their names in the application is enough -- they do not need to file separate Forms I-751.
Various forms of documentation are required to support a Form I-751 filing. For details and suggestions on the documentary requirements, see "Documents Needed for Filing an I-751 Form."
First, keep careful track of the deadline. If you don't file Form I-751 within the 90 days prior to the second anniversary of becoming a conditional resident, you may be placed in removal proceedings and lose your U.S. resident status. Late filings may be excused in the rare cases where the applicant can prove that circumstances beyond his or her control were the cause of missing the deadline.
There are two USCIS Service Centers accepting Form I-751 filings, located in California and Vermont. See the USCIS website for which to send yours to.
The fees associated with filing Form I-751 were $595 in early 2017, plus $85 for biometric services (fingerprinting). For each additional conditional resident child seeking removal of conditional status by inclusion on your application, there is an additional biometric services fee of $85. Check the USCIS website for the latest fees.
After USCIS receives your petition, it will review it for completeness. If something is missing, such as the fee or a key required document, it will either send the whole packet back to you for refiling or send you a Request for Evidence (RFE).
After it accepts the application for processing, USCIS will send you a receipt notice, with an expiration date. This is an important document, as it will be the only thing you have for the moment confirming your valid status despite the expiration date shown on your green card. You will need to carry both the card and the receipt notice with you, particularly if you travel or seek new employment.