If your legal residency is based on your marriage to a United States citizen or your parent’s marriage to a United States citizen (i.e. you have conditional residency status), you will at some point want to remove these conditions and obtain your permanent residency, which is a more stable legal status that is not dependent on that marriage.
To do this, the couple (this is a joint application) needs to file Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. Here is everything you need to know.
When to File
If you are filing this petition jointly with your spouse, you must file it during the 90-day period immediately before your conditional residence expires.
Documents you need to file as a couple include:
- Copies of the front and back of your Permanent Resident Card
- Copies of the front and back of the Permanent Resident Cards of any conditional resident children you are including in your petition (if applicable)
- Evidence of the relationship
- Submit copies of documents indicating that the marriage upon which you were granted status was entered in good faith and was not for the purpose of circumventing immigration laws. Submit copies of as many documents as you can to establish this fact, to demonstrate the circumstances of the relationship from the date of the marriage to the present date.
- An explanation for reason you are filing late (if applicable)
- An explanation for the reason you are filing separately from your primary conditional permanent resident parent (if applicable)
- Dispositions on criminal charges, arrests, or convictions (if applicable)
- If you are filing from overseas:
- Two passport-style photographs for each petitioner and dependent, regardless of age
- Two completed Form FD- 258 Fingerprint Cards for each petitioner and dependent 14 to 79 years of age
- A copy of current military or government orders if filing based on military or government service
Keep in mind that these requirements do change if you are filing form I-751 due to the death of a petitioning spouse, termination of marriage with the petitioning spouse, spousal abuse, or extreme hardship. In that case, a waiver would be needed; but removing the conditions on residence is still very possible.
Evidence of Relationship
The crux of this application is showing that the relationship with your spouse was a legitimate one and not just one for the purposes of obtaining residency. As such, any and all supporting documentation you have to that effect should be submitted, and this is definitely a case where more evidence will work in your favor. The documents should include, but are not limited to, the following examples:
- Birth certificates of children born during the time of the marriage, if any;
- Lease or mortgage contracts showing joint occupancy and/or ownership of your communal residence;
- Financial records showing joint ownership of assets and joint responsibility for liabilities, such as joint savings and checking accounts with transaction history, complete joint Federal and State tax returns, joint insurance policies for home, life and auto, joint documents that show the other spouse as the beneficiary, joint utility bills, or joint installment or other loans. Other documents that you consider relevant to establish that your marriage was not entered for the purpose of evading U.S. immigration laws; and
- Affidavits sworn to or affirmed by at least two people who have known both of you since your conditional residence was granted and have personal knowledge of your marriage and relationship. (Such persons may be required to testify before an immigration officer as to the information contained in the affidavit.) The original affidavit must be submitted and also contain the following information regarding the person making the affidavit: his or her full name and address; date and place of birth; relationship to you or your spouse, if any; and full information and complete details explaining how the person acquired his or her knowledge. Affidavits must be supported by other types of evidence listed above.
Note on Dependents
If you have dependent children who acquired conditional resident status on the same day as you or within 90 days thereafter, then include the names and Alien Registration Numbers (A-Numbers) of these children in Part 5 of Form I-751 in order to request that the conditions on their status be removed as well.
If you have dependent children who did not acquire conditional resident status on the same day as you or within 90 days thereafter, then those dependent children must each file Form I-751 separately to have the conditions on their status removed.
Have questions about filing Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence? I am here to help you through the process! Get in touch with me today to schedule a consultation!