Recently my firm has been inundated with calls from individuals who have filed their Application to Remove the Conditions on their two-year green card, (Form I-751), and now they are scheduled for an interview or Immigration has sent them a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny letter. All of these scenarios bring stress and anxiety to my clients because they now run the risk of not being able to drive, work, or travel. Ultimately, our clients also now run risk of losing their permanent residence status that they had fought so hard to obtain. To further complicate matters, my clients are now either separated or divorced from their United States Citizen or Permanent Resident spouse. In the most extreme cases, the applicant has been abused or abandoned by their United States Citizen/Permanent Resident spouse and he/she will face extreme hardship if his/her green card is revoked. The questions that remain are what can be done to save the applicant’s permanent residence status and how long will the process take. In this month’s article I will briefly answer some of the most common questions that we receive about the two-year conditional green card.
Question 1: My husband and I both signed my application to remove the conditions on my two-year conditional green card but now we are no longer together. Will this affect my case?
Answer: The short answer is yes. Whenever you file your application to remove the conditions on your two-year green card, Form I-751, and you both signed your application Immigration is expecting that you are still together. If you are separated or divorced Immigration will require that you prove that you did not enter the marriage for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits. In other words the applicant has the burden of telling Immigration the cause of the breakup and showing that she had a bona fide “genuine” marriage, via the couple’s documents, at the onset of the marriage until the demise of the relationship.
Question 2: I filed my application to remove the conditions on my two year green card after my card expired. Is this going to be a problem for me?
Answer: Immigration requires that you file your application to remove conditions before your card expires. However, Immigration will accept a late-filed application provided that you provide a detailed explanation for the late filing. Each local Immigration office has discretion as to whether or not to give you proof of your continued permanent residence status, if your petition is filed late, while your case is pending.
Question 3: My husband and I are now divorced and my two-year green card is scheduled to expire very soon. Should I file my application to remove the conditions on my green card?
Answer: You must absolutely file your application to remove the conditions on your two-year green card. There really is no other option. You should file your application and inform Immigration of your divorce. Immigration will then require that you show that you did not enter the marriage solely to acquire immigration benefits.
Question 4: I have filed my application to remove the conditions on my two-year green card but it is taking a very long time to be approved. Since I am still married to my wife and I have had my green card for more than 3 years should I just apply for my United States Citizenship?
Answer: No. Despite the length of time that you have had your permanent residence status you must first successfully remove the conditions on your green card before you are eligible to apply for your United States Citizenship.
We have found that most individuals either forget to file their I-751 applications because they simply forgot the deadline on their card or they filed their application but they did not know the necessary steps to take during the two years preceding the expiration of their card to ensure that they would have a smooth transition from a two-year conditional green card holder to a 10 year green card. We have identified the top three things that you can do immediately to improve the chances of your I-751 being approved. At the Byars Firm we have also developed a unique program to ensure that our clients’ I-751 applications are timely filed and that they receive a smooth transition from a two-year green card to a 10 year green card. You can learn more about our three tips and our program by contacting our office. All information is complimentary.
Disclaimer: This article is a broad overview of two-year conditional green card application process (form I-751). This article is provided as a public service and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on the information contained herein is taken at your own risk. The information provided in this article should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.
About the Writer:
Safiya Byars is the founder and senior partner of The Byars Firm, Inc She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica. Attorney Byars shows her clients the best ways to get their cases approved the FIRST time while reducing processing times and avoiding immigration red flags that result in delays, denials, and deportation. Her office is located at 3720 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite D2, Chamblee, Georgia 30341. Attorney Byars handles all immigration matters, deportation defense, family law, and criminal issues. Attorney Byars can be reached at 404-992-6506 or via email at [email protected].