A conditional permanent resident CPR who obtained his or her green card status through marriage of less than two years to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence, on time to remove the conditions on residence. A failure to file the I-751 will end permanent resident or green card status.
When to file?
A jointly filed form I-751 petition with supporting evidence must be filed between 21 to 24 months after the CPR’s admission or adjustment to permanent residence. An interview is usually not required but it may be required where the adjudicator determines that an interview would be useful to decide whether the marriage is in good faith.
Late filing allowed in rare circumstances
A jointly filed I-751 petition filed after 24 months since the CPR’s adjustment may be considered only if the CPR is able to prove good cause and extenuating circumstances for the failure to file in a timely manner. The circumstances that cause the delay must be extraordinary and outside of his or her control.
Written explanation required
A CPR must file an untimely petition with a written explanation (use a sworn affidavit) of his or her late filing and a request that USCIS excuse the late filing. Without a written explanation and a request for an excuse the USCIS will issue an I-751 denial notice. The denial notice may result in a notice to appear or NTA, which begins the deportation process.
What is good cause and extenuating circumstances?
Some examples of what constitute good cause and extenuating circumstances are;
- long-term illness,
- death of a family member,
- the recent birth of a child (particularly if there were complications), and
- a family member on active duty with the U.S. military.
The USCIS adjudicator has broad discretion to decide what is good cause and extenuating circumstances so it is important to support the explanation and request with credible evidence (e.g. medical records, affidavits) that prove good cause and extenuating circumstances.
If you are making a late filing of form I-751 please contact an immigration attorney before doing so. There are also I-751 waivers for battered spouses of U.S. citizens or LPRs that will excuse a late filing.