What is an I-751?
An I-751 is a petition that is filed to remove the conditions on US residency. If a couple is married for less than two years when their initial marriage-based green card case is adjudicated, the non-US citizen spouse is given conditional residency. This residency lasts two years. 90 days prior to the expiration of that conditional status, the conditional resident is required to file an I-751, Petition to remove condition on residency.
The purpose of the I-751 is for USCIS to see that the marriage is still valid. And so the burden is on the couple to show – again – that they married in good faith for the purpose of sharing their lives together.If the marriage has fallen apart, the non-citizen must still file an I-751 to remain in the United States.There are exceptions that permit a I-751 to be filed even though the marriage has fallen apart.
We have combined over two decades of experience dealing with a variety of I-751 type cases.
Does the government have the right to deny our I-751?
The USCIS has the right to deny your I-751 petition – even if you are still married – if it does not feel that you and your spouse have sufficiently shown that you have co-mingled your lives together. They can also issue something called a Request for Evidence (RFE), where they essentially ask you to provide more evidence of the relationship.
This is why it is so important to work with a licensed and experienced law firm. New rules that have recently gone into effect give the Government the right to simply deny a case that does not meet its burden, without first issuing an RFE. So it is essential that a case be prepared thoroughly from the get-go.
Also, if an RFE is issued, having a lawyer on your side can help you put your best case forward in responding to what the Government is asking for.
What if we didn’t file the I-751 during the 90-day window?
It is very important to file the I-751 during the 90-day window that precedes the expiration of the two-year conditional status. If the conditional residency expires, and no good faith I-751 has been filed, the foreign spouse becomes illegal, and can even be subject to removal from the United States.
However, there are circumstances that can lead a couple to be unable to file on time. Lightman Law Firm has experience dealing with cases that involve extraordinary circumstances that prevented timely filing, and we can help you show the Government that your inability to file was for good cause.
Give us a call to discuss further.
My spouse has been placed into removal proceedings. What do we do?
Ultimately, if the I-751 is denied, the foreign national spouse is no longer in valid status, and he or she can be placed into removal proceedings. This means that the government seeks to deport them from the United States.
Lightman Law Firm is experienced in handling deportation and removal cases, so if your spouse has been placed into removal proceedings, call us immediately.
What will the Judge do with our case?
The Immigration Judge has the authority to review the denial of the I-751. Essentially, you are “appealing” the I-751 denial before the Immigration Judge.
Remember, there is a government attorney, who serves as a prosecutor, and whose job it is to represent the Government’s position. So you must be represented by an experienced immigration lawyer who can defend you.