When permanent residence status is based on marriage to a U.S. citizen and the couple has been married for less than two years at the time the permanent residence is approved, the beneficiary is issued permanent resident status valid for two years. Prior to the end of the two-year period, the couple is required to jointly file Form I-751 to request removal of the conditional status and submit proof that the marriage was entered into in “good faith” and not to evade the immigration laws. If Form I-751 R is not timely filed, the beneficiary will lose status and removal proceedings could begin. Once the I-751 is approved, the condition is removed from the beneficiary’s permanent residency and a 10-year lawful permanent resident card is issued.
The I-751 Removing Condition on Residency may be filed as a joint petition if the couple remains married and other conditions are met. In certain circumstances,U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services allow the beneficiary spouse to apply for a waiver of the joint filing requirement. The beneficiary can file the I-751 petition without his or her spouse if the marriage ended by annulment or divorce and she or he can prove that the marriage was entered in “good faith.” The beneficiary can also request a waiver of the joint filing requirement if his or her status and removal would result in “extreme hardship.” Finally, the beneficiary can file the I-751 petition without his or her spouse if he or she can establish that he or she has been a victim of domestic violence and experienced extreme cruelty. Generally, one of the requirements to the waiver of the joint filing requirement is for the beneficiary to establish that the marriage was bona fide at its inception and was not entered into solely to obtain an immigration benefit. If marriage fraud is involved, there are potential avenues to explore under this waiver process
We recommend that conditional permanent residents obtain counsel as I-751 petitions are more complicated than they appear at first glance.
Contact the immigration attorneys at Becker & Lee LLP to learn more about the I-751 application requirements.