I have had a number of clients that have come into my office with concerns related to their removal of conditions right around the time that their 2-year card is about to expire. One made the mistake of requesting a renewal of their card instead of removing the conditions. Another applied using the wrong edition of the form. Yet another couldn’t get her husband’s signature but tried to file it anyway.
When a couple has been married for less than 2 years, and apply for a green card (adjustment of status), the green card holder is given a 2-year card. This was not always the case. In an effort to combat marriage fraud, USCIS (formerly INS) instituted this method of “revisiting” a couple’s status to re-evaluate whether it was a bona fide marriage to begin with. See INA Section 101(a)(35) for the definition of spouse, as discussed in the Field Adjudicator’s Manual Section 21.3 Petition for a Spouse.
The Form I-751 is to be filed jointly. The couple shows their continued life together through documentation. Important things to note are
- If the instructions are not followed correctly, the application will be denied or rejected.
- The current wait time for the decision on this petition is approximately 2 years.
- Decision can (and sometimes are) be made without an interview.
- The permanent resident remains a permanent resident during the pending period for this petition.
There are circumstances though, when a couple is no longer together. In that case, an I-751 can be filed with waivers. These will be discussed in Part II.