People married to United States citizens who have received a two-year conditional permanent resident card or “green card” must remove those conditions before the expiration date on the card. Filing Form I-751, the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, should normally be done jointly between the green card holder and their spouse.
If the conditional permanent resident has divorced or become widowed in the interim, they can still file Form I-751 on their own; however, they must also include significant proof that their marriage was legitimate. This type of I-751 application is referred to as a waiver application.
This form must be filed within the 90-day period immediately before the expiration of the two-year conditional green card. It is very important that I-751 is filed on time and without delay. If the permanent resident’s I-751 is approved, a 10-year permanent green card will be mailed out.
When filed jointly with a U.S. citizen spouse, these applications generally take six to eight months to process. Waiver applications filed alone can take eight to 12 months for processing.
Most I-751 applications follow a generally standard timeline, and filers should expect a similar experience moving forward.
- 2-3 weeks after filing: The applicant will receive a notice that the I-751 application is being processed normally. This notice will extend the conditional permanent resident status of the applicant for one more year. It will also come with a receipt number that can be used to check on a case online.
- 3-5 weeks after filing: The applicant will receive a notice for an appointment for biometrics. At this appointment, the applicant’s photograph, fingerprints and signature will be collected.
- 2-5 months after filing: If USCIS wants more information about the validity of the marriage, applicants may receive a request for evidence or an interview schedule.
- 6-8 months after filing: Typical completion period for a jointly filed I-751 application.
- 8-12 months after filing: Typical completion period for an I-751 waiver filed after divorce, widowhood, or other separation.
If an application remains pending after one year, the applicant must seek an Infopass appointment to further extend their conditional permanent residency beyond the initial one-year extension granted at the beginning of the process.