remove conditions on green card

EP11: Remove Conditions on Green Card and The Interview

Basic Overview

To remove conditions on green card, you must submit form I-751 to USCIS within a specific window of time.  

The I-751 removes the “2 year” conditional residency requirement for all green card holders who were married less than 2 years at the time of the interview.

  • Remove conditions on 2 year green card
  • If married less than 2 years when at time of Immigrant visa or adjustment of status interview
  • USCIS created this “testing period” in 1986
  • Joint filing is required if you are still married
  • If divorced separated, you must file with a waiver for joint filing
  • There is no deadline to file the divorce waiver
  • Must submit I-751 within 90 days of GC expiration
  • Filing joint I-751 atomically extends your permanent residence status 1 year

Filing Joint I-751 Late

Never file a USCIS application late! There are definitely negative consequences if you file to remove conditions on green card after it has already expired.

  • If joint I-751 not filed on time you can lose status and subject to removal.
  • Late I-751 not accepted until there is a good cause.

Examples of “Good Cause” to File I-751 Late

  • Hospitalization
  • Long term illness
  • Dead of a family member
  • Legal or financial problem
  • Caring for someone
  • Bereavement
  • Serious family emergency
  • Work commitment
  • Family member on active duty with US military

In other words, any other reason not listed will likely not help your case when it comes to filing to removal conditions on green card late.

Important Questions on I-751

Interestingly, the following questions are what form I-751 is attempting to asnwer. If there are any issues with your living arrangement that you can explain, be sure to include a statement with the application.

Additionally, USCIS wants to see that you live together as a married couple but there may be some circumstances where this isn’t possible. Be sure to explain it!

  • Do you still live together?
  • Does the marriage still exist?
  • Did you pay to have a sham marriage?
  • Did children immigrate based on marriage?

Evidence of Bona Fide Marriage

I’ve talked a lot about evidence of bona fide marriage in the past because it’s really important when it comes to family based green card applications.

You MUST show proof that you married in good faith. This means that you married for love and not for the benefit of a green card.

Try to include as many of these documents as possible.

  • Bank statements
  • Joint tax transcripts
  • Joint credit cards
  • Life insurance policies
  • Investment accounts
  • Joint mortgage/deed to home
  • Joint health insurance
  • Joint apartment lease
  • Joint car ownership
  • Joint car insurance
  • Joint loans/debt
  • Utility bills in both names
  • Cell phone family plans
  • Family photos together
  • Itineraries for trips together

Related Podcast Episode: Top 10 Evidence of Bona Fide Marriage

Related Blog Post: How To Prove Bona Fide Marriage to USCIS

Waiver of Joint Filing

Those of you who won’t be filing jointly, you must submit a waiver of the joint filing requirement.

Additionally, this means that the I-751 requires that the US citizen spouse sign the form and attend the interview. If this isn’t possible, you have to include the waiver.

I’ve heard of some applicants hiding the fact that their marriage is in trouble or they are about to divorce so that they can get their 10 year green card – don’t try this!

It’s just too risky, especially if you are called for an interview and your American spouse is a no-show!

  • File I-751 with evidence that you have initiated the divorce proceedings (and  include copies of scheduled court dates related to the divorce)
  • USCIS will issue an RFE (Request for Evidence) at a later date that asks for the final divorce decree when it is available.
Example of an I-751 application

The Removal on Conditions Interview

The following questions are not an exhaustive list of the possible questions asked at the I-751 interview.

I’ve done my best in compiling as many of the most common questions as possible from my experience with people who have completed the removal of conditions interview.

Questions for U.S. Citizen:

The next set of questions are asked of the US citizen spouse. Sometimes they are asked of the applicant as well.

  • How did u meet your spouse?
  • Whats your spouses date of birth?
  • How did you become US Citizen?
  • Has anyone in your family been denied a visa?
  • Do u have any children?
  • What do u do for living?
  • Is this your first marriage?

Questions for beneficiary (green card holder):

The questions below are geared specifically towards the applicant (green card holder) and should be answered honestly.

  • Do u have any children?
  • Whats your spouses date of birth?
  • Is this your first marriage?
  • What is your current address?
  • Have u ever been arrested?
  • Have you ever been denied a visa?

Stokes Interview for I-751

You will take the oath before the interview.

If you’ve never heard of the stokes interview, be glad! It’s only required for cases where USCIS suspects marriage fraud for the purpose of a green card.

In the past, I’ve written about certain red flags the USCIS looks for during adjudication of case. Then there is a red flag level that is assigned each case to determine whether a first or second interview is required.

  • How many bedrooms do you have in your home?
  • Who cleans the house?
  • What day is the garbage picked up?How many windows do you have in your house?
  • What type of curtains or window coverings are in your living room? What color?
  • How many doors are in your house?
  • How many staircases are in your house?
  • Is there a carpet in your front hallway? What color?
  • Describe the entry into your house?
  • Do you have any pets? Who feeds it? Who walks it?
  • How many showers, sinks, toilets, and are there in your house?
  • What kind of sofa do you have in your living room?
  • Where did you get your furniture?
  • How many Televisions do you have in your house?
  • How many telephones are in your house?
  • Where is the garbage in the kitchen?
  • What size bed do you have?
  • What kind of mattress do you have?
  • Who is your cable/internet/phone provider?
  • What type of camera do you have?
  • What kind of appliances do you have in your kitchen?
  • Do you have lamps next to your bed?
  • How many windows are in your bedroom?
  • Where do you keep your toothbrushes?
  • What kind of toothpaste, shampoo and soap do you use?
  • Where do you keep your clothes?
  • Did you have the air conditioner, fan or heater on?
  • How many computers/laptops do you have?
  • Who is your cable/internet/phone provider?
  • Who shops for groceries? How often? Where?
  • What color is the kitchen curtains?

Conclusion: Remove Conditions on Green Card

As you can see, the removal of conditions process is not easy nor should it be. You are about to become a full fledged lawful permanent resident without any conditions!

If you successfully complete the interview, you can expect your 10 year green card within 2 weeks. It looks pretty much the same but the expiration date is far far into the future.

Note: If your I-751 is still pending and you are eligible to apply for naturalization, you do not need to wait for the I-751 to be approved. You can go ahead and apply to naturalize using form N-400.

Alright, that’s it for this week’s episode of the My Path To Citizenship podcast! Hope you enjoyed it.

Please leave me a rating and review for the show! I totally appreciate it and love you for your support!!!

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