i-751 processing time

I-751 Processing Time: How Long Does It Take To Get 10 Year Green Card?

Removing conditions on your green card is the second to last step in the immigration process before naturalization. After filing to remove conditions on your green card, you may be wondering how long the I-751 processing time takes, right?

Unfortunately, I don’t have to tell you that the immigration process is very slow. I’m sure you know that by now if you’re at this stage of the game.

Case Example:

Marco is a conditional permanent resident for the last year and 9 months. He’s been married to his US citizen spouse for over 2.5 years and is ready to remove conditions on his green card.

Since he is still married, he will need to show that he married in good faith by including evidence of their union, joint residence and joint bills

Remember, if you are separated or divorced, you will need to file the I-751 removal of conditions without your spouse. This will require that you submit a waiver of the joint filing.

Who Can Apply For Removal Of Conditions?

Before we go into the I-751 processing time, let’s take a look at who is eligible to remove conditions. This will ensure that those of you looking ahead (before filing) understand the basics.

Generally, you can apply to remove your conditions on your conditional green card if you:

  • Are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years. You may include your children in your application if they received their conditional-resident status either at the same time or within 90 days as you did;
  • Are a child and, for a valid reason, cannot be included in your parents’ application;
  • Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;
  • Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment; or
  • Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.

How Long Does I-751 Processing Time Take?

One of the top questions I get when it comes to removing conditions on a green card is “how long does I-751 processing time take?”

Although I can’t give you a specific date on when your application will be approved, I can say that the I-751 processing time normally takes 12-18 months to complete processing.

This is a long time to wait but thankfully, you’re current permanent resident status is extended for 1 year with the letter indicating the USCIS has accepted your application.

Additionally, you will be able to continue to live and work in the United States until your I-751 is approved.

Keep reading to learn more on what happens when the I-751 is denied and what your options are.

Related Post: Removal Of Conditions Interview: Top 11 Questions That Will Be Asked

Applying For Waiver of I-751 Joint Filing

If you are unable to apply with your spouse to remove the conditions on your residence, you may request a waiver of the joint filing requirement. You may request consideration of more than one waiver provision at a time.

You may request a waiver of the joint filing requirement if:

  • Your deportation or removal would result in extreme hardship
  • You entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but the marriage ended by annulment or divorce, and you were not at fault in failing to file a timely petition
  • You entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but during the marriage you or your child were battered by, or subjected to extreme cruelty committed by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, and you were not at fault in failing to file a joint petition

There is no reason you can’t remove conditions on your green card without your spouse if you married in good faith and can prove it.

Ideally, you have separated or divorced without hard feelings so that your US spouse can still assist you with gather the documents required to be submitted such as their birth certificate.

But, I know that many people who are in the middle of a divorce are bitter and angry so this may be difficult.

On another note, if you have children involved this may complicate things further due to custody issues. Just make sure that your child is included in your I-751 application to remove conditions as well.

Related Post: Remove Conditions on Green Card After Divorce

Missing 90 Day Deadline to Apply for I-751

Did you know there is a deadline to submit the I-751 application? Yup – if you miss it then you can get in a lot of trouble with USCIS.

Generally, USCIS requires that you submit the I-751 90 days before your conditional green card expires. This gives them time to begin processing your application and provide you with a written letter (NOA1) extending your permanent residency.

But, if you file late, there is no protection of your permanent resident status since your conditional green card would expire before your submitted your application to remove conditions.

Submitting your I-751 late can not only cause a problem with your legal status but it can sometimes result in removal proceedings (in extreme cases) if your I-751 is ultimately denied.

Furthermore, USCIS will only accept a late I-751 if there is a valid reason for the late submission such as a serious medical condition.

To learn more about filing I-751 late, listen to EP11 of the “My Path To Citizenship” podcast.

Can You Expedite I-751 Timeline?

Expediting your I-751 application is something that we all want. But, I’ll be honest and tell you that it’s rare, if not impossible.

Additionally, the number of applicants submitting form I-751 has grown in recent years and the number of USCIS adjudicators is not keeping up with the fast pace of this growth.

This all adds up to a LONG waiting period to remove conditions on your green card. So long, in fact, that many immigrants are able to successfully apply for naturalization with pending I-751 with USCIS. (Crazy, right?)

The best thing you can do to “expedite” your application is to submit a strong case that is very organized. This will reduce the chance of receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE) which can delay processing by several months.

Related Post: How To Avoid I751 Interview For 10 Year Green Card

Can You Apply For Citizenship While I-751 Pending?

I’ve said in the previous paragraph that it’s possible for your I-751 application to take a long time to process and you may need to file naturalization/citizenship before you get a response from USCIS.

Don’t wait for the I-751 to be approved if you are now eligible for naturalization! You are allowed to submit form N-400 with pending I-751 and I highly recommend doing so.

In some cases, you may become a US citizen and get approved for your 10 year green card at the same time. Yes, I’ve seen this very thing happen to a few people!

If you do decide to apply for naturalization, there isn’t anything special you need to do with pending I-751. USCIS will already now that you have a pending green card application in the system.

But, if your N-400 is eventually approved, USCIS will likely also approve your I-751 at the same time.

Related Post: Can I Apply For Citizenship With An Expired Green Card?

Can Removal of Conditions I-751 Be Denied?

There are 3 main reasons why I-751 can be denied by USCIS. If your case falls in any of these categories, you will need to take steps to fix the issue as soon as possible.

  • You submitted the I-751 form late (after your conditional green card has expired).
    • This one is pretty straightforward to understand. If you are filing for removal of conditions, you must submit the I-751 application 90 days BEFORE your conditional green card expires. Filing late will cause a denial by USCIS and you better have a really good reason why you filed late.
  • You didn’t provide enough evidence.
    • Not including enough evidence with your I-751 application is another reason for denial because you haven’t proven that you are eligible for the 10 year green card.
  • Problems with your case (such as marriage fraud). 
    • If there are any underlying issues with your case such as fraud, marriage issues then that could be a reason for denial. In most cases, you will be told why you were denied so that you can prepare if you choose to appeal or reapply.

Related Post: Top 3 Reasons Your Removal of Conditions Was Denied

Conclusion: How Long I-751 Processing Time Take?

When applying to remove conditions on your green card, the I-751 processing time can vary but it generally will take more than a year before you get a decision.

In the meantime, you will still have valid permanent residence status and can continue to live and work in the United States while your I-751 is pending.

If problems arise, you can take steps to find out why your case was not as strong as it could have been and do your best to fix the issues or reapply. A denial could also have negative affects on your status and you should consult and experienced immigration attorney for help.

On a positive note, if your I-751 application was strong and you are still married to the original petitioner, you may get approved without an interview.

This is exactly what happened in my case. Although I had to wait about year for a decision, I received my 10 year green card in the mail within 2 weeks of the approval notice without attending an interview.

Do you need help with your I-751 application? Not sure what to include or how to put together a strong case? Sign up for premium case support and get 1-on-1 help via email and phone calls – stop second guessing yourself and get all the answers you need!

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