I’ve had my marriage-based green card for almost 2 years…now what?
Recently, I had a client come in whose green card had expired because he had missed the deadline to file an I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence. If you recently married a U.S. Citizen and have received a green card, an I-751 form must be filed within the 90 days preceding the expiration date on your green card. While green cards allow a foreign national to live and work in the U.S. permanently, a green card based on a marriage, that was originally less than two years old, will expire after two years. The foreign national must once again prove to the USCIS that his or her marriage was bona fide and not fraudulent; this is done by filing an I-751 and supporting evidence of your marriage.
If you do not file an I-751 in time, your green card status will be terminated and you may be put into deportation proceedings, a process which begins with a Notice to Appear at a hearing. In my client’s case, he had not yet received any Notice to Appear, thus we went ahead and filed the I-751 late with a letter explaining the extenuating circumstances as to why it was late. This situation is less than ideal. We have not yet heard whether or not USCIS will accept his late I-751.
It is very important that those with marriage-based green cards mark your calendar and do not miss your obligation within the 90 day period prior to the 2nd anniversary of receiving your card (not your wedding date). If you find that you have already missed the deadline, you should contact a licensed immigration attorney.
Note: If you have divorced or separated prior to the deadline, you must still file an I-751, and seek a waiver to remove conditions without the support of your spouse. You should contact a licensed immigration attorney to aid you in providing sufficient evidence to receive the waiver. I have experience with these kinds of cases and will be able to help.