Petition to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence Based on Marriage
You will get conditional permanent residence valid for 2 years if it is based on a marriage that was less than 2 years old on the day you were given permanent residence (on the day you were lawfully admitted to the U.S. on an immigrant visa or received an adjustment of status). The notation CR-1 in your passport stamp indicates that you are a conditional resident. You must prove that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the U.S.

A CR1 conditional resident has the same rights and responsibilities as a permanent resident. You can count your time as a conditional resident towards the time for being eligible for U.S. citizenship.

When you obtain conditional residence status, the USCIS will notify you of the conditional basis of your status, the requirements for removal of the conditions and what will happen if you fail to file a petition to remove the conditions. You will not get any other reminder when it is time to actually file the petition.

Usually, you and your spouse must apply together during the 90 days before your second anniversary as a conditional resident (not second marriage anniversary) to remove conditions on your residence. If you don't apply to remove the conditions in time, you could lose your conditional resident status and be put in removal proceedings.

If you file your application too soon, that is, earlier than 90 days before your conditional residence expires, the application will be sent back to you. Remember that you need to file up to 90 days in advance, and 90 days is always not the same as 3 months. If you are late only by a few days for a few weeks, mail the application with a cover letter, explaining the delay.

If you are no longer married to your sponsor spouse, or if you have been battered or abused by your spouse, you can apply to waive the joint filing requirement. In such cases, you may apply to remove the conditions on your permanent residence any time after you become a conditional resident, but before you are removed from the U.S.

Your children may be included in your application if they got their conditional resident status at the same time that you did or within 90 days. Your child must file a separate application if your child received conditional resident status more than 90 days after you did, or the child was granted conditional resident status independently, the child will need to file a separate petition.

If you file your USCIS Form I-751 on time, the USCIS will extend your conditional resident status for up to 12 months while your petition is under review.

The Form I-751 can be filed regardless of whether you are physically present in the U.S. at the time you file. However, you must return to the U.S. with your spouse and your children in order to comply with the interview requirement.

Documents
  • Cover letter

    Sample letter

  • Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence

    Sample I751

  • Copy of USCIS Form I-551 (Permanent Resident Card)
    You must include it for you and for any of your conditional resident children you are filing in your petition. Submit copies of both front and back sides of the card.

  • Application fee must be sent with the application.
    Additionally, biometric fee is required. You can either make two separate checks or a combined check. Separate biometric fees are required for each applicant and for each dependent.

    Fee details

  • Evidence that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the U.S.

    Bona fide marriage documentation

    The documents should cover the period from the date you received the conditional green card to the filing of this petition.

    You may also submit affidavits sworn to or affirmed by at least 2 people (who are either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents) who have known both of you since your conditional residence was granted and have personal knowledge of your marriage and relationship. (Such persons may be required to testify before an immigration officer as to the information contained in the affidavit.) The original affidavit must be submitted and also contain the following information regarding the person making the affidavit: his or her full name and address; date and place of birth; relationship to you and your spouse, if any; and full information and complete details explaining how the person acquired his or her knowledge. The signatures must be notarized. Affidavits must be supported by other types of evidence listed above.

    Sample letters

  • Criminal History
    If you have ever been arrested or detained by any law enforcement officer for any reason:
    • No charges were filed:
      • An original official statement by the arresting agency or applicable court order confirming that no charges were filed.
    • Charges were filed or, if charges were field against you without an arrest:
      • An original or court-certified copy of the complete arrest record and/or disposition for each incident (e.g., dismissal order, conviction record, or acquittal order.)

    If you have ever been convicted or placed in an alternative sentencing program or rehabilitative program (such as a drug treatment or community service program), submit:
    1. An original or court-certified copy of your sentencing record for each incident, and evidence that you completed your sentence, specifically:
      1. An original or certified copy of your probation or parole record; or
      2. Evidence that you completed an alternative sentencing program, or rehabilitative program.
    2. An original our court-certified copy of the court order vacating, setting aside, sealing, expunging, or otherwise removing the arrest or conviction; or otherwise removing the arrest or conviction; or
    3. If no record is available, an original statement from the court that no record exists of your arrest or conviction.

    NOTE: You do not need to submit documentation for traffic fines incidents, unless
    • A traffic incident was alcohol or drug related
    • And it did not involve an actual arrest if the only penalty was a fine of less than $500 and/or points on your driver's license.

  • Circumstances specific
    • Residing overseas
      Those who reside overseas pursuant to military or Government orders, including conditional resident dependents residing overseas and listed under Part 5 of the form, must submit the following additional items:
      • 2 identical photographs for each applicant and dependents regardless of age

      • If you are between the ages of 14 and 79 (applicants and dependents), two completed fingerprint cards (Form FD-258). Make sure that the completed cards are not bent, folded, or creased. You must indicate your A Number on the fingerprint card. You need to fingerprint cards prepared by a U.S. Embassy or consulate, USCIS office, or U.S. Military installation.

      If you are filing based on military or Government orders, make sure to write "ACTIVE MILITARY" or "GOVERNMENT ORDERS" on top of Form I-751 and submit a copy of your current military or government records.

    • Filing a joint application with your spouse
      • Form I-751 must be signed by both you and your spouse

    • You are a widow(er)
      • Copy of your spouse's death certificate

    • Your marriage was terminated other than by the death of your spouse
      • Evidence that you entered in the marriage in good faith

      • Copy of your divorce or annulment decree

        If you are in divorce proceedings, but not yet divorced, you may not apply for a waiver of the requirement to file a joint petition, based on the "good faith" exception.

      • Evidence that you were not at fault in failing to file the petition on time, if applicable.

    • You or your child were battered or subjected to extreme mental cruelty by your spouse
      • Evidence that you entered in the marriage in good faith

      • Expert testimony proving that you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme mental cruelty. Examples of such testimony includes, but is not limited to:
        • Evidence of the physical abuse, such as copies of reports or official records issued by police, judges, medical personnel, school officials and representatives of social service agencies, and original affidavits as described above; or

        • Evidence of the abuse, such as copies of reports or official records issued by police, courts, medical personnel, school officials, clergy, social workers and other social service agency personnel. You may also submit any legal documents relating to an order of protection against the abuser or relating to any legal steps you may have taken to end the abuse. You may also submit evidence that you sought safe haven in a battered women's shelter or similar refuge, as well photographs evidencing your injuries.

        • Copy of your divorce decree if your marriage was terminated because of physical abuse or mental cruelty.

      • Evidence that you were not at fault in failing to file the petition on time, if applicable.

      If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you can find help through the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (for hearing impaired). Help is available in Spanish and other languages.

      The Violence Against Women Act allows abused spouses and children of U.S. citizens and LPRs to "self petition", or file their own petition to become a lawful permanent resident.

    • You are filing for a waiver of the joint filing requirement because the termination of your status and removal would result in "extreme hardship"
      • Evidence that the termination of your conditional resident status and your removal from the country will cause you extreme hardship, includes but is not limited to the following:
        • USCIS Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence)

        • Copy of USCIS Form I551 (Permanent Resident Card)

        • Evidence that your deportation would cause greater hardship than the hardships created when other aliens are removed from the United States.
          The evidence must be related only to those factors that arose since you became a conditional resident.

      However you should note that in evaluating the claim that your removal from the United States will cause you extreme hardship, the Service will only consider factors which arose after the date you obtained your conditional permanent residence.

    • You are a child filing separately from your parents
      • A written explanation of why you are filing separately from your parents, and any supporting documentation.

Filing The Application
Application filing instructions

If you live in Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, or Wyoming, mail your petition to the California Service Center:

USCIS California Service Center
P.O. Box 10751
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1075

If you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington DC, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, U.S. Virgin Islands, or West Virginia, mail your petition to the Vermont Service Center:

USCIS Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden St
P.O. Box 200
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001

If you or your spouse are currently serving with or employed by the U.S. Government, either in a civilian or military capacity and assigned outside the U.S., mail your petition to the USCIS service center having jurisdiction over your residence of record in the U.S. Include a copy of the U.S. Government orders assigning you and your spouse abroad.

Filing jointly. If you are filing this petition jointly with your spouse, you must file it during the 90 days immediately before the second anniversary of the date you were granted conditional resident status. This is the date your conditional residence expires.

However, if you and your spouse are outside the U.S. on order of the U.S. Government during the period in which the petition must be filed, you may file it within 90 days of your return to the U.S.

Filing with a request that the joint filing requirement be waived. You may file this petition at any time after you are granted conditional resident status and before you are removed.

Effect of not filing. If this petition is not filed, you will automatically lose your permanent resident status as of the second anniversary of the date on which you were granted conditional status. You will then become removable from the U.S. You will receive a notice from the USCIS telling you that you have failed to remove the conditions, and you will also receive a Notice to Appear at a hearing. At the hearing you may review and rebut the evidence against you. You are responsible for proving that you complied with the requirements. The USCIS is not responsible for proving that you did not comply with the requirements.

If your failure to file was through no fault of your own, you may file your petition late with a written explanation and request that USCIS excuse the late filing. Failure to file before the expiration date may be excused if you demonstrate when you submit the application that the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control and that the length of the delay was reasonable. The director of the USCIS Service Center has the discretion to approve the petition and restore your permanent resident status.

Receipt Notice
A few weeks after USCIS receives your complete application, it will send you a receipt noticed called I-797C, Notice of Action. It is a very important document. It extends your residency for another 1 year while the application is pending. It is your only proof of legal status until the application gets approved and can be used for employment, travel and other purposes. You must also carry your expired green card at the same time as it has your photo on it.

Before you travel internationally, it is advisable to visit your local USCIS office and get an I-551 stamp in your passport. Bring your unexpired passport, expired green card, and your receipt notice. USCIS will take your green card, and they will stamp I-551 in your passport. This stamp will serve as evidence of your status, and will be valid for another 1 year. If your receipt notice expires before your application gets approved, you can get an I-551 stamp as well.

Interview
The Director of the district office that serves the area where you live will review the petition to determine whether an interview is required. If the director is satisfied based on the written petition that your marriage was not entered into in order to obtain immigration benefits, he/she may waive the interview requirement and approve the petition. Otherwise, you and your spouse will be scheduled for an interview.

Fraud interview details

If your interview is waived, you will receive the approval notice in the mail. Take your approval notice to the local USCIS office and get an I-551 stamp in your passport for permanent residency.

If your interview is successful, you will get an I-551 stamp in your passport for permanent residency.

Either way, the actual plastic card will arrive in mail within next few months.

If your application is denied, you will be placed in removal proceedings unless you can obtain an alternate legal status. If you are placed in removal proceedings, hire an attorney if you already haven't. Don't skip a court date. Failure to appear results in an automatic order of deportation and could permanently ruin your chances of immigrating. If the immigration judge decides to remove you from the country, you may appeal this decision within 33 days after that decision is made. After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Washington, D.C.

Naturalization
If you are married to your U.S. citizen spouse, and still living together, you will be eligible for naturalization if you have established the 3 year residency requirement. If I-751 is still pending, USCIS will not approve your naturalization application until the I-751 is approved.