Is your 2-year, conditional green card about to expire? Don’t renew it. The correct next step is to apply to remove the conditions on your residence. This will allow you to get a 10-year permanent resident green card. Here’s how.

Step 1: Find the correct application

There are technically 2 applications to remove conditions on your residence. The first is the I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence. This application is for people with marriage-based green cards. This article will focus on the I-751 as it is the more common application.

Take the I-751 eligibility quiz!

The other is the I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. To learn more about the I-829, click here.

Step 2: Make sure it’s the right time to file

In most cases, applicants will file the petition jointly with their spouse. Filing jointly requires you to file during the 90-day period before your conditional residence expires.

It is possible to file alone (without your U.S. citizen spouse) in certain circumstances. You may file without your spouse if they are deceased, you are divorced, or you or your conditional resident child were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty. In this case, you may file this petition at any time after you are granted conditional resident status.

Step 3: Prepare your application

The I-751 application is 11 pages long and includes portions that must be completed by both spouses (unless requesting to file alone). The application can be complicated, and filing incorrectly could cause big problems including being removed from the U.S.

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Step 4: Prepare supporting documents

The I-751 application requires you submit documents that prove your eligibility. Documents must be in English or have a certified translation. Below is a checklist for the documents you need. The first section is for all applications. The next sections are based on your eligibility category.

All applicants must submit:

  • A copy of the front and back of your permanent resident green card
  • A copy of the front and back of the permanent resident green cards of any conditional resident children you are including in your application
  • Criminal History

If you have ever been arrested or detained by any law enforcement officer for any reason, either in the U.S. or abroad, and no charges were filed, submit:

  • an original statement by the arresting agency or applicable court order confirming that no charges were filed.

If you have ever been arrested or detained by any law enforcement officer for any reason, either in the U.S. or abroad, and charges were filed, or if charges were filed against you without an arrest, submit:

  • an original or court-certified copy of the complete arrest record and/or disposition for each incident (for example, 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:

    • An original court-certified copy of your sentencing record for each incident, and evidence that you have completed, specifically:
      • An original or certified copy of your probation or parole record; OR
      • Evidence that you completed an alternative sentencing program or rehabilitative program
    • An original or court-certified copy of the court order vacating, setting aside, sealing, expunging, or otherwise removing the arrest or conviction; OR
    • If no record is available, an original statement from the court that no record exists of your arrest or conviction

NOTE: Unless a traffic incident was alcohol or drug related, you do not need to submit documentation for traffic fines and incidents that 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.

If you are filing jointly with your spouse, submit:

  • Evidence of your marital relationship:

You must submit evidence that your marriage was entered in “good faith” and not simply for the purpose of getting a U.S. green card. You do not need to include all of the following documents, but it is best to provide as much evidence as possible.  

    • Birth certificates of children born during the time of the marriage, if any
    • Lease or mortgage contracts showing joint occupancy and/or ownership of your communal residence
    • Financial records showing joint ownership of assets and joint responsibility for liabilities, such as:
      • Joint savings and checking accounts with transaction history
      • Complete joint Federal and State tax returns
      • Insurance policies that show the other spouse as the beneficiary
      • Joint utility bills
      • Joint installment or other loans
      • If applicable, copies of military Leave and Earnings Statements showing receipt of Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ) with family members and/or Form DD-1172 for military family member identification cards
    • Other documents you consider relevant to establish that your marriage was not entered for the purpose of evading U.S. immigration laws
    • Affidavits sworn to or affirmed by at least two people who have known both of you since your conditional residence was granted and have personal knowledge of your marriage and relationship. 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 your or your spouse, if any; and full information and complete details explaining how the person acquired his or her knowledge. Affidavits must be supported by other types of evidence listed above.

If you are filing as an individual due to the death of your spouse, submit:

  • A copy of the death certificate along with evidence of your relationship

If you are filing individually because you are no longer married, submit:

  • A copy of the final divorce decree or other document terminating or annulling the marriage along with evidence of the relationship

If you are filing individually because you or your conditional resident child was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty, submit:

  • 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
    • 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
    • Evidence that you sought safe haven in a shelter for the abused or similar refuge
    • Photographs evidencing your injuries
  • A copy of your divorce decree, if your marriage was terminated by divorce on grounds of physical abuse or extreme cruelty

If you are filing for a waiver of the joint filing requirement because the termination of your status and removal would result in “extreme hardship,” you must submit:

  • Evidence that your removal would result in hardship significantly greater than the hardship encountered by others who are removed from this country after extended stays. The evidence must relate only to factors that arose during the two-year period during which you were a conditional resident. To learn more, click here.

If you are a child filing separately from your parent, submit:

  • A full explanation as to why you are filing separately, along with copies of any supporting documents

Step 5: Prepare your I-751 application package and send to the USCIS

Once you have completed the application and prepared your supporting documents, you simply need to put everything together and mail it to the USCIS.

Don’t forget to include the filing fee! A $595 filing fee and $85 biometrics fee for each petitioner (the conditional residents) is required. The check or money order must be drawn on a bank or other financial institution located in the U.S. and must be payable in U.S. currency. Make checks or money orders out to U.S. Department of Homeland Security. If you live outside the U.S., contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for payment instructions.

Where to mail your application can be found at the USCIS website or by calling their customer service line at 1-800-375-5283.

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