For conditional permanent residents (CPRs) who have just been received a “green card” based on marriage to a U.S. citizen it is not too early to start preparing for the next step, the Petition to Remove Conditions (Form I-751). Beginning three months before the expiration of a Conditional Permanent Resident Card the cardholder can apply to remove conditions on the green card and will receive a ten year green card if his or her Form I-751 is approved.
USCIS officers reviewing Form I-751 petitions look for the applicant to prove that the marriage, which formed the basis for the Conditional Permanent Resident Card, was entered into was in good faith. The officer is also seeking evidence that the couple has continued their good faith marriage via evidence of the couple’s life together.
If the U.S. citizen spouse has passed away or the couple has divorced the foreign national can still petition to remove conditions using Form I-751; these cases are considered “Waiver” cases. These Waiver cases have a higher burden of proof to demonstrate that the marriage was in good faith upon the filing of the marriage-based adjustment of status package.
Because the officer will be seeking to review the credentials of the CPR’s marriage to his or her U.S. citizen spouse, it is important to collect evidence throughout the two years of conditional permanent residency to be prepared for the Form I-751 filing. Such evidence can include proof of shared address, joint bills, joint bank accounts, trips taken by the couple, photographs of the couple throughout their relationship, etc. In Waiver cases it is especially important to collect as much evidence as possible throughout your two years of conditional residency to be prepared to file Form I-751 in a timely fashion. In both cases, USCIS has recently began requesting the CPR and U.S. citizen spouse’s state driver’s license.
Regardless of whether filing Form I-751 as a married conditional permanent resident or with a waiver it is important that you present the strongest evidence possible that your marriage was entered into in good faith and has remained a good faith marriage. By collecting evidence throughout the two years of conditional permanent residency, it becomes simpler to successfully file Form I-751 and prove to USCIS that you are (or were, in a waiver case) in a good faith marriage.