My I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence has been Denied, What do I do Now? (Part 1).

This is a question that many conditional permanent residents (married immigrants with 2 year green cards) face when they receive their decision letter on their I-751 Petitions. My I-751 was denied, what do I do now? Do I need an attorney? Am I going to be deported? What are my options? Can I appeal the denial decision? Can I file another I-751? Can I marry someone else and try to adjust status again? What are the bonafides of a marriage?

These are all extremely good questions and I will answer all of them. But before I answer the questions, its important to begin from the beginning about the entire process. If everyone understands where we have been, its easier to know where we are going.

When a non-citizen immigrant marries a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR), the U.S. citizen/LPR can file something called an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. If approved, this Petition will allow the non-citizen spouse to receive an immediate relative visa that allows the immigrant to become a lawful permanent resident. If the immigrant’s spouse is in the United States at the time of marriage and eligible to adjust status in the U.S. (because they were admitted or paroled into the United States at their last entry), the petitioning spouse can file the I-130 and the non-citizen beneficiary can file an I-485 Application to Adjust status all at the same time. If the non-citizen beneficiary is not in the U.S. or not eligible to adjust status in the U.S., then the I-130 Petition comes first, and if approved, the non-citizen spouse can attempt to consular process and obtain their green card through a U.S. embassy overseas.

If the marriage that formed the basis for the I-130 petition is less than 2 years old at the time of adjustment of status or the immigrant spouse’s admission after consular processing, then the non-citizen spouse receives a 2 year green card and becomes conditional lawful permanent resident. It doesn’t matter if the process came about through adjustment of status in the U.S. or via an embassy abroad, the same rules apply.

If the marriage that formed the basis for the petition was more than 2 years old at the time of adjustment or admission, then the beneficiary receives a 10-year green card and avoids the 2-year conditional permanent resident period.

You have your Green Card through Marriage, What comes Next?

If you have your 10 year green card and you are still married to your spouse at the three year anniversary of getting your lawful permanent residence, then congratulations, you are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship on a Form N-400. Conditional permanent residents who have only their 2-year green cards are also eligible to apply for citizenship at the three year anniversary of getting their cards, so long as they are still married. However, conditional permanent residents have to do something else first. That is, file and have USCIS approve their I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence. There are three kinds of I-751 Petitions, and which one or ones you file depend on if you are still married when it comes time to file. Check on my next Immigration Blog where I go into which I-751 to file and why:

John Gihon is a Florida Bar Board Certified expert in Immigration and Nationality Law and a Crimmigration Consultant. You can contact John If you need an Orlando Immigration Attorney or your I-751 Petition was denied or if you just need to file one, no matter where you live in the world.
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