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I-751 WAIVER, REMOVAL OF CONDITIONS WITHOUT SPOUSE

An I-751 Waiver is for conditional residents who obtained permanent resident status through marriage but cannot file jointly with their spouse. As long as you meet the appropriate waiver conditions, you may still successfully remove the conditions on your permanent resident card.

If you are able to file jointly with your spouse, please see I-751 Removal of Conditions. 

At Tsang & Associates, we have a long history of helping thousands of clients successfully file for the I-751 and will help our clients complete that process from beginning to end.

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LEGAL FEE

Our fee structure is unique to us as we strive to tailor our services for each client individually. We adapt price standards that are capable of fluctuating for each client depending on their unique needs. Clients may retain us for one or all of the above steps/services.

Our base fee for a standard I-751 Waiver case is $3,500, not including government fees and third-party expenses. We are happy to customize a proposal for yours during a consultation. Please see below for more information.

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CASE PROCESSING OVERVIEW

Step 1: Strategy Session for I-751 Waiver Application

This is the most crucial step for your entire I-751 Waiver Application. We will review all of the supporting documents to create a strategy, a customized checklist, and a timeline to serve as the guiding foundation for the entire case preparation.

Step 2: Prepare and Submit the I-751 to USCIS and Answer Potential Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)

Our attorneys will craft your I-751 arguments and complete all forms, organize supporting documents, and assemble the crafted arguments into the proper application formats. After a thorough review, we will then submit the application to USCIS.

Step 3: USCIS will require that you submit Biometrics to apply for this process

Once your I-751 application is filed, you will have to attend a biometrics appointment that will allow USCIS to conduct a background check and verify your identity. The appointment for the biometric service will be scheduled six (6) months after the application is submitted. Our team will guide you through this process.

Step 4: Prepare the client for Interview with USCIS

We will help guide you in your preparation for the interview with the USCIS by simulating the interview and ensure you are well versed in the application material. Our services include a comprehensive strategy for answering inquiries posed, practice questions, thorough feedback, and other tools to help clients succeed during the interview. You can attend the interview by yourself or inquire about our attorney appearance service at an additional cost.

Step 5: Responding to Additional USCIS Requests / Administrative Processing / Status Checks / Fraud Alerts

If additional documents/evidence are needed upon the submission of the case or after the interview, our office will ensure that all necessary documents are submitted to the USCIS office in a timely manner. We will assist the client to the best of our ability until the case gets approved or the client no longer wants to continue moving forward with the case.

Step 6: Approval is Only The Beginning

Our services do not end when you receive the I-751 application approval, as this step is just the beginning. To help accommodate this reality, we provide guidance over:

  • N-400 Naturalization Applications
  • Family Member Petitions
  • and more!
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Checklist of Required Evidence

1.) How can I prove that my marriage is “good faith” and I did not get married just to get immigration papers?

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, you may have other documents that prove your marriage was in good faith. 

  • A “personal declaration” in which you describe, in great detail, how you met your spouse, why you got married, and the feelings that you had or still have towards him or her, and why.
  • If you and your spouse have a child or children together, present the birth certificate for each child. 
  • Wedding pictures and/or photographs of other moments when you and your spouse, and/or other members of your families and friends have been together.
  • Declarations (formal letters) from people who know you and your spouse and who can affirm that your marriage was based on sentimental or cultural ties, who witnessed your marriage ceremony or who knew you as a married couple. These letters should include as many details as possible.
  • Letters that you received from your spouse while you were dating, separated, or during any other stage of your relationship.
  • Letters from people addressed to both you and your spouse, or in which the person who wrote the letter refers to both of you as a couple.
  • Papers with the names of both you and your spouse that show that you bought a car, a house, furniture, or something else together.
  • A rental agreement for your house or apartment with both of your names on it, or a letter from the building manager or owner proving that you lived together. 
  • Letters or statements from a bank that show that you had or have a savings or checking account together. 
  • Insurance papers that show that you were or still are covered by your spouse’s insurance plan, or that your plan covers or covered him or her.
  • Bills, such as electricity, water, heat, cable TV, phone, or others that show both you and your spouse’s names.
  • Income tax papers that show your name and your spouse’s name.
  • An identification card that shows that you use your spouse’s last name.
  • Applications or membership cards for video clubs, grocery stores or similar businesses, that show joint membership for your and your spouse.
  • Any other documents you can think of to show that you did not get married just to get immigration papers.

2.) How can I show that I am no longer married?

A document that shows your marriage has been terminated either through divorce, annulment, or death is evidence that you are no longer married. In most cases, this would be an order from a judge.

3.) How can I show that my spouse abused me physically or psychologically?

There are many different ways to show that your spouse abused you. The following is a list of possibilities: 

  • In your personal declaration, you should explain how your spouse treated you and/or your children. If your spouse has ever physically harmed or beaten you, describe those incidents. Be sure to include dates and descriptions of any injuries you sustained. If your spouse has threatened you in any way, including with deportation, separation from your children, death, or injuries to you or someone else, describe these threats. If he or she has made sexual demands on you; has denied you economic support; has kept you isolated; or engages in or has engaged in any other behavior that has made you fear for your own safety or for someone else’s, write as much about this as possible. Try to write about how it made you feel when he has threatened, hit, insulted, or in any other way tried to control you. All of this will serve as evidence of abuse or extreme mental cruelty .
  • If there are other people who know about the way your spouse or parent has treated you, you should present letters from these people. If there is no one you can ask to write a letter for you, be sure to explain why not in your declaration.
  • If, at any time, you or someone else called the police because they suspected or knew that your spouse was hurting you, you should try to obtain the police report. • Past or present court orders that prohibit your spouse from approaching you or your children.
  • Hospital or clinic reports that show that you were physically assaulted and/or emotionally harmed by your spouse, even if you did not tell the person helping you the truth about how you got hurt.
  • If you or your children have attended a support group for survivors of domestic violence, or if you have or continue to see a mental health professional, the support group facilitator or therapist could write a letter to support your case. If you have received the assistance of a shelter or other center for survivors (victims) of sexual abuse or domestic violence, a staff member at the agency could write a letter regarding what he or she knows about your case.

4.) How can I show that I will suffer extreme hardship if I have to go back to my country of origin?

One way to show you are eligible for an I-751 waiver is to show that you are afraid of what would happen to you if you were returned to your country of origin. In order to establish your eligibility under this provision, consider the following:

  • In your personal declaration, explain what would happen to you if you had to return to your country of origin. For example, if you have been a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, describe the physical and psychological consequences of the abuse you have suffered; the impact of the loss of access to United States courts and criminal justice system; your ongoing need for social, medical, mental health, or other supportive services; the existence of laws, social practices, or customs in your country that would punish you or your children for having been a victim of abuse, leaving the situation, or taking actions to stop the abuse; your abuser’s ability to travel to the foreign country; the likelihood that the abuser’s family, friends, or others would harm you.
  • If there are other people who know about what would happen to you if you had to return to your country of origin, you should present letters from these people.

If you are filing an individual request because of the death of the petitioning spouse, did you provide the following?

  • Copies of the front and back of your Permanent Resident Card 
  • Copies of the front and back of the Permanent Resident Cards of any conditional resident children you are including in your petition (if applicable)
  • Evidence of the relationship
    • Submit copies of documents indicating that the marriage upon which you were granted status was entered in good faith and was not for the purpose of circumventing immigration laws. Submit copies of as many documents as you can to establish this fact, to demonstrate the circumstances of the relationship from the date of the marriage to the present date. 
  • Your spouse’s death certificate 
  • An explanation for the reason you are filing separately from your primary conditional permanent resident parent (if applicable)
  • Dispositions on criminal charges, arrests, or convictions (if applicable)
  • If you are filing from overseas:
    • Two passport-style photographs for each petitioner and dependent, regardless of age
    • Two completed Form FD- 258 Fingerprint Cards for each petitioner and dependent 14 to 79 years of age 
    • A copy of current military or government orders if filing based on military or government service 

Filing Fee

The updated filing fee for form I-751 can be found here. All Form I-751 petitions also require an $85 biometric service fee for each person applying to remove conditions on their residence on the same form. You may pay the fee with a money order, personal check, or cashier’s check.  When filing at a USCIS Lockbox facility, you may also pay by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. If you pay by check, you must make your check payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Please note that service centers are not able to process credit card payments. 

When you send a payment, you agree to pay for a government service. Filing and biometric service fees are final and non-refundable, regardless of any action we take on your application, petition, or request, or if you withdraw your request. 

Eligibility for Form I-751 Waiver

There are certain situations in which a conditional resident may not be able to depend on their spouse to help their file the Form I-751, Application to Remove the Conditions on Residence. The conditional resident may apply for an I-751 waiver of the joint filing requirement by filing the Form I-751 alone(indicating that requesting waiver of joint filing requirement called an “I-751 Waiver” if they can show: 

 

  • That they entered into the marriage in good faith, but that the marriage was terminated in divorce; and/or 
  • That they entered into the marriage on good faith, but the married was terminated due to the death of the United State Citizen spouse; and/or
  • That she entered into the marriage in good faith, and that she was subjected to physical battering and/or extreme mental cruelty; and/or
  • That she would suffer extreme hardship if returned to her country of origin.

Please note that if you are filing an I-751 waiver, you do not have to show your eligibility under all grounds. At the very least, you must meet one of the grounds of eligibility. For example, if you entered into your marriage in good faith and were abused by your spouse but you are not yet divorced, you are eligible under the second ground. If you entered into your marriage in good faith, and were abused by your spouse, and your marriage ended in divorce (with a final divorce decree) during the period of conditional residence, you are eligible under both the first and second grounds. If you meet more than one ground, you should mark more than one box on the Form I-751.

 

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SAMPLE & TEMPLATES

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Attorney Brief:  [coming soon] We will provide an attorney brief sample for the I-751 petition.

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Cover Letter: [coming soon] We will also provide a cover letter sample for the I-751 petition.

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Sample Request for Evidence: [coming soon] Requests for evidence can be used to strengthen the case.

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Forms: Here is a list of the forms that are needed by USCIS

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Sample Checklist: [coming soon] We look at the client’s unique situation and create customized checklists to strengthen their cases.

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USCIS Fee Calculator: This is to help calculate how much the filing fee will be.

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USCIS Mailing Address: This address is where it is mailed to USCIS.

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USCIS Processing Timetable: This will help you figure out how long it will take to process.

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ASC Field Offices: Listed are the addresses of the field offices for the bio-metrics.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the processing time for I-751?

As with any USCIS petition or application, processing times for Form I-751 vary depending on the nature of the case. The number of applications and petitions that have been received by USCIS will affect processing times, as will the accuracy of the information and the amount of evidence you provided with your petition. Typically, however, the processing time for this form is between 5 and 12 months.

Once your petition has been reviewed, you will be contacted by USCIS for an interview, if necessary. If you filed your petition jointly and provided strong evidence that your marriage is in good faith, the interview may be waived.

If your petition is approved, USCIS will remove the conditions on your residence and you will become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

When should Form I-751 be filed?

A conditional residency status usually only lasts for two years. Towards the end of the two-year period, you may need to file a Form I-751, the Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence, to request that USCIS remove the conditions on your residency so that you can become a permanent resident. If you do not file the form in a timely manner to remove the conditions on your residency and finalize your status as a permanent resident, you may risk deportation.

What happens if I do not file Form I-751 within 90 days of my green card expiration date?

If Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, is not filed before your green card expires, you can automatically lose your permanent resident status. Without a valid immigration status, immigration enforcement has the authority to remove you from the United States.

However, if you fail to file through no fault of your own, you may file 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 certain criteria. When you submit the petition, you must also show that the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control and the length of the delay was reasonable. If you do have a compelling reason to file late, you should respond immediately. 

Again, there is an exception if you are applying for a waiver of the joint filing requirement. You may file Form I-751 at any time after you are granted conditional permanent residence and before you are removed from the United States.

Can I use Form I-751 to remove conditions on residence for my children?

If your dependent children acquired conditional permanent resident status on the same day as you or within 90 days thereafter, simply include their names and information in the same Form I-751 that you are filing for yourself. Be sure to include the additional filing fee and supporting documents.

However, if your dependent children acquired conditional resident status more than 90 days after you or the parent is now deceased, use a separate Form I-751 to remove the conditions.

Why is it only good for two years?

When a green card is obtained based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, initially the permanent resident status is valid for two years. The conditional green card expires after two years.

The conditional residency is like a probation period. During the two years, the couple builds a record of their married relationship together. At the end of that period the couple files Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, in addition to evidence of their bona fide marriage.

The conditional two-year period is in place to help prevent marriage fraud. Therefore, couples should take the filing process very seriously as it’s more than just filing a form. The couple must prove their good faith marriage. Upon approval of the I-751 petition, the permanent resident (along with any children that filed on the same petition) will become lawful permanent residents with 10-year green cards.

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SCHEDULE A SESSION

Call or email us to set up your 1-hour consultation. Easily pay the $250 consultation fee over the phone or through our email link. If you would like to have a quick chat with our team before setting up the consultation, feel free to use the calendar on the right to book your 10 minute call.

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