Filing an I-751 Late

Did you miss your deadline for filing your I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence? If so, don’t panic – you can still avoid serious consequences by taking action as soon as possible.

USCIS generally requires that all 2-year green card holders, or “conditional residents,” file form I-751 within 90 days of their card’s expiration date. If a conditional resident fails to take this step in a timely manner, serious consequences can occur, including, in some cases, removal proceedings.

One important exception is that this does not apply to applicants who are filing form I-751 after the death of or divorce from their U.S.-citizen spouse; those applicants can file their application at any time after receiving their green card, and before being removed from the U.S. Of course, if this applies to you, it is in your best interest to submit the application as soon as possible to avoid any complications, but there is a bit more wiggle room. You can read more about how to file an I-751 after the death of or divorce from your U.S.-citizen spouse here.

Even if you are filing your I-751 application jointly with your U.S.-citizen spouse, though, and you did not file your application on time, it is still possible for your I-751 to be approved after a late filing.

When you file an I-751 application past the expiration date of your 2-year green card, you will need to show USCIS that you have “good cause” for filing late. Essentially, you will need to provide an explanation to USCIS detailing the “extraordinary circumstances beyond your control” that caused you to miss the deadline. This can be interpreted to include many different situations, such as:

  • Serious illness experienced by you or a family member;
  • Death of a family member or loved one;
  • Your family member is in active duty with the U.S. military;
  • Caretaking duties;
  • Significant financial obstacles;
  • Extensive work commitment;
  • Other family emergencies.

You will need to prepare a signed declaration explaining how some extraordinary circumstances led to your mistake in not filing form I-751 on time. Additionally, to make your case as strong as possible, you should include supporting evidence if available and applicable. For example, if writing that the death of a family member explains your mistake, you should include the death certificate of the family member, as well as an official document that proves your familial relationship.

Finally, USCIS notes that the length of your delay must be “reasonable,” meaning it is very important that you take action on filing your I-751 application as soon as you realize that you missed the deadline. If you missed the deadline for jointly filing your I-751, give us a call right away so that we can get started on your application.


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