What Happens After Filing I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
You’ve already filed Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. Naturally, you’re curious to know what happens after filing I-751 and how long it will take to get your new green card. Although the steps that take place are fairly consistent, the time frame can vary based on the USCIS case load, the USCIS office where you filed, and your ability to properly file an accurately prepared Form I-751 without errors or omissions.
The following list details the basic steps of the process for most people. There is an approximate amount of time provided. However, this time frame can vary.
Receipt of Petition (2-3 weeks after filing)
If your Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, has been properly filed, USCIS will initially respond by sending you a receipt letter that confirms receipt of your petition. The receipt letter is formally known as Form I-797C, Notice of Action (see example below).
This receipt letter will also extend your status as a conditional resident for a period of up to one year. An expired green card accompanied by this receipt letter (issued within the previous 6 months) can be used to re-enter the U.S. after travel abroad.
Tip: Save this important letter. It contains your 10-digit receipt number. You can use this receipt number to check the status of your case on the USCIS website. If you didn’t receive a Notice of Action, you can make a Case Inquiry.
Appointment Notice for Biometrics (3-5 weeks after filing)
Next, you will receive an appointment notice that will include your biometrics appointment date, time and location. USCIS requires applicants to be fingerprinted for the purpose of conducting a security clearance and criminal background check. Don’t be alarmed — All applicants must have background checks.
Tip: If you are 80 years old or older at the time of filing, you are exempted from the fingerprint requirements, but are subject to all other background checks. If you didn’t receive your biometrics appointment notice, you can make a Case Inquiry.
Biometrics Appointment (5-8 weeks after filing)
The biometrics appointment, also known as a biometrics screening, is generally a short appointment (15-30 minutes) so that USCIS can collect your fingerprints, photograph and signature. Your appointment notice will tell you what you need to bring. You will be required to bring photo identification. Typically, acceptable documents include:
Tip: If you think you might have a criminal record, contact an immigration lawyer before going to a biometrics appointment. Some crimes will make you ineligible for immigration benefits. A lawyer can request a background check before USCIS does and deal with it as necessary.
Request for Evidence (1-6 months after filing)
If you have filed a joint petition and have provided adequate evidence to prove a good faith marriage, it is unlikely that you will receive a request for evidence. However, petitioners that have not provided sufficient evidence will receive this request in the mail.
Tip: Proving a good faith marriage is a crucial part of filing a successful I-751 petition, even if you are filing with a waiver. Avoid a Request for Evidence by filing a complete I-751 package with thorough supporting evidence.
Interview Appointment Notice (2-6 months after filing)
There is a requisite USCIS interview after filing Form I-751. But USCIS may waive the I-751 interview for jointly filed I-751 petitions with strong evidence of a good faith marriage. Thus, many well-prepared joint petitioners will never be called to an interview. This is an important reason to file a complete and well-prepared I-751 package. Learn more about Avoiding the I-751 Interview.
Tip: It is important that you attend an I-751 interview. Failure to attend the interview may result in termination of the conditional resident’s status and the commencement of removal (i.e. deportation) proceedings.
Receive Your 10-Year Green Card in the Mail (4-12 months after filing)
After USCIS has fully reviewed your petition and made a decision, your petition may be approved. If your petition is approved, your green card will be mailed to you. If your petition is denied, USCIS will mail you a notice explaining the reasons for the denial.
Tip: Moving? You must notify USCIS within 10 days of your relocation by filing Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address. You also must call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 to change the address with your pending I-751 petition. If you did not receive your green card in the mail, you can make a Case Inquiry.
After filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, the entire process can take anywhere from 4-12 months. This is an approximation. It may be shorter for some and longer for others. In some cases, USCIS will make a request for additional information or schedule an interview. Don’t forget — you can check your case status online with your receipt number. The USCIS website also lists normal processing times. If you believe that your case is outside the normal processing times, you can make a Case Inquiry.