How do I renew my two year green card if my spouse died?

Renewing Green Card After Spouse's Death: Form I-751 & Evidence Requirements Explained for a Valid MarriageIf you obtained your two-year green card through marriage and your US citizen (or LPR spouse) died, you are still able to renew your green card by filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. If you are successful, USCIS will grant you a 10-year green card (Form I-551)! To be successful on this application, you will need to show that yours was a “real” (aka bona fide) relationship and marriage. Or, in other words, you need to prove to USCIS that you did not get married just to get a green card.  Also, you need to prove that your spouse died, with a death certificate.

Your death-based waiver application should include: Form I-751:

  1. Form I-751 (fully answered and signed)
  2. Filing fee of $680
  3. A copy of the death certificate of your spouse
  4. A statement from you about the circumstances of the death
  5. Evidence that you and your late spouse were in a real relationship and marriage

You need to submit as much evidence as possible to show your marriage was real. Submit documents such as photos of the two of you with other people (such as family at a birthday party), joint tax returns, joint financial documents, joint health insurance, joint lease, joint property deeds, and similar documents. Also, you can submit documents relating to your spouse’s death such as an obituary with your name, a receipt for the funeral, burial, or creation in your name, sympathy cards to you from family and friends. 

If USCIS approves your application, you will be issued a new green card that is valid for 10 years. However, if your application is denied, you may be placed in removal proceedings and may need to appear before an immigration judge to defend your case.

To win a waiver case, you must not only prove it was a “real marriage”and how/when/why your spouse died. Waiver applications are difficult to prepare and win, and USCIS is always looking for fraud in I-751 waiver applications. Don’t file a waiver application without an experienced immigration attorney!

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of people traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call (617-272-7980) or email to get in touch.