Tag: Form I-551

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 hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

 

How long will it take to renew my two year green card?

Renewing a two-year green card can take up to 17 months. File 90 days before expiration with an experienced immigration attorney.This is a great question, and no one knows the answer! Currently, USCIS publishes processing times of approximately 12-17 months. Our cases have been approved much quicker than 12-17 months, but most are pending at least that long. To cover the long processing times, USCIS sends I-751 applicants receipt notices that serve as 48-month extensions of the expiring green card. (Only a few years ago, USCIS issued receipt notices that only extended the expired card by 6 months! Clearly, USCIS is planning on deciding on your case any time soon!

USCIS processing times change from month to month for a variety of reasons cited by USCIS: the volume of applications received, staffing levels, and changes in USCIS policies or procedures.  

File your Form I-751 as soon as you are eligible, which is 90 days before the green card (Form I-551 expires). Do NOT file before 90 days because USCIS will immediately reject it, or worse, USCIS will wait over a year to deny it. 

To be successful on your green card renewal, you must prove that you were in a “real marriage,” that is, that you did not fake the marriage to get a green card. Green card renewal applications with Form I-751 are difficult to prepare and win, and USCIS is always looking for fraud in I-751 applications. Don’t file a I-751 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 (617-676-0503) or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

Free Download!

Marriage-Based Green Card Document Guide

We work hard to make your immigration case easy for you. Use this easy guide to help you organize the documents that you would use if you are eligible to submit an application for a marriage-based green card application. You should consult with an attorney to figure out if you are eligible for a green card before you submit any applications or documents to the U.S. government.