Permanent residency is the immigration status of a person authorized to live and work in the United States of America permanently. Sometimes people have conditions on their residency though they can petition to have the conditions removed. An I-751 Petition is a petition to remove conditions on residency. For example, a person who obtained status through marriage to a United States citizen often files this petition to have conditions on their residence removed.
The removal petition is necessary because people who receive permanent residence based on a recent marriage to a U.S. citizen are granted permanent residence only on a conditional basis for two years. When the two-year conditional period is over, the permanent residence automatically expires and the applicant is subject to deportation. For conditional permanent residence obtained through marriage, both spouses must sign the I-751. In cases where the spouses divorcee, there are waivers available if the existence of the prior bona fide marriage is established through evidence.
There are some exceptions. One exception is when a U.S. citizen sponsored a spouse where the marriage at the time of the adjustment of status was more than two years old. In this case, the conditional status is waived and a 10-year Permanent Resident Card is issued. Adjustment of status can occur when the immigrant is in the United States and entered legally. Except for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, the immigrant must also be in proper legal status at the time of applying for adjustment of status. Adjustment of status is submitted to the immigration service on form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. The service conducts background checks which include fingerprinting and then makes a decision on the application.
To avoid deportation, 90 days or less before the conditional residence expires, the applicant must file Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. Once the application is received, permanent residence is extended in 1-year increments until the request to remove conditions is considered. The evidence provided to support the petition varies. For an application based on marriage, an applicant would submit such things as the birth certificates of children, joint financial statements, and letters from employers, friends and relatives. The evidence helps establish that the marriage was in good faith and not fraudulent.
A follow-up interview with an immigration officer is sometimes required but may be waived if the evidence submitted is sufficient. If an interview is required, both spouses must attend. A lawful permanent resident can then apply for United States citizenship, otherwise called naturalization. Citizens are entitled to more rights than permanent residents. Lawful permanent residents generally do not have the right to vote, be elected in federal and state elections, bring family members to the United States, or hold federal government jobs.
Contact Our New York City Immigration Lawyers
Our law firm can explain all the opportunities associated with immigration petitions and help you through the entire process as well as discussing options. For an initial consultation with a skilled immigration lawyer, contact the Law Office of Cheryl R. David in New York.