For Iranian couples in the United States, the journey to obtain permanent residency can be challenging and complex. One essential step in this journey is filing the I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. This petition allows conditional permanent residents (CPR) to apply for the removal of conditions on their Green Card, granting them full permanent residency status. In this article, we will explore the I-751 petition process, its requirements, and some tips to help Iranian couples successfully navigate this critical phase of their immigration journey.
Understanding Conditional Permanent Residency
Before diving into the I-751 petition process, it is essential to understand what Conditional Permanent Residency (CPR) is and why it applies to Iranian couples. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants CPR to individuals who obtain their Green Card through a marriage that is less than two years old at the time of approval. This conditional status is designed to prevent marriage fraud and ensure that the marriage is genuine.
Conditional Green Cards are valid for two years. Before the expiration of this period, the couple must file the I-751 petition to remove the conditions and obtain full permanent residency status. Failure to do so may result in the termination of the conditional resident's status and potential deportation.
Form I-751: The Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
The I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence is the primary form required for this process. This form must be completed accurately and in its entirety, providing all necessary information and signatures. The form requires information about the petitioner's personal details, marital status, and the couple's shared residence.
To ensure a successful I-751 petition process, Iranian couples must provide comprehensive and credible supporting documents. These documents will serve as evidence of the bona fide nature of the marriage and prove that it was entered in good faith. Some of the essential documents to include with your I-751 petition are:
At the time of writing, the I-751 filing fee is $595, and there is an additional biometric services fee of $85 for each petitioner and dependent. It is essential to submit the correct filing fees to avoid delays in processing your petition.
When to File the I-751 Petition
The I-751 petition must be filed within the 90-day window immediately preceding the expiration date of the two-year conditional Green Card. It is crucial to file the petition within this timeframe to avoid the risk of losing your conditional resident status. If you fail to file on time, you may be placed in removal proceedings, and your case may be referred to an Immigration Judge.
USCIS Processing and Biometrics
Once the I-751 petition and supporting documents are submitted, USCIS will review the application and may issue a receipt notice, extending the conditional resident status for an additional 24 months. During this period, the applicant may be required to attend a biometrics appointment for fingerprinting and photographing. The biometric data collected is used to conduct background and security checks.
Because processing the I-751 can take longer than a year, you can file for naturalization/citizenship (N-400) if you qualify while the I-751 is pending. You do not have to wait for the I-751 decision to file for naturalization. If you decide to apply for citizenship while your I-751 is pending with USCIS, your I-751 application and your N-400 naturalization application will be checked and processed at your citizenship interview. Remember to attend your citizenship interview with your spouse if your I-751 is pending because they will want to meet with you both to discuss any questions regarding your marriage for the processing of the I-751.
In some cases, USCIS may schedule an interview with the petitioner and their spouse to further assess the legitimacy of the marriage. Iranian couples must be well-prepared for this interview, as the officer will ask questions about the marriage, the couple's life together, and their future plans. It is essential to answer all questions honestly and consistently, providing any additional documentation that may be requested.
Approval and Removal of Conditions
Once the I-751 petition is approved, USCIS will remove the conditions on the petitioner's Green Card, granting them full permanent resident status. The applicant will receive a new 10-year Green Card. It is important to note that the approval of the I-751 petition does not grant U.S. citizenship; however, it does pave the way for Iranian couples to apply for naturalization after meeting the required residency and eligibility criteria.
Tips for a Successful I-751 Petition
The I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence is a critical step for Iranian couples seeking full permanent resident status in the United States. By understanding the process, gathering comprehensive supporting documentation, and following the tips provided in this article, you can increase your chances of successfully navigating the I-751 petition process and securing your future in the United States.
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--Najmeh Mahmoudjafari, J.D.
Najmeh is the Founder and Lead Immigration Attorney at ImmigraTrust Law (www.ImmigraTrust.com), an immigration law practice in Orange County, California, representing individual and corporate clients in all 50 U.S. States and internationally. Najmeh can be reached at Najmeh@ImmigraTrust.com.
DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended and does not constitute legal advice. This article does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not provide an attorney/client privilege. For legal advice about your specific case, please contact an attorney.
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