Charities Migration Corner: Form I-751

By Matthew Young
Many people do not know of an immigration application known as Form I-751. This form is required for a certain category of permanent residents known, somewhat paradoxically, as “conditional permanent residents” to remove conditions on their status and receive a normal green card that is valid for ten years.

The conditional green card is given to people who have received their permanent resident status on the basis of a marriage that is less than two years old. The card is valid for two years. The purpose of Form I-751 is to further confirm that the marriage is legitimate.

It is not an absolute requirement that the immigrant remain married to their spouse in order to file Form I-751; there is a provision for applicants who have divorced their spouses since becoming permanent residents, as well as a provision for spouses who have been the victim of domestic abuse. There is also a provision for applicants whose spouse has died. However, in all cases evidence must be provided that the marriage was entered into in good faith.

It is very important that Form I-751 be distinguished from Form I-90. Form I-90 is the form used by non-conditional permanent residents to renew their green cards every ten years. A conditional green card cannot be renewed with Form I-90, and such an application will be denied.

Form I-751 can only be filed during a specific window of time: the 90-day period prior to the expiration of the conditional green card. Applications filed more than 90 days prior to the expiration will be rejected and returned to the applicant. Applications filed after the conditional green card has expired are likely to be denied, unless the applicant can show that the failure to file during the 90-day window was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond their control.

For information about legal services relating to immigration, call the Migrant Support Center at Catholic Charities of Jackson at 601-948-2635.

(Matthew Young is an attorney for the Migrant Support Center of Catholic Charities, Inc. Diocese of Jackson)