A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Delay in the Processing of I-751 Petition to Remove Conditional Status

Are you a conditional permanent resident waiting for your permanent green card?  If you are wondering when your I-751 petition will be processed, you are not alone.  The processing time of the I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence has become a lot longer during the past year.  Acknowledging the delays in processing the I-751 petitions, USCIS provides measures to conditional residents to extend their expiring green cards.  

The I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence is used to remove one's Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR) status.  CPR status is granted to a person when he applies for his green card based on marriage to a U.S. citizen and the marriage took place less than two years ago.  Conditional Permanent Resident status is only valid for two years and one must file a petition to remove the conditions within 90 days before the expiration of the conditional status. 

Currently, the California Service Center is taking approximately 15 months to process the I-751 petition while the Vermont Service Center is taking approximately 13 months.  Individual applicants may experience longer processing times.

When one files the Form I-751 petition, USCIS issues a Form I-797, Notice of Action, as filing receipt.  This document also extends the conditional green card for one year from the expiration date on the card.  However, the current lengthy processing times mean that many conditional residents have been waiting for more than one year for their permanent green cards.  With their one year extension expiring, these conditional residents need evidence to prove their legal status to stay in the U.S.  Without proof of legal immigration status, they will not be able to continue working, to renew their driver's licenses, and to travel internationally.  

Under current USCIS policy, conditional residents with a pending Form I-751 may request for further extension of their conditional status.   They can do that by requesting for a temporary "green card stamp" on their passport.  To do that they usually must make an InfoPass appointment with a local USCIS office.  They should bring their valid and unexpired passport,  InfoPass appointment notice, Form I-751 receipt notice, expired green card, and proof of residence (address).

The temporary green card stamp will typically be issued with a validity period of up to 12 months.  Individual USCIS offices may issue them for 3 or 6 months only each time but applicants may request for additional extensions.

If the USCIS website shows that there are no current InfoPass appointments available in a particular office, conditional residents may also walk-in and request for an emergency temporary green card stamp. USCIS states that conditional residents should not request a temporary stamp more than 30 days before the expiration of their conditional status.

(AILA Doc. No. 17111739)

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