What happens if I don’t file Form I-751 during the 90 days prior to my 2nd year anniversary as a conditional resident?

If you don’t properly file Form I-751 within the 90-day period before your second anniversary as a conditional resident:

-Your conditional resident status will automatically be terminated and we will begin removal proceedings against you
– You will receive a notice from us telling you that you have failed to remove the conditions
– You will receive a Notice to Appear at a hearing. At the hearing you may review and rebut the evidence against you. You are responsible for proving that you complied with the requirements (we are not responsible for proving that you did not comply with the requirements)

The Form I-751 can be filed after the 90-day period if you can prove in writing to the director of the appropriate Service Center that there was good cause for failing to file the petition on time. The director has the discretion to approve the petition and restore your permanent resident status.

How do I renew my green card?

What are the reasons for replacing a green card?

You will need to replace your green card if:
•Your previous card was lost, stolen, mutilated/damaged or destroyed
•Your card was issued to you before you were 14 and you have reached your 14th birthday (unless your card expires before your 16th birthday)

•You have been a commuter and are now taking up actual residence in the United States
•You have been a permanent resident residing in the United States and are now taking up commuter status
•Your status has been automatically converted to permanent resident status (this includes Special Agricultural Worker applicants who are converting to permanent resident status)
•You have a previous version of the alien registration card (e.g., USCIS Form AR-3, Form AR-103 or Form I-151 – all no longer valid to prove your immigration status) and must replace it with a current green card
•Your card has expired
•Your card contains incorrect information
•Your name or other biographic information on the card has been legally changed since you last received your card, or
•You never received the previous card that was issued to you by USCIS

Can I live in the U.S. if my green card expires?

It depends on whether you are still considered to be in lawful immigration status.

If you are a permanent resident, and your card expires, you are still in lawful immigration status and still have a right to live and work in the U.S. but you no longer have a valid evidence of your status.

If you are a conditional permanent resident, you were admitted to the U.S. for a 2 year period and must file the Form I-751 or Form I-829 (whichever applies) or you will automatically lose your conditional permanent resident status when your card expires. As a result, you can be removed from the U.S.

How do I renew my green card?

You should renew your green card by filing the Form I-90 if you are a permanent resident with a green card valid for 10 years that is either expired or will expire within the next 6 months.

You should renew your green card by filing a Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.

You should renew your green card if you are a permanent resident with a Form I-551 (green card) valid for 10 years and the card is either expired or will expire within the next 6 months.

Note: If you are a conditional resident and your status is expiring, these instructions do not apply to you. In that case, you must use Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence, to apply to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status.

Do I need to renew my Permanent Resident Card if it doesn’t have an expiration date?

If you have an older versions of a green card, it should be replaced. There are several versions of older cards in existence.

There are a number of Form I-151 versions of green cards. These cards were issued prior to 1977. If your card indicates that it is a Form I-151 version, it is no longer valid. If you have one of these older editions of the permanent resident card, you should apply to replace it.

When should I renew my green card?

You should renew your green card if your card is either expired or will expire within the next 6 months and you are a permanent resident with a Form I-551 valid for 10 years.

Note: If you are a conditional resident and your status is expiring, these instructions do not apply to you. In that case, you must use Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence, to apply to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status.

Am I still eligible to have the conditions on my green card/resident status removed if I’m going through a divorce?

What is conditional status?

Your permanent resident status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than 2 years old on the day you were given permanent residence. You are given conditional resident status for a period of 2 years starting from the day you are lawfully admitted to the United States on an immigrant visa or adjustment of status to permanent residence.

Your status is conditional because you must prove that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States. To remove these conditions you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.

How do I know if I’m eligible to have the conditions on my green card/resident status removed?

Generally, you may apply to remove your conditions on permanent residence if you:

● Are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years. You may include your children in your application if they received their conditional-resident status either at the same time or within 90 days as you did;
● Are a child and, for a valid reason, cannot be included in your parents’ application;
● Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;
● Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment; or
● Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.

Am I still eligible to have the conditions on my green card/resident status removed if I’m going through a divorce?

You could be eligible to file a waiver request.

If you are still married, but legally separated and/or in pending divorce or annulment proceedings, and:

  • You filed a waiver request. We will issue a request for evidence (RFE) specifically asking for a copy of the final divorce decree or annulment (if applicable).
  • You filed a Form I-751 petition jointly. We will issue a request for evidence (RFE) specifically asking for a copy of the final divorce decree or annulment and a statement that you would like to have your joint filing petition treated as a waiver.
  • Upon receipt of the final divorce decree or annulment within the specified time period, we will amend the petition, to indicate that eligibility has been established for a waiver of the joint filing requirement based on the termination of the marriage.
  • What happens if my conditional green card expires and I don’t have a new one yet?

    As a permanent resident, you should have received a green card. This card will continue to prove that you have a right to live and work in the United States permanently. If you file Form I-751 on time, we will extend your conditional resident status until a decision has been made on your application. You will be sent a notice stating this.

    Can I work if my conditional green card has expired?

    As a permanent resident, you should have received a green card. This card will continue to prove that you have a right to live and work in the United States permanently. If you file Form I-751 on time, we will extend your conditional resident status until a decision has been made on your application. You will be sent a notice stating this.

What are the criteria to have the conditions on my green card/resident status removed?

Generally, you may apply to remove your conditions on permanent residence if you:

● Are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years. You may include your children in your application if they received their conditional-resident status either at the same time or within 90 days as you did;
● Are a child and, for a valid reason, cannot be included in your parents’ application;
Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;
● Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment; or
● Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.

Do I need a Form I-130 for each family member?

Yes. In general, you need to submit a separate Form I-130 petition for each family member.

In most cases, when your husband’s or wife’s place in line is reached and he/she applies to immigrate, his or her unmarried children under 21 can apply as dependents. That means that you do not absolutely need to file a separate petition for each child. However, if the child marries or turns 21 before immigrating, he/she will no longer be eligible as a dependent. So we recommend you consider filing separate petitions for each child. A separate petition keeps the child’s place in line among sons and daughters of permanent residents waiting to immigrate.
If your unmarried child has a child, your grandchild can apply for an immigrant visa with your son or daughter as their dependent if your son/daughter remains unmarried and your grandchild remains under age 21 and unmarried.

Is there any relief for surviving relatives?

You may be eligible to seek relief under INA Section 204(l) which permits the approval of a relative petition as well as any adjustment application if the alien seeking the benefit:
– Resided in the US when the qualifying relative died;
– Continues to reside in the US on the date of the decision on the pending petition or application; and is at least one of the following:
* the beneficiary of a pending or approved immediate relative visa petition;
* the beneficiary of a pending or approved family-based visa petition, including both the principal beneficiary and any derivative beneficiaries.

The requirements for section 204(l) relief are the same, regardless of whether the petition or application was pending or approved when your relative died. If a case is pending or approved, you can make the request to USCIS. The information we need to process your request is the same. The way we process requests for relief is slightly different, however.

If your relative dies while the petition is pending, you should specifically ask USCIS “to approve the petition under section 204(l),” despite your relative’s death.

If your relative dies after the petition (for example, Forms I-130 or I-140) is approved, you should specifically ask USCIS “to reinstate the approval of the petition under section 204(l).”

What happens if I die before the immigrant I’m sponsoring gets a green card?

Your beneficiary could be eligible to seek relief under INA Section 204(l) which permits the approval of a relative petition as well as any adjustment application if the alien seeking the benefit:
– resided in the US when the qualifying relative died;
– Continues to reside in the US on the date of the decision on the pending petition or application; and is at least one of the following:
* the beneficiary of a pending or approved immediate relative visa petition;
* the beneficiary of a pending or approved family-based visa petition, including both the principal beneficiary and any derivative beneficiaries.

If you die while the petition is pending, your relative should specifically ask USCIS “to approve the petition under section 204(l),” despite your death.

If you die after the petition (for example, Forms I-130 or I-140) is approved, your relative should specifically ask USCIS “to reinstate the approval of the petition under section 204(l).”

If my petitioning relative dies, can I still immigrate?

You may be eligible to seek relief under INA Section 204(l) which permits the approval of a relative petition as well as any adjustment application if you:
– Resided in the US when the qualifying relative died;
– Continues to reside in the US on the date of the decision on the pending petition or application; and is at least one of the following:
* the beneficiary of a pending or approved immediate relative visa petition;
* the beneficiary of a pending or approved family-based visa petition, including both the principal beneficiary and any derivative beneficiaries.

The requirements for section 204(l) relief are the same, regardless of whether the petition or application was pending or approved when your relative died. If a case is pending or approved, you can make the request to USCIS. The information we need to process your request is the same. The way we process requests for relief is slightly different, however.

If your relative dies while the petition is pending, you should specifically ask USCIS “to approve the petition under section 204(l),” despite your relative’s death.

If your relative dies after the petition (for example, Forms I-130 or I-140) is approved, you should specifically ask USCIS “to reinstate the approval of the petition under section 204(l).”

How do I apply for relief under INA Section 204(l)?

When you request section 204(l) relief, you must include:

  • Your name, your deceased relative’s name, and the names of any other beneficiaries on the same petition;
  • Your alien registration number (A-number), if you have one;
  • Your deceased relative’s A-number, if he or she had one;
  • The A-number for any other beneficiaries, if they have one;
  • The receipt number on your petition or application;
  • Your relative’s death certificate (a certified translation is required, if not in English);
  • Proof of your residence (examples include, but are not limited to: lease/mortgage, utility bills, pay stubs, school records, etc.) at the time of your relative’s death up until the present time (note: only one of the beneficiaries on a petition with derivatives needs to meet the residence requirement); and
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act, from a substitute sponsor or Form I-864W, Intending Immigrant’s Affidavit of Support Exemption, if applicable.

If your Form I-130 was pending when your relative died and at least one beneficiary, or derivative beneficiary, resided in the United States when your relative died and continues to reside in the United States then send your written request to the USCIS office currently processing your case (the address is on the receipt notice (Form I-797) or, if USCIS transferred the case to a different office, send your request to the new office listed on the transfer notice).

If your Form I-130 was already approved when your relative died AND you are not ready and/or able to file Form I-485 yet, then send your written request to the office that approved your petition.

If your petition was already approved when your relative died AND you have a visa available and are ready to file Form I-485, send your written request with your Form I-485 package per Instructions for Form I-485.

If you have already filed Form I-485 (whether or not your petition was pending or already approved) then send your written request to the USCIS office having jurisdiction over your application.

What if my fiancé (e) is already in the United States in another status and we decide to marry?

If your fiancé (e) came to the United States lawfully using a visa other than a fiancé (e) visa and you marry, you can file an I-130 relative petition for him/her as your spouse. He or she may be able to file Form I-485 along with your petition. For information about the I-130 relative petition, please see Customer Guide A1.

If your fiancé (e) is in the United States and entered unlawfully, in most cases he or she will not be able to adjust status to that of a permanent resident while in the United States. In this situation, once you marry, you may file an I-130 relative petition for him or her as your spouse. If approved, he or she will have to pursue an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or consulate overseas.

Can my relative wait in the United States until becoming a permanent resident?

Filing an I-130 petition does not allow your relative to live or work in the United States. An I-130 petition only establishes your relationship with your relative.

If you are sponsoring your husband or wife, unmarried child under 21, or parent, they entered the United States legally, and they are still in the United States, they can submit Form I-485, Application to Register Permanence or Adjust Status when you file their I-130 petition. If Form I-485 is filed at the same time as the I-130, the relative can usually stay in the United States while waiting to become a permanent resident. They can also work if they file Form I-765 with the I-485 and I-130.

For other relatives, the combination of high demand and the limits set by law on how many people can immigrate each year means your relative may have to wait several years while petitions that were filed before theirs are processed. When your relative reaches the front of the line, the U.S. Department of State will contact your relative and invite him or her to apply for an immigrant visa.

Current wait times for visa categories are available under “Visa Bulletins” on the State Department’s Web site

What do I need to do to help my family get green cards?

The first steps are: File Form 1-130, Petition for Alien Relative, Provide proof of your legal status in the U.S., submit proof of your relationship. If you are a member of the military, special conditions may apply to your situation.

When petitioning for your relative, the following preference categories apply:
•First preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. (Adult means 21 or older)
•Second Preference (2A): Spouses of green card holders, unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents
•Second Preference (2B): Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents
•Third Preference: Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens
•Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens

A visa becomes available to a preference category according to the priority date (the date the I-130 was properly filed).

As a U.S. citizen, which relatives can I sponsor (or petition for)?

U.S. citizens can sponsor the following family members:

Husband or wife

Unmarried children under 21

Married sons and daughters 21 and older

Parents, if you are 21 or older

Siblings, if you are 21 or older

A fiancé(e) who lives outside the United States and children of the fiancé(e) who are under 21

To sponsor (or petition for) a family member to receive a green card (permanent residence), you must submit the following:

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

Proof of your U.S. citizenship

Proof of your relationship to the relative you are sponsoring (birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.)

Proof of any legal name change for you or your relative

Spouses of deceased U.S. citizens and permanent residents (widows and widowers) may be eligible to become permanent residents.

The term “immediate relative(s)” refers to certain relatives of U.S. citizens. Immediate relatives include:

The husband or wife of a U.S. citizen

Children (unmarried and under 21) of a U.S. citizen

Parent(s) of a U.S. citizen (the petitioning citizen must be 21 or older.)

For immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, visas are always available, which means that your family member does not have to wait for a visa. Immediate relatives who are in the United States can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status at the same time as Form I-130.