At Odunlami Law Firm, we are immigrants helping immigrants achieve their American dream and obtain legal status. Many of our clients need help in various ways to receive their green cards. In this article, we discuss Form I-751, which removes the conditions on your two-year green card and applies for your ten-year, permanent resident green card, along with submitting an I-751 affidavit. As an immigration attorney, we suggest presenting as much evidence as possible. The I-751 affidavit is not mandatory, but we strongly recommend submitting an affidavit along with all your evidence.
If you need additional guidance, our immigration law firm in New Jersey can help you submit your petition. In addition, we work with clients locally, nationwide, and internationally.
What Is Form I-751?
Form I-751 is officially named “Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.” It is an application to change a two-year conditional green card into a 10-year green card. A conditional green card is for someone trying to gain permanent resident status. However, they have only been married to their U.S. citizen spouse for two years or less. Therefore, before the expiration date on your two-year green card expires, you will need to apply for your ten-year green card and remove the conditions on your two-year green card.
When Should You File Form I-751?
You should file Form I-751 at least 90 days before your conditional green card expires. One of these following situations below should apply to you.
You are still married and filing jointly with your spouse.
You and your spouse should submit a joint petition within 90 days before your conditional green card’s expiration date. You can only apply up to 90 days before, and make sure only to apply after your green card expires to maintain your status. If your conditional card expires before you apply to remove the conditions, you risk losing your status as a permanent resident.
You are filing by yourself.
You can file by yourself under specific eligibility categories, such as
- Your marriage ended due to divorce
- Your spouse’s death
- Your spouse abused you
- You would suffer extreme hardship
Your conditional green card has already expired.
If your conditional green card has expired, you can still file Form I-751. However, you must write a letter explaining why you didn’t file sooner. You should contact an experienced immigration attorney to walk you through your options.
What is an I-751 affidavit letter of support?
Proving that your marriage is or was of “good faith” or a bona fide marriage is the most critical part of filing to obtain your green card. You must prove that you both entered the marriage in good faith, not just to receive immigration benefits. Therefore, along with completing form I-751 and submitting documents, you will also want to submit evidence to prove your marriage was or is a bona fide marriage.
So, along with your evidence, you will want to submit “letters of support,” which are statements written by people that know the couple and have first-hand knowledge of the relationship. The I-751 affidavit helps support other evidence the couple submits to demonstrate that the marriage was entered in good faith.
However, it is essential to note that an I-751 affidavit should not be a substitute for evidence that a bona fide marriage exists. The best evidence of a bona fide, good-faith marriage includes proof of photos, joint finances (such as bank accounts, tax statements, insurance, and retirement plans), and jointly owned assets. These documents demonstrate that the couple lives together and plans for the future together.
Who should write an I-751 affidavit letter of support?
Anyone close to the couple can write an affidavit letter of support. This includes; friends, relatives, or even a religious leader who is close to and familiar with the couple’s everyday life. This person should have known the couple before they were married and up until the present time.
What should be included in an I-751 affidavit letter of support?
An I-751 affidavit letter of support is considered a sworn letter stating the truth. This letter should be typed and include the following essential points.
- Full name and address of the affiant (the person who wrote the affidavit letter of support)
- Date and place of birth
- Relationship to the conditional resident and spouse
- An account of your relationship explaining:
- How you met the couple
- How long have you known the couple
- Detail accounts of your friendship
- Date and signature
The most important part of the affidavit letter of support should include accounts of why the couple has a bona fide marriage. That is, the marriage is genuine. An example could be a story demonstrating the couple’s mutual commitment, how they interact and support one another, their hard work in the immigration process, etc.
You should include this sworn statement at the end of the affidavit letter of support, “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.“
Again, the I-751 affidavit letter of support should not be a substitute for evidence that a bona fide marriage exists. However, additional documents, such as an affidavit letter of support, can only further benefit your application process.
In this month’s free immigration resource guide, we have included an affidavit letter of support for immigration marriage example, along with steps to apply for I-751.
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How to File for I-751 Include an Affidavit Letter of Support
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