Conditional Permanent Residency (CR1)

If you have been married to your marriage-based Green Card spouse for less than two (2) years, you will be issued a CR1 (Conditional Resident) visa, which will need to be renewed after another two (2) years. This article explains about the renewal and more specifically about how to remove conditions on Green Cards and Form I-751.

If the marriage-based Green Card applicant and the main sponsor spouse have been married for less than two (2) years, the marriage-based Green Card applicant will first receive a CR1 visa (aka, conditional Green Card). For the most part, although the same rights and privileges are given, the CR1 visa holders, the conditional Green Card holders, must renew their conditional Green Cards to remove conditions on Green Cards and obtain a more permanent Green Card.


I. What is Form I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence)?

Form I-751, the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence is filed to remove conditions of a CR1 visa, the conditional Green Card. Although it is a relatively straightforward process, there can be important timing concerns, and further reasons for denial to remove conditions on Green Card.


II. Who is the petitioner for Form I-751?

Form I-751 must be filed by both the marriage-based Green Card holder (CR1 conditional Green Card holder) and the main sponsor of the marriage-based Green Card. Although there are certain situations that will warrant the marriage-based Green Card applicant filing alone, in general, both spouses will jointly file Form I-751.


III. When does the marriage-based Green Card applicant file Form I-751 alone?

As mentioned above, there are certain situations that would warrant the marriage-based Green Card applicant might be required to file Form I-751 alone. The following common situations may warrant such actions:

  1. The main sponsor dies
  2. The bona fide marriage ended in divorced or annulment
  3. The marriage-based Green Card applicant is a victim of battering or subject to extreme cruelty by the main sponsor

IV. When should Form I-751 be filed?

It is essential that Form I-751 be filed timely. If Form I-751 is filed too early, then USCIS will return the filing. If Form I-751 is filed too late, it will most likely fail to remove conditions on Green Card and may lead to removal proceedings.


V. What information is required on Form I-751?

In general, this process can be straightforward, but it is important to pay attention to the requirements carefully. Although most of the requested items are copies of documents resulting from the original marriage-based Green Card application, the filer will have to provide additional information that will further prove the evidence of the marriage. Documents that will further provide evidence that the original marriage was “entered into good faith and was not for the purpose of circumventing immigration laws” is essential


VI. Could I be denied when applying Form I-751?

Although rare, there are situations and circumstances that would ultimately lead to the denial of Form I-751 and fail to remove conditions on Green Card. Here are the common reasons that a Form I-751 could be denied:

  1. Form I-751 was filed untimely
  2. Form I-751 did not provide sufficient documentation that would prove bona fide marriage

In general, if there is not sufficient proof for USCIS to determine that the marriage was bona fide, then it will lead to a denial of Form I-751.


VII. What if my sponsor passes away before filing Form I-751?

Although your marriage was bona fide and you have enough documents to prove the bona fide marriage, there can be unexpected life situations where the main sponsor becomes deceased before filing Form I-751. In such situations, the following information must be submitted with Form I-751:

  1. Certificate of death of main spouse
  2. Explanation indicating why Form I-751 is being filed separately
  3. Evidence to prove bona fide marriage prior to the death of the main sponsor
  4. No need to wait for the 90-day waiting period before expiration of CR1

VIII. What if I get divorced before filing Form I-751?

Although your marriage was bona fide, there are situations where the marriage could lead to a divorce. In such cases, it is important that you submit all required documentation to let the USCIS know of the changes in your marriage. The following are documents that would assist when filing Form I-751:

  1. Final divorce or annulment decree
  2. Evidence showing proof of how the marital relationship ended
    • Evidence showing fault of the main sponsor in the divorce
    • Evidence showing attempts at salvaging the marriage
  3. Explanation indicating why Form I-751 is being filed separately
  4. Evidence to prove bona fide marriage prior to the divorce
  5. No need to wait for the 90-day waiting period before expiration of CR1

IX. Other situations that might affect Form I-751

As indicated above, should you be a victim of battery or subject to extreme cruelty by the main sponsor, the CR1 visa holder, the conditional Green Card holder, would submit the same information as divorce or death, along with the appropriate information and documentation of the battery or conditions of extreme cruelty by the main sponsor.

Similarly, should the CR1 visa holder, the conditional Green Card holder, also face cases of extreme hardship when returning to their home country after expiration of their conditional Green Card, the CR1 visa, they may petition the USCIS to consider the case heard. Although these cases are quite difficult and can be rare, the USCIS will consider all situations of extreme hardship and make a determination on the merits and evidence submitted.