If a marriage-based case is approved prior to the second marriage anniversary between the petitioner and beneficiary, then the lawful resident status given to the beneficiary will be conditional and valid for two years only. In this case, the beneficiary is required to file an I-751 Petition to Remove the Condition on Residence in order to apply for the permanent resident status within 90 days of the expiration of the two-year conditional resident status.
If the petitioner and beneficiary are still together as a couple, then the I-751 Petition may be filed jointly, along with evidence of the ongoing relationship. If, however, the couple has separated or divorced, or the petitioner has died, then the beneficiary must file the I-751 Waiver of Joint Petition. (There is also a waiver petition option if the beneficiary has been abused by the petitioner.)
Failure to file the I-751 following expiration of the two-year conditional resident status results in the beneficiary’s resident status being terminated, thereby subjecting the beneficiary to the risk of removal proceedings.
Timely filing the I-751 Petition either jointly or as a waiver petition is critical to maintaining lawful status after the conditional resident status grant. It is also very important to file the I-751 upon the correct basis, in order for the petition to be properly and timely adjudicated.