If you are a conditional green card holder—also known as a conditional resident—you will go through the process of filing Form I-751. This form is a petition to remove conditions on residence. You will file this form to receive your lawful permanent residency.
But if your Form I-751 was denied, do not lose hope. You still have the chance to show the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that you meet the requirements to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) after your I-751 was denied for lack of evidence. We will discuss what happens when your immigration case is denied and why.
Form I-751 is the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. This form is submitted if you have conditional permanent residency because you married a U.S. citizen or LPR or if you have been married for less than two years.
The main difference between being a conditional resident and a Lawful Permanent Resident is the time validity of your green card. A conditional green card—or CR-1—is only valid for two years. At the end of those two years, you will need to prove that your marriage was bona fide, or done in good faith. LPR status means that you do not have to continue proving your marriage is bona fide and the expiration date for your green card extends to 10 years.
At the end of the two years on your CR-1, you will file Form I-751. The main purpose of this form is to prove to USCIS that you entered your marriage in good faith. You will need to submit the form along with the required documents and additional evidence.
There could be multiple reasons why your I-751 was denied. Once you understand the reasons for your I-751 denial, you can start working on your case to defend your position to stay in the United States and become a LPR.
Some common reasons why your I-751 may have been denied include the following.
If USCIS denies your I-751 for lack of evidence, it means they found the evidence you presented insufficient to prove a bona fide marriage. They will tell you why your submission was unacceptable. If this is the case, you can work with your attorney to gather evidence to prove to USCIS that your marriage was, indeed, entered in good faith.
Even if you are divorced or separated, you can still present evidence of a bona fide marriage. USCIS cannot deny your Form I-751 on the basis of separation or divorce.
USCIS provides a small window for filing your Form I-751. You have 90 days before your CR-1 expires to file your petition. Sending your form in before those 90 days is a basis for denial.
If you receive notice that your I-751 was denied for filing too late, it is because USCIS received your petition after the 90-day window. Submitting your form late will result in an immediate rejection.
When presenting your case in court, you will need to prove that your reason for late submission was justified. Possible reasons for a justified late filing can include a medical emergency, the death of a family member, or the birth of a child.
If your biometrics exam results show any signs of past criminal activity, USCIS may have enough reason to deny your petition. If you have a criminal conviction, speak with your immigration lawyer about your options.
You just received notice of your I-751 denial, so what next? Depending on the information included in your denial letter, there are two options you can take.
Your first—and most common—option is to appear in court. Your second option is to refile Form I-751. If you entered a good faith marriage, insufficient evidence may be the primary reason for your denial. In both of the steps to take after you receive notice of your I-751 denial, you must provide ample evidence to prove why this denial should be reconsidered.
More likely than not, your letter of denial will include a Notice to Appear (NTA). You will be asked to appear in Immigration Court for a removal proceeding, also known as I-751 deportation. If your I-751 is denied and you receive an NTA, contact your immigration attorney right away. If your I-751 is denied, deportation is a possible outcome, but you do still have the opportunity to submit additional evidence.
An I-751 denial due to lack of evidence is not final, and working with an experienced immigration attorney will make a significant impact on the final outcome of your case. Your immigration attorney will be able to review the reasons why your I-751 was denied and will prepare the necessary documents and affidavits you need for your case.
When you are called to appear in court, remember it is for removal proceedings. At your trial, you will have the opportunity to present your evidence to justify your marriage as bona fide. Immigration court cases can last for up to three years before your final hearing, which can be to your benefit.
Working with an experienced immigration lawyer to help navigate your trial and present your case to the judge is an advantageous move. Your I-751 denial of deportation can be argued against with the help of an attorney. Remember that there will be government attorneys who will be advocating for your deportation, so having a lawyer on your team can make all the difference.
Although it is rare, you could be in the position where your Form I-751 is denied and you do not receive a Notice to Appear. If this is the case, you will be able to refile Form I-751. USCIS will include an explanation for why your petition to remove conditions on your green card was denied. You will then know what to correct in your form and can begin refiling I-751 after your original denial. Because this is your refiling, it is beneficial to work with an experienced immigration attorney.
Refiling I-751 after denial is only possible if you are not called to court. You are also not allowed to make an appeal if your I-751 is denied a second time.
If your I-751 was denied because of lack of evidence, some documentation that may be helpful to support your case may include:
If you have submitted your petition to remove conditions on your green card and had your I-751 denied, reach out to an experienced immigration lawyer. The immigration attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. have over 70 years of combined experience. We have the knowledge and manpower to navigate through the difficulties of appearing in immigration court. Contact us today at 312.444.1940 or by filling out our online contact form. We are here to answer any questions you may have after your Form I-751 is denied.