What If I Didn't File My I-751 Petition within the 90 Day Time Period?

If you are a permanent resident and your green card application was based upon your marriage to a US citizen (or permanent resident), you are required to file an I-751 petition to remove conditions on residence within 90 days prior to the two year anniversary of the date of your green card was issued. Failure to timely do so within the 90 day period may result in revocation of your green card and removal from the US. If you have concerns about untimely filing your I-751 petition, contact us at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates to talk with our attorneys. We have more than 50 years of combined legal experience in complex and immigration law matters.

What is required for a timely filed petition?

All I-751 petitions are required to be filed before the two-year anniversary date of the green card. The 90 day time period requirement applies to petitions that are filed jointly by both spouses. Petitions filed by only one spouse (waiver request petitions) may be filed at any time before the two-year anniversary, and must be accompanied by a waiver based on divorce, abuse, or hardship.

What if I miss the deadline to file?

If you missed the two-year deadline to file your petition, all is not lost provided that there is a good reason for the delay. The USCIS may forgive an untimely filing if you can provide a reasonable explanation of extenuating circumstances that caused you to miss the deadline. Your I-751 petition should be accompanied by a written memorandum explaining why the petition was untimely filed. The USCIS Immigration Services Officer (ISO) will evaluate your explanation at the service center and make a determination.

What if I filed my petition without also providing a reasonable explanation?

The USCIS process for ISO review changed in October 2009. Prior to the change, an ISO who received an untimely filed I-751 petition without a written reasonable explanation would reply with a Request for Evidence (RFE) form asking for a reasonable explanation. Failure to respond to the RFE or failure to provide a reasonable explanation would then result in denial of the petition. Under the new and current process, if you submit your petition without a written reasonable explanation, the ISO must deny your case without sending you an RFE first.

How many I-751 petitions can I file?

There is no limit to the number of I-751 petitions that you can file. In the event that your case is denied, you can file another petition with additional evidence. The ISO should then review your new petition and your previous petition, along with the additional evidence you submitted to make a determination whether there is good cause and extenuating circumstances to excuse the untimely filing.

What are acceptable extenuating circumstances?

The law allows the ISO to exercise wide discretion in determining what constitutes good cause and extenuating circumstances. Examples of good cause would be if you were hospitalized, suffered long-term illness, death of a family member, recent childbirth (especially if complications existed), if you have a family member serving in the US military on active duty, or any other reasonable explanation. For more information or if you have questions about removing the conditions on your permanent residence and untimely filing, contact us at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA to schedule a consultation with an attorney at an office near you.